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Portal:Arts

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Introduction

Hans Rottenhammer, Allegory of the Arts (second half of the 16th century). Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

The arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human societies and cultures. Major constituents of the arts include literature (including drama, poetry, and prose), performing arts (among them dance, music, and theatre), and visual arts (including architecture, ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpting).

Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g., cinematography) or artwork with the written word (e.g., comics). From prehistoric cave paintings to modern day films, art serves as a vessel for storytelling and conveying humankind's relationship with the environment.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work. Bosch's masterpiece reveals the artist at the height of his powers. The triptych comprises three sections, a square inner panel with rectangular panels on either side which close as shutters. The panels are painted in oil, the exterior panels of the shutters being in grisaille. The outer wings, when folded shut, show the earth during the Creation. The three scenes of the inner triptych are probably intended to be read chronologically from left to right. The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam the newly created Eve. The central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized and gorged fruit, and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation. Art historians and critics frequently interpret the painting as a didactic warning on the perils of life's temptations. American writer Peter S. Beagle describes it as an "erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty".

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Giovanna degli AlbizziCredit: Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio

A portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, the daughter in law of Giovanni Tornabuoni. She was a member of the Albizzi family, who were rivals of the Medici and Alberti families, and were at the centre of Florentine oligarchy starting from 1382 in the reaction that followed the Ciompi revolt. However, after Cosimo de' Medici returned from exile in 1434 (arranged by Rinaldo degli Albizzi) and regained power, he in turn exiled all but one of the Albizzis from Florence. This painting was done around 1490, long after the Albizzis' fall from grace.

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Photo of Sylvanus G. Morley, circa 1912
Sylvanus Morley was an American archaeologist, epigrapher and Mayanist scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate the interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. His involvement in clandestine espionage activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death.

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