The Arts Portal


An artist's palette

An artist's palette


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

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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Crown Fountain is an interactive work of public art and video sculpture featured in Chicago's Millennium Park. Designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects, it opened in July 2004. The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 50 feet (15.2 m) tall, and they use light-emitting diodes to display digital videos on their inward faces. Weather permitting, the water operates from May to October, intermittently cascading down the two towers and spouting through a nozzle on each tower's front face. The fountain highlights Plensa's themes of dualism, light, and water, extending the use of video technology from his prior works. Crown Fountain has been the most controversial of all the Millennium Park features. Before it was even built, some were concerned that the sculpture's height violated the aesthetic tradition of the park. The fountain has survived its somewhat contentious beginnings to find its way into Chicago pop culture. It is a popular subject for photographers and a common gathering place. The fountain is a public play area and offers people an escape from summer heat, allowing children to frolic in the fountain's water.

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Hohenzollern BridgeCredit: Photo: Thomas Wolf

The Hohenzollern Bridge crossing the Rhine in Cologne, Germany, with the Cologne Cathedral in the background. The bridge is a tied-arch railway bridge, as well as a pedestrian bridge. Originally built in 1911, it survived numerous Allied bombings in World War II, only to be destroyed by German engineers as the war drew to a close. Reconstruction began soon after and the bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic in 1948 then completely opened in 1959.

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Ichikawa Danjūrō I as Takenuki Goro

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Detail of the Mona Lisa
Lisa del Giocondo was a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany in Italy. Her name was given to Mona Lisa, her portrait commissioned by her husband and painted by, Leonardo da Vinci, during the Italian Renaissance.

Little is known about Lisa's life. Married as a teenager to a cloth and silk merchant who later became a local official, she was mother to five children and led what is thought to have been a comfortable and ordinary middle-class life. Lisa outlived her husband, who was about 20 years her senior.

Centuries after Lisa's death, Mona Lisa became the world's most famous painting and took on a life separate from Lisa, the woman. Speculation by scholars and hobbyists made the work of art a globally recognized icon and an object of commercialization. During the early 21st century, a discovery made at a university library was powerful enough evidence to end speculation about the sitter's identity and definitively identified Lisa del Giocondo as the subject of the Mona Lisa.

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Instrumental version of the most famous song from the 1921 musical Shuffle Along, recorded during its original Broadway run. Later used as a presidential campaign song for Harry Truman.

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