Visual arts

Visual arts

The visual arts are art forms that focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature, such as painting, photography, printmaking, and filmmaking. Those that involve three-dimensional objects, such as sculpture and architecture, are called plastic arts. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, language arts, textile arts, and culinary arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as other types, so these definitions are not strict.

The current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine arts as well as crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, "visual artist" referred to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art disciplines. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts movement who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. The movement contrasted with modernists who sought to withhold the high arts from the masses by keeping them esoteric.Fact|date=March 2007 Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts in such a way that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of art.

Visual arts and education

Visual arts have become an elective subject in most education systems Fact|date=October 2008.


Drawing is a means of making an image, using any of a wide variety of tools and techniques. It generally involves making marks on a surface by applying pressure from a tool, or moving a tool across a surface using dry media such as graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoals, pastels, and markers. Digital tools which simulate the effects of these are also used. The main techniques used in drawing are: line drawing, hatching, crosshatching, random hatching, scribbling, stippling, and blending. An artist who excels in drawing is referred to as a "draftsman" or "draughtsman".


Painting taken literally is the practice of applying pigment suspended in a carrier (or medium) and a binding agent (a glue) to a surface (support) such as paper, canvas or a wall. However, when used in an artistic sense it means the use of this activity in combination with drawing, composition and other aesthetic considerations in order to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner. Painting is also used to express spiritual motifs and ideas; sites of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting mythological figures on pottery to The Sistine Chapel to the human body itself.


Printmaking is creating for artistic purposes an image on a matrix which is then transferred to a two-dimensional (flat) surface by means of ink (or another form of pigmentation). Except in the case of a monotype, the same matrix can be used to produce many examples of the print. Historically, the major techniques (also called media) involved are woodcut, line engraving, etching, lithography, and screenprinting (serigraphy, silkscreening) but there are many others, including modern digital techniques. Normally the surface upon which the print is printed is paper, but there are exceptions, from cloth and vellum to modern materials. Prints in the Western tradition produced before about 1830 are known as old master prints. There are other major printmaking traditions, especially that of Japan ("ukiyo-e").


Photography is the process of making pictures by means of the action of light. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects are recorded onto a sensitive medium or storage chip through a timed exposure. The process is done through mechanical, chemical or digital devices known as cameras.

The word comes from the Greek words φως "phos" ("light"), and γραφις "graphis" ("stylus", "paintbrush") or γραφη "graphê", together meaning "drawing with light" or "representation by means of lines" or "drawing." Traditionally, the product of photography has been called a photograph. The term "photo" is an abbreviation; many people also call them "pictures." In digital photography, the term "image" has begun to replace "photograph." (The term "image" is traditional in geometric optics.)


Filmmaking is the process of making a motion-picture, from an initial conception and research, through scriptwriting, shooting and recording, animation or other special effects, editing, sound and music work and finally distribution to an audience; it refers broadly to the creation of all types of films, embracing documentary, strains of theatre and literature in film, and poetic or experimental practices, and is often used to refer to video-based processes as well.

Computer art

Visual artists are no longer limited to traditional art media. Computers may enhance visual art from ease of rendering or capturing, to editing, to exploring multiple compositions, to printing (including 3D printing.)

Computer art is any art in which computers played a role in production or display of the artwork. Such art can be an image, sound, animation, video, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, videogame, web site, algorithm, performance or gallery installation. Many traditional disciplines are now integrating digital technologies and, as a result, the lines between traditional works of art and new media works created using computers has been blurred. For instance, an artist may combine traditional painting with algorithm art and other digital techniques. As a result, defining computer art by its end product can thus be difficult. Nevertheless, this type of art is beginning to appear in art museum exhibits.

Computer usage has blurred the distinctions between illustrators, photographers, photo editors, 3-D modelers, and handicraft artists. Sophisticated rendering and editing software has led to multi-skilled image developers. Photographers may become digital artists. Illustrators may become animators. Handicraft may be computer-aided or use computer generated imagery as a template. Computer clip art usage has also made the clear distinction between visual arts and page layout less obvious due to the easy access and editing of clip art in the process of paginating a document, especially to the unskilled observer.


Art-related terms in visual arts

* Asemic writing
* Collage
* Comics
* Composition
* Computer art
* Conceptual art
* Contemporary art
* Crafts
* Decollage
* Decorative art
* Design
* Drawing
* Film
* Found art
* Graffiti
* Graphic design
* Illustration
* Image development
* Installation art
* Landscape art
* Mail art
* Mathematics and art
* Mixed media
* Painting
* Photography
* Portraiture
* Old master print
* Printmaking
* Sculpture
* Sketch (drawing)
* sketchbook
* Sound art
* Textile art
* Video art


:cite book | author=Carey, John| title=The Intellectuals and the Masses | publisher=Faber & Faber | year=1992 | id=ISBN 0-571-16926-0

ee also

* Avant-garde
* List of basic visual arts topics
* History of art
* History of film
* History of painting
* History of sculpture
* List of art movements
* Plastic arts
* Mathematics and art

External links

* [ Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)] - over 100,000 images free for use in education.
* [ ArtLex] - online dictionary of visual art terms.
* [ "Art History Timeline"] by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
* [ "Tenability of the Distinction Between Arts and Crafts"] - essay. (PDF)
* [ Visual Arts Dictionaries] A collection of art terms and glossaries

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