Arts classification

The classification of the arts intimately depends on the  concept of art  that exists and develops in each culture. To that extent, it is impossible to make universal assertions of what is considered art or not because each culture has its own scale of values ​​to validate, or not, a manifestation as a piece of art.

While for the ancient Chinese culture, within the arts, there were activities related to war, science and calligraphy, in ancient Greece, there was room for dance, astronomy and poetry, among many others. During the Middle Ages in Europe the classification of the arts responded to other needs and it included philosophy, rhetoric and geometry, although there was also space for the arts such as architecture, sculpture and painting.

It is towards the Renaissance, when the individuality and identity of the artist become more important, that a classification closer to the one we know today in the western world begins to be outlined. In the 18th century, the use of the term fine arts was coined, the end of which is beauty, as opposed to trades such as crafts and / or applied, industrial or decorative arts, in which practical function prevails over aesthetics.

Philosophers like Kant and Hegel dedicate part of their reflections to the classifications of art, and classification standards similar to those we know today begin to derive from their thoughts.

The categories below do not have strict limits, nor are they mutually exclusive: an artistic activity can belong to several categories at the same time. Broadly speaking, since art mutates and is not static, it can be said that art is classified into:

1. Fine arts

They are the arts that bring together the set of classical artistic activities revised and updated in the 20th century; seven at its beginning (architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, dance and theater, music), and nine in total after photography and comics were added as the eighth and ninth art respectively.

2. Visual arts

The visual arts are those artistic disciplines in which visual content prevails such as painting, photography, video, drawing, and engraving.

3. Plastic arts

The plastic arts are those disciplines in which the artist creates the work actively using the material, such as sculpture, architecture, painting, engraving and drawing.

4. Applied arts

Synonymous with functional, industrial or decorative arts, they refer to products whose aesthetics or plastic is subject to their function, such as functional architecture, journalistic photography, design or illustration.

5. Performing or performance arts

They are those artistic activities that are practiced in a scenic space, such as theater, dance and performance. In these, the artist uses his body, his voice and / or inanimate objects as a form of artistic expression, and they usually happen in front of a live audience. With the arrival of audio and video recording, these arts can also be enjoyed privately and after the moment in which the presentation or performance was made.

6. Musical or sound arts

The musical or sound arts are an art form and a cultural manifestation in which sounds and silences are manipulated in a sensible and coherent way, using melody, harmony and rhythm to compose each piece. The purpose of this art is to generate a sensation in the listener, and to stimulate it at the same time to provoke different emotions.

7. Literary arts

This is the art of the written word that can be read or heard, it includes novels, poetry, essays, and / or the theater script, among others. Still, this category fits all the oral traditions of each culture, which are transmitted from generation to generation but do not exist on paper. In a narrower sense, the literary arts encompass all creations that possess artistic merit and are not the ordinary written word.

8. Graphic arts

This term was born with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press and encompasses printing techniques that work in two dimensions, such as engraving and lithography. Today they also encompass digital printing, computer generated graphics and even manual or digital calligraphy.

9. Time based arts

This relatively new category includes artistic manifestations that use the passage of time as an essential element. It includes experimental films, video art and installation, performance, sound and multimedia computing.


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