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Visual arts

Parent categories: art - visual

Genres: applied arts - decorative arts - design - drawing - eye - painting - photography - printmaking - sculpture - vision

Related: fine arts - visual culture

Compare: literature - performing arts

Vanitasstilleven met nautilusbeker en pomander aan een gouden ketting (1636) - Pieter Claesz
Even more than than the works by Vermeer, this painting illustrates the extraordinary skills of 17th century 'photographic' painters.

A canon: Arcimboldo - Hans Bellmer - Arnold Böcklin - Hieronymus Bosch - Guy Bourdin - Luigi Colani - Gustave Courbet - John Currin - Honoré Daumier - Gustave Doré - Jean-Léon Gérôme - Francisco de Goya - Hans Baldung Grien - Matthias Grünewald - Hokusai - Alfred Kubin - Tanino Liberatore - Hans Memling - Carlo Mollino - Giovanni Piranesi - Félicien Rops - Odilon Redon - Roland Topor - Andy Warhol - Ettore Sottsass


Many times, the term art is used to refer to the visual arts. The visual arts generally encompass areas such as painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, many design disciplines, as well the decorative arts like textile art and metalwork.

Contrast the visual arts with sculpture or the performing arts, such as music, theater, and dance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_arts [Dec 2004]


In Britain until recently the fine artspainting, sculpture, printmaking, et cetera—were seen as distinct from craft disciplines such as applied art, design, textiles, and the various metalworking disciplines such as blacksmithing and jewelery. This distinction arose from the work of a group of artists led by William Morris known as the Arts and Crafts Movement whose political aim was to value vernacular artforms as much as high forms. The movement was at odds with modernists who sought to withhold the high arts from the masses by keeping them esoteric.

The result of the conflict between the two groups was to politicise the products of what we now know as visual artists. British art schools made a clear distinction between the fine arts (a term that hints at their supposed superiority) and the crafts in such a way that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of high art. Although this is no longer the case, the residue of inequality between the crafts or applied arts and the so-called fine arts still exists in some quarters. In Britain the term "visual arts" is suitably independent of these older, loaded concepts and as such is the preferred term for work across all the disciplines in question.

A similar stigma exists in the US, where "arts and crafts" has a very particular meaning, denoting the sort of artwork first taught in elementary school and also (later in life) a variety of kitsch, household artwork. Most craftspeople are still not seen as practicing "fine art" among the traditional art school set, but certainly can produce "high art" if considered to be a "visual artist", nomatter the medium. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_art [Aug 2005]

Meaning in the Visual Arts (1955) - Erwin Panofsky

Meaning in the Visual Arts (1955) - Erwin Panofsky [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Erwin Panofsky (1892 - 1968) was a German art historian and essayist often credited with the founding of the academic iconography.

Active in the Marburg School in Germany, which included Ernst Cassirer and Aby Warburg.

Beginning in 1935, and for the rest of his life, he taught at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton Township, New Jersey.

He was also friends with Wolfgang Pauli, one of the main contributors to quantum physics and atomic theory.


  • Perspective as Symbolic Form (1927)
  • Studies in Iconology (1939)
  • The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (1943)
  • Early Netherlandish Painting (1953)
  • Meaning in the Visual Arts (1955)
  • Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1962)

    --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Panofsky [Sept 2005]

    See also: art history - 1955 - meaning - art - visual arts

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