Introduction

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 societies and cultures. Major constituents of the arts include literature (including drama, poetry, and prose), performing arts (among them dance, music, and theatre), and visual arts (including drawing, painting, filmmaking, architecture, ceramics, sculpting, and photography).

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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Joshua Reynolds's "Puck" was painted for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery
The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery was a three-part project initiated in November 1786 by engraver and publisher John Boydell in an effort to foster a school of British history painting. Boydell planned to focus on an illustrated edition of William Shakespeare's plays and a folio of prints, but during the 1790s the London gallery that showed the original paintings emerged as the project's most popular element. Boydell decided to publish a grand illustrated edition of Shakespeare's plays that would showcase the talents of British painters and engravers. He chose the noted scholar and Shakespeare editor George Steevens to oversee the edition, which was released between 1791 and 1803. The press reported weekly on the building of Boydell's gallery, designed by George Dance the Younger, on a site in Pall Mall. Boydell commissioned works from famous painters of the day, such as Joshua Reynolds, and the folio of engravings proved the enterprise's most lasting legacy. However, the long delay in publishing the prints and the illustrated edition prompted criticism. Because they were hurried, and many illustrations had to be done by lesser artists, the final products of Boydell's venture were judged to be disappointing. The project caused the Boydell firm to become insolvent, and they were forced to sell the gallery at a lottery.

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Kiss of JudasCredit: Gustave Doré; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

Gustave Doré's depiction of the kiss given by Judas Iscariot to Jesus, identifying him as the one whom the soldiers of the high priest Caiaphas are to arrest. The Gospels state that Jesus foresaw and allowed the betrayal because it would allow God's plan to be fulfilled, but most Christians still consider Judas a traitor. Following this event, Caiaphas condemned Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin trial concurred with a sentence of death. Jesus was handed over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate for execution, who carried out the sentence against his own wishes.

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Roman Vishniac, c. 1981
Roman Vishniac was a Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing on film the culture of Jews in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. He was, however, an extremely diverse photographer, an accomplished biologist and a knowledgeable student and teacher of art history. Throughout his life, he made significant scientific contributions to the fields of photomicroscopy and time-lapse photography. He later became a teacher and collector of historic art and artifacts.

Vishniac was very interested in history, especially that of his ancestors. In turn, he was strongly tied to his Jewish roots and was a Zionist later in life. Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photography: his pictures from the shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and images of microscopic biology. He is known for his book A Vanished World, published in 1947, which was one of the first such pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe from that period. He is known also for his extreme humanism and respect and awe for life, sentiments that can be seen in all aspects of his work.

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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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