Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as the applied or decorative arts and 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, the term 'artist' had for some centuries often been restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the decorative arts, craft, or applied Visual arts media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts.
The increasing tendency to privilege painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, above other arts has been a feature of Western art as well as East Asian art. In both regions painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist, and the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting the most highly valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes. (Full article...)
The compound of three octahedra used for the central cage in Stars had been studied before in mathematics, and Escher likely learned of it from the book Vielecke und Vielflache by Max Brückner. Escher used similar compound polyhedral forms in several other works, including Crystal (1947), Study for Stars (1948), Double Planetoid (1949), and Waterfall (1961). (Full article...)
Matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian nested dolls or Babushka dolls, were seen as early as 1890. They are not a traditional Russian handicraft, although the concept of nested objects was familiar in Russia. The first set of dolls is said to have been made by a painter in the Abramtsevo estate inspired by a set of Japanese wooden dolls representing the Seven Gods of Fortune.
Caspar David Friedrich (5 September 1774 – 7 May 1840) was a 19th-century German Romanticlandscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich's paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs "the viewer's gaze towards their metaphysical dimension".
Friedrich was born in the town of Greifswald on the Baltic Sea in what was at the time Swedish Pomerania. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with materialistic society was giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality. This shift in ideals was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable sought to depict nature as a "divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization". (Full article...)
Image 77Francis Picabia, (Left) Le saint des saints c'est de moi qu'il s'agit dans ce portrait, 1 July 1915; (center) Portrait d'une jeune fille americaine dans l'état de nudité, 5 July 1915: (right) J'ai vu et c'est de toi qu'il s'agit, De Zayas! De Zayas! Je suis venu sur les rivages du Pont-Euxin, New York, 1915