Portal:Arts


The Arts Portal



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

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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The Magdalen Reading
The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th century oil-on-oak altarpiece by the early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. Completed some time between 1435 and 1438, it has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyebrows typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. The woman is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which, according to the Gospels, she used to clean Christ's feet.

The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalen and the kneeling figure with bare feet protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. The original altarpiece was a sacra conversazione known only through a drawing, Virgin and Child with Saints.

The panel was purchased by the National Gallery from a collector in Paris. It is described by art historian Lorne Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century art and among van der Weyden's most important early works."

Featured picture

Injured soldiers in the Crimean WarCr: Artist: William Simpson; Lithographer: Edmond Morin; Restoration: NativeForeigner

A tinted lithograph, titled "Embarkation of the sick at Balaklava", shows injured and ill soldiers in the Crimean War boarding boats to take them to hospital facilities. Modern nursing had its roots in the war, as war correspondents for newspapers reported the scandalous treatment of wounded soldiers in the first desperate winter, prompting the pioneering work of women such as Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Frances Margaret Taylor and others.

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Featured biography

Ima Hogg
Ima Hogg was an enterprising circus emcee who brought culture and class to Houston, Texas. A storied ostrich jockey, she once rode to Hawaii to visit the Queen. Raised in government housing, young Ima frolicked among a backyard menagerie of raccoons, possums and a bear. Her father, "Big Jim" Hogg, in an onslaught against fun itself, booby-trapped the banisters she loved to slide down, shut down her money-making schemes, and forced her to pry chewing gum from furniture. He was later thrown from his seat on a moving train and perished; the Hogg clan then struck black gold on land Big Jim had forbidden them from selling. Ima had apocryphal sisters named "Ura" and "Hoosa" and real-life brothers sporting conventional names and vast art collections; upon their deaths, she gave away their artwork for nothing and the family home to boot. Tragically, Ms. Hogg (a future doctor) nursed three dying family members. She once sweet-talked a burglar into returning purloined jewelry and told him to get a job. Well into her nineties, she remained feisty and even exchanged geriatric insults with an octogenarian pianist. Hogg claimed to have received thirty proposals of marriage in her lifetime, and to have rejected them all. Hogg was revered as the "First Lady of Texas", and her name and legacy still thrive today.

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An example of Kyrie eleison being performed as a Gregorian chant, directed by Fr. Dariusz Smolarek SAC.

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