Types of artwork
Have you thought about what best describes art?
It sure is diverse; I would define it as an expression which a human's imagination, creativity and skill.
We experience most arts visually; some can be enjoyed through sensory touch or audible. Arts were traditionally appreciated for their emotion or beauty but they can also be used for social or political expression.
There are many forms of art; for this article, let's broadly categorise them into seven: Painting, Architecture, Sculpture, Literature, Theatre, Music, and Cinema. Now let's explore how these forms of artwork enrich your everyday life.
When you think about artwork, your mind jumps straight to Paintings; it is the most commonly taught art form. Cast your mind back to your childhood education; you were allowed to get mucky! Painting one hand in a bright red colour and placing it firmly on that new white paper to leave a fabulous hand imprint or did you try it with a potato? Painting is a great way to express your artistic vision. As a painter myself, I still get those fuzzy childhood feelings of achievement when creating a piece.
A painter develops their work by applying different coloured paints onto a solid surface. Usually, on canvas, I use artist paper, wood, rocks, and even slate. The paint is generally oil, acrylic or watercolour but you can also paint with pigments, dyes, inks or other materials. There are also many ways to apply your paint, such as brushing, dabbing, splashing and different subjects landscape, still life, portrait and many more.
You see, painting is a broad art all on its own; it is one of the ancient forms of art, with cave paintings dating back to prehistoric times.
You are passing it every day and probably do not realise or have the time to stop and fully appreciate it as an art form. Architecture is the art of structures and can be reasonably dated back to the point when we humans created our first shelter. However, the most common perception of architecture as an art form relates to just a handful of buildings seen as particularly beautiful or awe-inspiring.
Cast your thoughts to landmarks seen in major cities worldwide like the Great Pyramids, Rome's Coliseum, Taj Mahal, Hagia Sophia, or Stonehenge. You will also know more modern constructions the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Louvre and the Shard.
Architecture has a functional purpose but the desire; throughout history shows us humans building meaningful structures to leave a legacy behind for others to enjoy. It may be an art form of its own but you could also refer to it as a sculpture!
Have a wander around your city, town or even your street and see what exciting architecture your can discover.
Dating back to prehistoric times, sculptures create three-dimensional visual images, traditionally using materials such as clay, stone, ceramics, metals, or wood.
You will know some famous classical sculptors, such as Michelangelo and Myron. They favoured carving and casting techniques using marble and bronze. Most well-known sculptures use these materials, such as 'David' and 'The Statue of Liberty.
However, today's sculptors will use almost any material to create a sculpture, including metals, plastics, glass, or found objects.
Have you seen the 'Knife Angel' yet? It has been touring the major cities of the United Kingdom for a few years now. Although it is made from 100,000 confiscated knives handed into the police force and represents a culture of knife crime, it is a stunning and powerful piece to visit in person.
In many cultures, sculptures were the first and oldest forms of public art. They were often commissioned by kings or religious leaders as they were far too big for their homes. It was usually an expression of wealth, power, religion, or politics. Many impressive public sculptures are dotted around near you right now.
This art form is the sharing of stories; through language which can be read or spoken. The Oxford Dictionary defines literature as "writings whose value lies in the beauty of form or emotional effect."
Writers create their art through the pleasure of words. Crossing all written languages encompasses many works, including poetry, essays, plays, biographies, fiction, non-fiction, etc. I bet you like getting lost in a good book when you have time to switch off and unwind.
You already know many historic well-known authors, including George Orwell, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens. They used language and the written word to critique or offer a point of view on society. Here in Warwickshire, we are surrounded by the reminders of George Eliot and William Shakespeare.
While literature stands in its own art form, it is also closely related to theatre, film and music.
The artist combines both visual art and dramatic performance in this art form, usually performed on the stage.
Theatre has been a part of our culture since the Ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC. It has become one of the most popular sources of entertainment. The traditional Greek classifications of theatre: drama, tragedy, and comedy, still apply to many modern productions. The broader performing arts now include theatre, dance, opera, circus, musicals, magic or illusion, puppetry, and performing art.
Theatre often incorporates the other forms of art we mention in this article. It's a total package of music, set design, literature, and decorative arts such as costume making that contribute to the overall experience. A lot of theatre performances are hosted in spectacular architectural settings. Have you visited London's West end? It has a fantastic collection of historic theatres and some of the shows start there and then tour around the country. The longest-running West End Musical is Les Misrables.
This art form arranges audible sounds and vibrations to produce a musical composition using the elements of melody, harmony and rhythm.
Music is culturally universal and is a standard part of many religious practices. You can use the human voice, instruments, or both to create it. When sounds produced by vocal cords and various instruments are combined, they can express the beauty of emotion.
Music is more difficult to date than the visual arts. Still, it's believed that vocal sounds played an essential role in humankind's early communication before speech development. There is evidence that our ancient ancestors crafted musical instruments using wood, bones, stones, and other natural materials.
Modern musicians have a variety of musical instruments at their disposal to create music. It is defined by genre: classical to gospel, rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, bhangra, electronic, blues, country, reggae, indie, folk, metal, punk, soul, funk, techno, and the list goes on and on. Today you can see your favourite bands, up close and personal, at their own gigs; when touring near you, or you can travel to your favourite festivals to experience many musicians, all in one place.
Is the 'new kid on the block', created just over a century ago. Cinema may not have the length of history but it has quickly become one of the most popular.
Movies are the projection of a three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional screen, an art form that engages our audible and visual senses. Like literature, movies tell a story, but they do so with spoken word, visual art and more.
Cinema has quickly advanced to become the large industry we now know today. It employs artisans in special effects, animation, makeup, costumes, writing, set design, acting, directing, stunts, etc. Many of these artistic professionals fall under the other art forms listed in this article. A wide range of creative vision and skill goes into every cinematic production.
Although the art of production requires many skilled artisans, the master artist is often considered the director. Directors like Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin and George Lucas are considered some of the most renowned.
While cinema is not perceived as a high art form, it is undoubtedly one of the modern era's most accessible and popular art categories. And today, you can access it on demand in your own home. When your parents or grandparents were younger, it would have been a special treat and consisted of a whole day out.
Recognising and understanding each distinct art category enables you to enjoy art more. It is also vital to help us understand the role of the arts in our lives and history. You will experience different emotions and feelings from your family and friends.
Mediums and forms of artistic expression have changed throughout human history; it is ever-evolving. This article shows how history and society have changed over time through the description of Painting, Architecture, Sculpture, Literature, Theatre, Music, and Cinema. And how these forms of artwork enrich your everyday life.