The arts

Hans Rottenhammer, Allegory of the Arts (second half of the 16th century). Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Definitions

In its most basic abstract definition, art is a documented expression of a sentient being through or on an accessible medium so that anyone can view, hear or experience it. The act itself of producing an expression can also be referred to as a certain art, or as art in general. If this solidified expression, or the act of producing it, is "good" or has value depends on those who access and rate it and this public rating is dependent on various subjective factors. Merriam-Webster defines "the arts" as "painting, sculpture, music, theatre, literature, etc., considered as a group of activities done by people with skill and imagination."[1] Similarly, the United States Congress, in the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, defined "the arts" as follows:[2]

The term 'the arts' includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental and vocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, tape and sound recording, the arts related to the presentation, performance, execution, and exhibition of such major art forms, all those traditional arts practiced by the diverse peoples of this country. (sic) and the study and application of the arts to the human environment.