One of the main objectives of our society is the formation of personal culture, which is impossible without reference to the artistic values accumulated by society in the process of its existence. Therefore, the need to study the basics of art history becomes obvious.
In order to fully understand the art of a certain era, you need to navigate the art history terminology, to know and understand the essence of each type of art.
Art historian Alexander Ostrovskiy gathered the necessary information for an initial introduction to the basic concepts in art.
Types of art
Types of art are historically established, forms of creative activity that have the ability to artistically realize the content of life and differ in the ways of its material embodiment (word in literature, sound in music, plastic and coloristic materials in the fine arts, etc.).
Most often in art history literature there are three groups.
The first group consists of spatial or plastic types of art. This group consists of three groups of arts: spatial structure in opening of artistic image (figurative art, decorative-applied art, architecture, photography).
The second group includes temporal or dynamic arts. In this group the key value is the composition unfolding in time – music, literature.
The third group is spatio-temporal arts, which are also called synthetic or spectacular arts: choreography, theater, and cinema.
The existence of different kinds of art is caused by the fact that none of them, by their own means, can give an artistic comprehensive picture of the world. Such a picture can only be created by the entire artistic culture of humanity as a whole, consisting of individual art forms.
Characteristics of types of art
Architecture (Greek architecton: master, builder) is a monumental art form aimed at creating structures and buildings essential for human life and activity in response to people’s utilitarian and spiritual needs.
Architecture is closely related to the development of productive forces and technology more than any other art form. Architecture can unite with monumental painting, sculpture, decorative and other arts. The basis of architectural composition is the three-dimensional structure, the organic interconnection of buildings and groups of buildings. The scale of a building largely determines the nature of the artistic image, its monumentality or intimacy.
II. FINE ART
Visual Art is a group of art forms which reproduce visually perceived reality. Works of art have an object form that does not change in time and space. Fine art includes: painting, graphics, sculpture. Let’s look at each form separately.
Graphics (Greek for “writing, drawing”) – is, above all, a drawing and prints (engraving, lithography). Graphics is based on the possibility of creating an expressive art form by using differently colored lines, strokes and spots which are applied to the surface of a sheet.
Graphics predates painting. First, man learned to depict the outlines and plastic forms of objects, then to distinguish and reproduce their colors and shades. Mastering color was a historical process: not all colors were mastered at once.
In the process of historical development color began to penetrate into drawing and print graphics, and now also includes drawing with colored chalk – pastel, and colored prints, and watercolor painting – watercolor and gouache. In different literature on art history there are different points of view on graphics. In some sources: graphics is a type of painting, and in others it is a separate subspecies of fine art.
Painting is a planar fine art, the specificity of which lies in the representation by means of paints applied to the surface; an image of the real world, transformed by the creative imagination of the artist.
Painting is divided into:
– Monumental – fresco (from Italian. Fresco) – painting on raw plaster with paints diluted in water and mosaic (from French mosaiqe) image made of colored stones, smalt (Smalt – colored transparent glass.), ceramic tiles.
– Easel painting (from the word “loom”) is a painting which is created on an easel.
Painting is represented by a variety of genres (Genre (French genre, from Latin genus, genitive generis – kind, species) – artistic, historically established internal division in all types of art):
Portrait is the main objective to convey an idea of the external appearance of the person, to reveal the inner world of the person, to emphasize his individuality, psychological and emotional image.
Landscape – reproduces the surrounding world in all its diversity of forms. The image of seascape is defined by the term marinism.
Still-life is a picture of everyday objects, tools, flowers, fruits. It helps to understand the worldview and way of life of a certain epoch.
Historical genre – tells about historically important moments in the life of society.
Mythological genre – paintings depicting themes of myths, fairy-tales and epic poems. This genre originated in the late antique and medieval art when the Greco-Roman myths ceased to be beliefs and became literary stories with moral and allegorical content.
Everyday life is a reflection of everyday life, customs, traditions of this or that ethnos. Sometimes such paintings are called “canvases of genre art”. This genre reached its heyday in European national schools in the 16th-17th centuries.
Icon-painting (translated from Greek as “prayerful image”) – the main goal is to guide a person to the path of transformation.
Animalism – depicting an animal as the main character of an artistic work.
Sculpture is spatial and pictorial art, which explores the world in plastic images.
The main materials used in sculpture are stone, bronze, marble, and wood. At the present stage of society development and technogenic progress the number of materials used for sculpture has increased: steel, plastic, concrete and others.
There are two main varieties of sculpture: three-dimensional volumetric (circular) and relief:
- high relief – high relief,
- bas-relief – low relief,
- counter-relief – incised relief.
By definition, sculpture is monumental, decorative and easel sculpture.
Monumental sculpture is used to decorate the streets and squares of a town, to mark historically important places and events, etc. Monumental sculpture includes monuments, statues and memorials.
Station sculpture is designed for close-up viewing and aimed at decorating interior spaces.
Decorative – used to decorate everyday life (small plastic objects).
IV. DECORATIVE AND APPLIED ART
Decorative and applied art is a type of creative activity aimed at creating items of everyday life, designed to meet the utilitarian and artistic-aesthetic needs of people.
Decorative and applied art includes products made of a variety of materials and with the help of different technologies. The material for the subject of arts and crafts can be metal, wood, clay, stone, bone. Quite a variety of technical and artistic methods of making products: carving, embroidery, painting, embossing, etc. The main characteristic feature of an object of applied art is decorativeness, which consists in imagery and aspiration to decorate, make better, more beautiful.
Decorative and applied art has a national character. For it originates from customs, habits and beliefs of a certain ethnos and is close to its way of life.
An important component of arts and crafts are folk arts and crafts – a form of organization of artistic work, based on collective creativity, which develops the cultural local tradition and focuses on selling handicrafts.