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ARTS ARE DIVERSE and rich in their composition and message. Any piece of art radiates beauty, energy, spontaneity, and a sense of perfection. Any alteration of it would spoil its perfection. Above all, art is the best way to express the entire philosophy of an artist and of his or her time. What is great about the beauty of art is its freedom to express the ideas of the artists.
Ancient philosophers saw the role of the arts and artists in society as status symbols. Plato divided the arts into "visual," such as painting, sculpture, and architecture; "literary," such as poetry and dramas; and "mixed" musical arts of songs and dance. The wealth of ecclesiastical themes tried to explain the mysteries of Creation and Divinity by depicting them on icons, walls,. The idols and saints guarded their entrances, adorned their altars, and even mounted the.
In the Christian faith, the favorite themes are from Genesis and the lives of Jesus and of many important saints as inspiration for how to live a clean and pious life. Depictions of them towered over mortals from the ceilings, stained glass, and frescoes of temples and churches. Satan also was well-represented as a fearful, horned, and fanged beast with bloody face and piercing tail. Other demons of envy, greed and fornication were depicted to prevent the churchgoers from becoming sinners and ending up in hell's fire. The Anti-Christ kept reminding them from the walls about the accident of accidents, the impending end of the world. The idea is that their icons provide the timeless portrayal of the endless accidents among the mortal humans.
Modern philosophy focused little on the arts. That was probably the reason why artists and philosophers never got along and never understood each other. The "superficial" thinking of artists and their often rather trashy way of life was in opposition to the way profound thinkers created and lived.
Few philosophers were great admirers of art. Among them, Ludwig Wittgenstein was a virtuoso clarinet player with an unusual gift for sight-reading. He loved music so much that he never hesitated to employ it in his philosophical comments. Kant was not artistically oriented, but he wrote about the beautiful and the sublime in the arts as a natural human feeling. Indeed, any art instantly stirs the soul, evokes tender memories, and almost induces a trance of beauty in any admirer.
Just like in philosophy, an artistic creation is a reflection of life based on one's subjective feelings. Unlike philosophy, in the arts everything must be appealing and must tell a good and interesting story. Otherwise, the viewer or listener is not interested in it.
From the Effectological point of view, the arts offer a limitless supply of accidents and their effects. In no particular order, I shall point out some of the Effectological aspects of the most popular arts.
PAINTING is probably the oldest art we continue to admire today. It is very much a spontaneous act of perception. It immortalizes a scene and freezes it in a timeless frame. Large distances find a remarkable condensation of space on a flat canvas, which provides a permanent window in a wall.
For thousand of years, paintings kept perfect track of time, preserving people and events for posterity. They also revealed the perpetual sensitivity of the human soul in connection with everything around it, for painting is a poetry of colors reflected by light, enough to generate pure happiness in a viewer.
Painting gave birth to cartoons and posters, which were created by artists who saw a different venue for their talent. The art of cartoons was to make fun of serious political, social, or personal affairs, which the public devoured. It was true revenge for the common people to enjoy the unfortunate accidents of the rich, powerful, and famous.
Posters were initially large announcements with appealing drawings posted in public places. They developed into powerful tools of advertising and became an art in themselves. Norman Rockwell was the American master of comical posters, which brought cartoons and posters to a higher artistic level. It should be noted the power of accidents as a subject for both forms of arts, and as a motivation for the artist to create and the viewer to enjoy an obvious message like "how funny," "work harder" or "join the war effort."
SCULPTURE is the most difficult art, for it needs an investment in materials, it requires space for housing large pieces of stone, it is a messy craft, and it requires a great physical effort on the part of the artist hammering the chisel. It is the art most likely to be altered by accidents. Some of the accidents are errors made by the artist and some are hidden flaws inside the stone and wood structures.
By its nature, sculpture is the most enduring art, and practically all the world's religion and history was carved in stone. Greek artists left the statues of their gods as an immortal legacy of their beliefs and ideals of beauty. Columns in Rome offer lavish spirals of hundreds of scenes depicting wars and the daily life of the Roman Empire.
Michelangelo exposed his nude sculptures that revived not only ancient human ideals but an outlook for a brighter future of a society kept in dark. Augustin Rodin and his contemporaries made the sculptural transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, exposing new ideas and values in their art.
To say that any sculpture is the effect of an accident induced by a hammer and chisel on a marble or a stone block may not be an overstatement. However that is exactly how the artist masters his vision in stone: by eliminating what is not part of the finished product.
MUSIC was probably the first artistic manifestation of the hominids: making pleasant noises to attract mates or animals, humming to quiet crying babies, whistling to express feelings that words could not, and beating hollow trees or drums for the dancers. Without a doubt, music was a way to communicate sensitive feelings. It produced joy, and it had a supernatural power in healing sick people. Obviously, one who sang a better song was a smarter person, a better lover, and a talented individual with lots of friends. For thousands of years, the complexity of music and musical instruments grew as an inherited art for each generation and race.
Because music combines a tune with harmony, rhythm, words, inflections, and emotions with the stage presence of the singer and a band, it is probably the most complex and emotional art of all. In music, the notes' arrangement makes or breaks a tune, and no other art combines so many mathematical elements intended to prevent accidents than music. Everything on a sheet of music is precise in order to eliminate unwanted intervals, notes, and other irregular accidents.
The sound effects of music are the most powerful ways to transport a listener to another world. The great composers knew that all too well, and they wrote music, especially symphonies, with sounds unmatched in the real world. Listening to such a sophisticated score of music, one can easily detect the mood of the composer, and the numerous accidents encountered in his or her life. Their effects greatly influenced the musical arrangements and the flow of melody. Some accidents are purposely induced to give the listener that thrill of musical effect, impossible to be described in words. Listening to the tumultuous, heroic music of Wagner, one can easily imagine how Woton created Valhalla and God spoke to humans.
A military march with its sharp drum beats and penetrating sounds of brass instruments makes one's heart pound with the determination to fight and commit heroic acts, even to make a supreme sacrifice. A serenade played on a guitar or an accordion makes the same heart pound, but with the emotion of a melted soul, full of feelings of love and devotion. It was the Beatles and Rolling Stones who combined these styles into musical phenomenon that appealed to people all over the globe.
If looking at the staves of the above two music styles, one can instantly see that a military march is written in a major scale, while the love song is usually written in a minor key. The first style has a direct approach and makes soldiers fight with no hesitation, while the second style is full of accidents of flats and sharps that give the tune that mysterious and melancholy message.
DANCE is a very personalized art, because it is the only art that provides physical contact between the artists. Just like in the animal world, dance was a ritual form of flirting and courtship of a loved one. It was admitted by society as a necessity for a man and a woman to touch and feel each other. It was and still is a rhythmical body language that follows music, expressing certain feelings. It is entirely inspired from the folk art of dancing.
The theme of each dance is a duplication of a real life accident, mostly of an erotic nature. A boy is looking for a girl, they both spy on each other, the boy finally meets the reluctant girl, both dance their happiness, a third person tries to break up their relationship, the boy and the girl are separated, they reunite, and so forth are the most common dance themes.
The tango is such a sexual teasing dance, born in the brothels of Argentina, only to become an art form of passion in motion good enough for the most elite stages in the world. At one time, even the waltz revolted the European society for its intimacy and lusty feeling. Except for the American foxtrot, all other ballroom dances have a popular origin, mostly from islands where people celebrated happy events by singing and moving their bodies according to a specific rhythm.
Ballet is a choreographed way to dance following a libretto and music specially written for it. In all frankness, ballet, with its skimpy and sexy costumes, was promoted in the Renaissance and proclaimed as an art by well-to-do men. Their taste for it was simple: the respectable men wanted to be erotically entertained without sneaking into dark alleys, but rather while sitting the most lavish theaters. In this way, the moral integrity of the dancers and viewers remained intact and elevated to an art form.
Indeed, music and dance always involve a sexual message and have a sexual appeal. Both irresistibly attract people, who sometimes experience through these arts the accidents of like and dislike, of a pure blind jealousy, and of other eternal human feelings. It is not the most well-built man who gets the most beautiful woman, but the best musician or dancer who can entertain and make her feel great.
Unlike other arts, folk music and dance existed for centuries in various cultures, and were the prime inspirations for schooled artists. Most probably, Amadeus Mozart's famous compositions were stylish copies of popular songs of the eighteenth century. Two centuries later, Jewish composers like George Gershwin and Aaron Copland used Yiddish music richly borrowed from Eastern European folk music to shape the American music style.
POETRY AND LITERATURE are related to the human ability to tell a story in any language. Because poems usually describe an outpouring of love words for someone, the poets show great sensitivity that impresses the ones who experience the same mood but cannot verbalize it as well.
If poetry was mostly transmitted orally, then literature was the production of extensive written works. Ideas of a permanent interest are based on accidents and their effects in the life of an individual. They are described by the writer as a thrilling experience, and a lesson for the readers who want to share a different existence.
Poetry and literature express things in beautiful words or eloquent language that everyone experience, but they need a sensitive teller to entertain us in an imaginative way. Much desired by the public, they became a sellable art.
THEATRE is a place for the performance of plays and other staged dramatic productions. Drama, tragedy, and comedy found much popularity in the ancient Greek and Roman empires, where impressive stadiums were built to accommodate the viewing public. Since then, ambulant groups of actors have traveled across all of civilized Europe, recreating the main events and personalities of past history for the present-day audience.
The plots of plays have never changed. They basically describe how everything goes well until something unusual, an accident, happens to the characters involved. Unlike the tragedy, the comedy is the art of making the public laugh by using humor to defuse a situation over which the joker has no control.
Until Shakespeare's time, women's roles in theatre were played by men. Even today, certain traditional Japanese theatres have all male casts. That was probably why Rousseau was against bringing theater into Geneva: he considered it an evil form of art, and a vehicle to instill dangerous vanity and passion in the minds of unspoiled people. Considering that the classical art of theater degenerated into burlesque and nude shows, the puritan French philosopher was not that wrong.
OPERA is all of the arts in one. It consists of music, poetry, drama, dance, decoration, visual effects, and many other artistic embellishments on a grand scale. Its origin was in the Greek tragedies which lasted a few days, imitating real life. A less elaborate version is the operetta or the musical comedy, or the American version, the Broadway show. They all engage very gifted artists, from writers and composers to singers and dancers, and provide entertainment for all types of people.
The industrial revolution made an enormous accidental impact in the art world by introducing new arts based on newly discovered technologies. The portable camera was used to take pictures since the mid-1800s, and soon it was the instrument of the refined art of photography. The art of photography was to tell a story through an undistorted frame of real life, with all accurate details in plain view.
By 1890, the first animated film was run in the theatres of New York City, creating an art industry of colossal proportions. The new art was expensive to produce, but it brought considerable profits, becoming a booming business.
Just like in the book industry, no good movie or stage play can have appeal without a good story. A good story is always a chain of accidents that generate more accidents with unpredictable effects, which create suspense. A writer needs only go to a Court House for a few days to supply him- or herself with enough dramatic and comical subjects for several novels. Any subject can be based on an actual accident, as people are hungry to learn how others handled unusual situations.
Here I must stop for a personal comment about an art never officially recognized or fully studied for its effects. It is "Olfactory Art," or the art of beautiful smells. Just like the rest of arts, a smell stimulates our brains with specific perceptions and reactions. When a person passes by and leaves a scent that evokes sad or happy past memories related to a similar smell, that feeling has an emotional, and even an artistic value.
The art of producing wonderful sensations and hallucinations rests in an inventory of more than 3,000 perfume essences, presented in the most imaginative and refined bottles. An inhaled scent from each triggers a different mood. As each person chooses a different perfume to fit her or his personality, it projects a lasting impression to the rest.
That lasting impression of a smell found the right market in industrial scents, which attract customers to buy products with an appealing smell. Soups, shampoos, deodorants, detergents, and other personal hygiene products demonstrate the role of odors. Even car salesmen use a scent that resembles the smell of a new car in old cars. Never labeled as an art, "olfactology" is for sure an industry of beauty.