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Portal:Arts

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The Arts Portal


The Parthenon

The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece


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

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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Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I
Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from Ancient Egypt's pharaonic period until the end of Roman domination. Along with Sumerian literature, it is considered the world's earliest literature. Writing in Ancient Egypt first appeared in the late 4th millennium BC. By the Old Kingdom, literary works included funerary texts, epistles and letters, religious hymns and poems, and commemorative autobiographical texts. It was not until the early Middle Kingdom that a narrative Egyptian literature was created. Middle Egyptian, the spoken language of the Middle Kingdom, became a classical language during the New Kingdom, when the vernacular language known as Late Egyptian first appeared in writing. Scribes of the New Kingdom canonized and copied many literary texts written in Middle Egyptian, which remained the language used for oral readings of sacred hieroglyphic texts. Ancient Egyptian literature has been preserved on a wide variety of media, including papyrus scrolls and packets, limestone or ceramic ostraca, wooden writing boards, monumental stone edifices and coffins. Hidden caches of literature, buried for thousands of years, have been discovered in settlements on the dry desert margins of Egyptian civilization.

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Coat of arms of the Russian EmpireCredit: Retouched by Diliff

The Great Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, as presented to Emperor Paul I in October 1800. The use of the double-headed eagle in the coat of arms (seen in multiple locations here) goes back to the 15th century. With the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Grand Dukes of Muscovy came to see themselves as the successors of the Byzantine heritage, a notion reinforced by the marriage of Ivan III to Sophia Paleologue. Ivan adopted the golden Byzantine double-headed eagle in his seal, first documented in 1472, marking his direct claim to the Roman imperial heritage and his assertion as sovereign equal and rival to the Holy Roman Empire.

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Sir William Bruce
William Bruce was a Scottish gentleman-architect, "the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland", as Howard Colvin observes. A key figure in introducing the Palladian style into Scotland, he has been compared to the pioneering English architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, and to the contemporaneous English introducers of French style in domestic architecture Hugh May and Roger Pratt. Bruce played a role in the Restoration of Charles II, carrying messages between the exiled king and General Monck, and was rewarded with lucrative official appointments, including that of Surveyor General of the King's Works in Scotland, effectively the "king's architect". His patrons included the Duke of Lauderdale, the most powerful man in Scotland at the time. Despite his lack of technical expertise, he worked with competent masons and professional builders, to whom he imparted a classical vocabulary; thus his influence was carried far beyond his own aristocratic circle. Beginning in the 1660s he built and remodelled a number of country houses, including Thirlestane Castle for the Duke of Lauderdale, and Hopetoun House. Among his most significant work was his own Palladian mansion at Kinross, built on the Loch Leven estate which he had purchased in 1675.

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Frank C. Stanley's 1910 performance of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Contains the first and last verse.

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Leonard Baskin, Publishers Weekly (April 5, 1965)

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