The Arts
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Basic Information

While "Art" is generally used to refer to specific areas such as drawing or painting, "The Arts" covers a variety of disciplines. It can be defined as "imaginative, creative, and nonscientific branches of knowledge considered collectively, esp. as studied academically." In addition to visual arts such as painting and sculpture, it includes performance arts. The final product of artistic endeavour is termed a work of art - although in general use this may only refer to a physical object. In the right settings, "art" may also refer to magic.

Arts are generally divided into "liberal arts" - the study of literature, philosophy and the like - and "fine arts" which generally involve the creation of works of art. In many cultures, fine arts will overlap with some trades and crafts (for example a potter making decorative but functional ceramics) … differentiation may exist in works of art being one of a kind, but equally in the pre-industrial era, that may be a distinction without a difference. The idea of art being without practical application and purely expressive is a relatively modern one.

One who practices an art - typically a fine art - to a significant degree is termed an artist in general, or for their specific art (e.g. painter, sculptor, engraver). In performative arts there may also be layers between creators and performers, both of whom claim artist status for the same work: for example a composer writes a piece and a musician performs it, both are exercising different arts on the same piece.

Categories of Art

See Also:

Our Art page has a lot of links on it.



Game and Story Use

  • Works of art make good MacGuffins, especially if one is an Artifact of power.
    • And at a less dramatic level, treasure
  • Important information or some other secret might be incorporated into a work of art
  • An artist might make an interesting NPC to meet.
  • Or a PC might have an artistic background.
    • "Gentlemen, this painting is a forgery! Leonardo happened to be left-handed, but the brushstrokes on this work indicate a right-handed artist!"
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