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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 architecture, ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpting).

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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House with Chimaeras front façade
The House with Chimaeras is a major Art Nouveau building in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It was built in the period of 1901–1902 by noted architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, who was regarded as the Gaudí of Kiev. The building derives its popular name from its ornate decorations depicting various scenes of exotic animals and hunting scenes, as Gorodetsky was an avid hunter. It is situated on No. 10, Bankova Street, across from the President of Ukraine's office in the historic Pechersk neighborhood. Since 2005 it has been used as a presidential residence for official and diplomatic ceremonies.

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Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur, an 1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb depicting Ashkenazi Jews praying on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. The artist has painted himself (to the right of the seated rabbi, looking outwards) among the people of his hometown of Drohobych.

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El Greco: Self portrait (1604)
El Greco was a prominent painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.

El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and when he was 26 travelled to Venice to study. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he emigrated to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings.

El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western civilization.

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A 12th-century song by Comtessa Beatritz de Dia, "A Chantar" is the only existing song by a trobairitz which survives with its music.

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