Aviva Directory » Arts & Literature

This section, or tree, of our web guide, includes a variety of human practices that, together, might be viewed as the arts, which are part of culture and of the humanities.

The arts are broader than the singular term, art. Art refers to the visual arts, the arts include these, as well as the literary arts, and the performing arts, which encompasses music, theatre, dance, the spoken word, and film.

The arts are a collection of disciplines intended for the entertainment and appreciation of an audience, which could be a single viewer. Art can include diverse forms such as prose writing, poetry, dance, acting, drama, film, music, sculpture, photography, illustration, architecture, collage, painting, crafts, and fashion. Succinctly, the arts involve aesthetics, creativity, and the generation of emotion, which is usually, but not necessarily, pleasurable.

The arts could also be divided into the fine arts, which are designed to produce aesthetic pleasure, the decorative arts, and the applied arts, which bring aesthetics to everyday life.

Merriam-Webster defines the arts as the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

The Ancient Greeks had only one word - techne - for all of arts and crafts, so there were no distinctions between the different forms of art. Ancient Roman art depicted the gods as idealized human beings, with distinguishing features, and, during the Middle Ages, Byzantine and Gothic art was dominated by the Church.

Similar to Medieval Western art, Eastern art focuses on surface patterning and local color, rather than the modulations of that color brought about by shade, lighting, and reflection. The local color is often defined by an outline.

In the Middle Ages, universities developed a curriculum known as Artes Liberales, the liberal arts, as part of the Trivium, an introductory curriculum that included grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and of the Quadrivium, which involved the mathematical arts of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The Artes Mechanicae were practiced and developed through guilds, and included vestiaria (tailoring and weaving), agriculura (agriculture), architectura (architecture and masonry), militia and venatoria (warfare, hunting, military education, and the martial arts), mercatura (trade), coquinaria (cooking), and (blacksmithing and metallurgy).

The current distinction between artistic and non-artistic skills developed during the Renaissance period. Modern academia groups the arts with or as a subset of the humanities, which may include history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and logic.

The arts may also be sorted into painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, performing, and cinema, although many group literature, music, painting, and sculpture as the four central arts, with the others as subsets of these four.

Multidisciplinary artistic works incorporate multiple artistic fields, like film, opera, and performance art.

Culture is a term that is often associated with the arts. By common definition, culture is an umbrella term that can be used to envelop all human behavior, institutions, and society, including the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of individuals in larger groups, often associated with a specific region or location. In that sense, entertainment and the arts are a subdivision of culture.

There is no clear line between art and culture, however, and there are no definitive guidelines for the categorization of these topics.

We have elected to arrange these topics into seven main categories: Crafts, Entertainment, Humanities, Literature, Music, Streaming Media, and Visual Arts, most of which will be further divided into sub-topics.

Arts and literature are fundamental to the human experience. Through these mediums, people can express themselves and connect with one another. All human cultures produce some form of art, as it is a universal cultural touchstone.

The arts, which include the visual and performing arts, literature, music, entertainment, crafts, and related activities, are the focus of this part of our guide.






Organizations & Associations

Streaming Media

Visual Arts



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