The visual arts are artistic forms including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpting, ceramics, glass, film, music, visual arts and sculpture. Many other artistic disciplines including creative writing, visual arts, performing arts, film, multimedia, literature, multimedia arts and performance also include components of visual arts. Visual arts share similarities with other branches of arts. For instance, many dance forms, music, film, and visual arts share common characteristics, such as form, color, sound, composition and message. However, the visual arts also differ from these other arts in numerous ways.
Visual art includes all components of visual arts that are seen and heard. It is therefore a broader category than painting, which includes only the painting of visible objects. The distinction between visual arts and visual culture is blurred in many cases.
The history of visual arts traces its beginnings to the Pre-Raphaelites in the fifteenth century. The use of paint became widespread during the Renaissance. In the sixteenth century, Dutch artists developed natural imagery, such as trees and sea creatures, in order to present natural imagery and give a visual accompaniment to texts. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the first renaissance of the visual arts in Western Europe. This movement included the revival of earlier Dutch and French art styles and influenced by Italian art as well.
Art historians and social scientists note the historical development of visual arts through various historical periods. In the early period, the visual arts were more oriented to pleasure and served as leisure activities for the upper classes. In the later period, attention was focused on profit. The development of commercial markets and sophisticated techniques of mass production motivated the creation of fine art. The industrial revolution of the coming century changed the focus of the visual arts from entertainment to profit.
The arts of the twentieth century reflect the advances in technology and economy. Modern art focuses on the visual arts to promote aesthetic values and serve as a medium of communication and social expression. The discipline of Interior design uses visual arts to produce a physical environment that contributes to the beauty and functionality of a space.
Visual art forms are used to express feelings, produce aesthetic objects, or portray a specific message. It can be of artistic, functional, or utilitarian value. Visual arts include painting, architecture, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Paintings include portraiture, still-life, and other decorative arts. Architecture creates spaces and determines the arrangement of objects. Photography provides images in a form of art that people can manipulate.
Photography is one of the visual arts most refined forms. It involves using photographs to make a work of art. Portraits of real people, landscapes and abstract subjects are a common genre of this type of photography. The sculpture is a form of artistic beauty created by assembling pieces of architecture and other natural resources to create unique masterpieces.
Decorative arts refer to the decorative items used to decorate a space. Fine art began with items produced for a specific purpose, like furniture and tapestries. Other decorative items, like vases and bowls, later became part of the visual arts. Interior design uses, items of furniture, wall paint, window treatments and fabric to create an appealing space. Interior design is an extensive term encompassing a wide range of decorative art forms.
Painting and sculpture, however, share a common ancestry from the Renaissance and Classical periods. Master painters like Michelangelo began developing techniques to create beautiful paintings using the most naturalistic means possible. The Renaissance became the century in which sculpture developed, especially towards the end of the 15th century. It was the period in which artists like Sandro Botticelli began playing with the role of artist and public in much the same way as Leonardo da Vinci. Many artists followed in his footsteps.
Visual art has undergone continual development since the Renaissance. Early works included painting, pottery and jewelry, but the visual arts gradually developed throughout the late Middle Ages and into the early modern era. Modern technology, inspired by the Industrial Revolution, has allowed artists to create complex works of art much faster than it would have been possible in earlier centuries.
Visual art and fine arts have a close relationship; in fact, many critics refer to them as having the same “meaning”. For instance, when people speak of a painting, they are typically referring to something within the larger field of fine arts. On the other hand, when you speak about a sculpture, you are typically referring to its impact upon the viewer. As such, both types of art need to have a common point of reference, and this point of reference is the visual arts.