Visual Arts

These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
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Featured content, July 04, 2021

Why Is the Mona Lisa So Famous?
The reason for the Mona Lisa’s popularity is one of the painting’s many conundrums. Find out what all the fuss is...
Demystified / Visual Arts
Mona Lisa, oil on wood panel by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1503-06; in the Louvre, Paris, France. 77 x 53 cm.
The Most Stolen Work of Art
Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece has been stolen by Napoleon and Hitler, among others.
#WTFact / Visual Arts
Click on image for enlargements of panel sections. The Ghent Altarpiece (open view) by Jan and Hubert van Eyck, 1432, polyptych with 12 panels, oil on panel; in the Cathedral of Saint-Bavon, Ghent, Belg.
Street Photography: How a Single Camera Brought About a Genre
The invention of the Leica camera allowed photographers to move through the streets and capture moments that come and go...
Companion / Visual Arts
vintage Leica photo camera at KPI Museum, July 24, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine
History of photography
History of photography, method of recording the image of an object through the action of light, or related radiation, on...
Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre: View of the Boulevard du Temple, Paris
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born artist, one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. After successful...
Biography
Mesopotamian art and architecture
Mesopotamian art and architecture, the art and architecture of the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. The name Mesopotamia...
Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
ziggurat at Ur
Naïve art
Naïve art, work of artists in sophisticated societies who lack or reject conventional expertise in the representation or...
Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
Henri Rousseau: The Snake-Charmer

Visual Arts Quizzes

Illustrations of Clowns
Clowning Around
Clowns have a longer history than you might think. Whether you love them or are terrified of them, test your knowledge of...
Hagia Sophia. Istanbul, Turkey. Constantinople. Church of the Holy Wisdom. Church of the Divine Wisdom. Mosque.
Architecture: The Built World
What is the name of the tower associated with mosques? Who buillt Hearst Castle? Test your knowledge of architecture and...
Tourists visit "Cloud Gate", a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, in Millenium Park in Chicago, Illinois.
Who Made That? (Part 2)
Who made these iconic works of art? Test your knowledge of art and artists with this quiz.
The Creation of Adam to the Flood, detail of the ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), painted 1508-12. Location: Sistine Chapel, Vatican Palace, Vatican State
Which Came First: Art Edition
Think you have your art chronology straight? See if you can guess which of these works, techniques, and styles came first.
Venus and the Lute Player, ca. 1565-70, Oil on canvas, 65 x 82.5 in. (165.1 x 209.6 cm) by Titian and Workshop. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio or Vecelli) Italian Renaissance painter, Venetian school.
Italian Renaissance Art
Do you know who mastered the design and construction of the dome back in the 15th century? Take this quiz to find out.
"Future Expectations" by James Van der Zee, c. 1925. James VanDerZee.
Art of the Harlem Renaissance
Literature was not the only art that flourished during the Harlem Renaissance. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the...
Photograph of urban collage background or typography paper texture
Bits and Bobs: Collage and Assemblage
Do you think poetry can be created from found papers and other objects? See how much you know about the arts of collage and...
"Deux Fantassins Casques (Two Helmeted Infantrymen)" Roger de La Fresnaye, 1917. Pen and black ink with wash, 30.8x19.4 cm
Cubism: Art and Artists
What do you know about Cubism and the avant-garde artists who practiced it? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
The Bauhaus Dessau was designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius.
Bauhaus
Who founded the Bauhaus school? What was taught there? Test your knowledge about the famous design school with this quiz.
Chicago. Chicago River. Bridge. Skyscraper. Architecture. View of Chicago skyline from the Chicago River, Illinois.
Chicago Architecture
Those corncob buildings on the Chicago River have a name, but do you know what it is? Test your knowledge of the Windy City’s...
Image Gallery
Visual Arts
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Visual Arts Subcategories

Ryue Nishizawa (left) and Kazuyo Sejima with their Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2009. Architecture
Architecture is a sphere of art and design in which functionality and aesthetics can combine to produce visually stunning structures that manage to both catch the eye and serve a functional purpose. The expansive variety of architectural styles that have been employed throughout the ages underscores the fact that not every building need look the same, a principle that is readily apparent when comparing Gothic cathedrals with igloos or pagodas with cliff dwellings. Noted architects such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, and Jeanne Gang are acclaimed not only for the striking aesthetics of their designs but also for the way in which their work reflected cultural themes and values. Although architecture is commonly associated first and foremost with the design and construction of buildings, landscape architects may work with gardens, parks, and other planned outdoor areas, aiding in the development and decorative planning of such spaces.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Arts Awards
Awards such as the Praemium Imperiale and the Pritzker Prize honor artists for a job well done.
Articles
Teatro Olimpico, designed by Andrea Palladio and completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, 1585, Vicenza, Italy. Decorative Art
People appreciate the usefulness of things like glassware and furniture, but they appreciate such objects even more when they’re aesthetically pleasing, too. That’s where decorative art comes in. Explore the world of basketry, metalwork, pottery, interior design, tapestry, and more.
Articles
shoe Fashion Design
Looking to make a statement without even saying a word? Fashion designers know that clothing and accessories can speak volumes about the wearer, affecting both how the wearer is perceived by others and how the wearer perceives of him- or herself. The fashion industry has become a multibillion-dollar global enterprise devoted to the business of making and selling clothes; it thrives by being diverse and flexible enough to gratify any consumer's desire to embrace or even to reject fashionability, however that term might be defined.
Articles
William Blake Graphic Art
Calligraphy, graffiti, engraving, caricature: graphic art's domain stretches as far as the eye can see. Take a look at some of the other types of graphic art, and learn more about the artists working within this category of fine arts.
Articles
Turrell, James Installation & Performance Art
Learn about the artists who create installation art, which can incorporate a variety of different materials and artistic forms, such as sculptures, videos, and music, all with the purpose of transforming a given space. Performance artists may also make use of videos and music—as well as such varied elements as acting, poetry, dance, and painting—to create a live presentation for an audience; here, the "audience" could simply consist of onlookers on the street or patrons browsing the halls of a museum, among countless other possibilities.
Articles
Vincent van Gogh: A Wheatfield, with Cypresses Painting
Need help distinguishing your Picassos from your Monets? Learn about history’s celebrated painters and the different styles, techniques, mediums, and forms that have been used to create such unique visual images as Salvador Dalí’s melting clock and the ever-shifting eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa.
Articles
Dada exhibit Photography
Photography’s history began long before we were snapping pictures on camera phones. Learn about the masters of the craft and explore the development of photographic technology as it progressed through daguerreotypes and tintypes on the way to modern day’s increasingly sophisticated digital cameras.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Sculpture
Looking to find a use for that extra clay, stone, plaster, or metal that you have lying around? Consider sculpture, in which artists employ these materials and others to create three-dimensional art. Perhaps you’ll join the ranks of noted sculptors such as Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, and Donatello.
Articles
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