What are the nine major arts?

We have often heard of the 9 major arts. But what exactly are they and what does it correspond to? We will go into detail and tell you about this particular classification, which concerns architecture, sculpture, visual arts, music, literature, stage, cinema, media arts and finally comics.

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Article Plan

  • Arts and Ancient Classification
  • Liberal Arts
  • Mechanical Arts
  • Today’s 9 major arts
  • Are we moving towards a 10th art?
  • Arts, an essential aspect of society

Arts and Ancient Classification

Men have always wanted to classify the arts. Difficult to develop a classification of the arts: are they major? Minors? What criteria should be used to classify them? In ancient times, the arts matched, just like today, to everything that is artistic.

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The nine arts put forward corresponded, at the time, to the muses that were its godmothers. So we had:

  • Calliope , muse of eloquence and epic poetry
  • Clio , muse of history,
  • Erato , muse of lyrical and choir poetry
  • Euterpe , Muse of Music
  • Melpomene , muse of tragedy
  • Polymnia , muse of rhetoric
  • Terpsichore , muse of dance and choral singing
  • Thalie , muse of comedy
  • Uranie , muse of astronomy

These 9 muses were the daughters of Zeus and the goddess of memory, Mnemosyn. While at the time, the arts corresponded to letters, music and living arts , the 9 arts have evolved well with their time.

In ancient times, it is important to know that neither sculpture, nor architecture nor drawing (and many others) were considered arts. They were merely ancillary disciplines that did not deserve any special emphasis or recognition at the heart of society.

Liberal Arts

It was in the Middle Ages that the fusion of arts and science was completely made. Knowledge in these disciplines has led to the classification of liberal arts. Knowledge and achievements were part of the trivium and quadrivium:

  • Trivium included: rhetoric, grammar, dialectic
  • The quadrivium included: geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music

If this classification may surprise, it These arts were indeed the most important of their time, with dramatic advances in theories, both in science and mathematics, and in the arts.

Mechanical Arts

Well after the ancient period and the Middle Ages, the techniques developed here and there and were able to see new talents, new skills and necessarily new arts forged. With the emergence of many activities in the transformation of materials , artists and craftsmen have been grouped at the heart of the same classification, that of mechanical arts:

  • Architecture begins to appear as art
  • Sculpture is finally recognized as art
  • Paint is included in this list
  • Goldsmith’s work also his hour of glory
  • There are also disciplines such as steel, glassware, cutlery and grocery.

These arts will then be classified in this way, according to the trades or according to their signature. The arts then begin to enter into a classification of precise criteria such as expressiveness, materiality . Hegel produced a list which then includes architecture, sculpture, music, painting and poetry.

Today’s 9 major arts

Finally, we arrive in the twentieth century and the new classification of the arts. With progress, the arrival of light, sound and image reproduction techniques and many other arts, the classification of the arts has evolved well. Looks like it’s a kind of compendium of many arts, to keep only 9. We now count in today’s arts:

  • Architecture , which keeps its first place
  • Sculpture , which remains following the classification of Hegel
  • Visual arts , which include drawing and painting
  • The music
  • Literature and poetry
  • Performing arts (theatre , dance, mime, circus)
  • Cinema and video techniques
  • Media arts (television, radio, photography)
  • The comic

The muses of antiquity must be surprised to see how their arts have evolved and have been able to take various forms thanks to progress!

Are we going towards a 10th art?

Art is a definition that often lends to debate. We are still far from considering the advent of a 10th art. You now know all about the 9 arts, their genesis and their evolution to give today the classification we know.

Art is above all a matter of aesthetics , and aesthetics is in itself a highly subjective notion. In the 21st century, art was so numerous, in their diverse and varied forms, with their plural aesthetics, that many disciplines could be called 10th art. Who is the next place among the arts?

Some argue that it might well be video games , since 2006, they are considered an art. Others would like it to be the art of tattoo!

Arts, an essential aspect of society

The arts have always been part of society, since its foundations. Today, in the twenty-first century, arts appear to be flouted by some governments in favour of latent social crises. Remove the arts and all forms of creation, and you lose the soul of a civilization .

In the meantime, remember the list of arts, so you can have it in mind when you talk about architecture, sculpture, visual arts, music, literature, poetry, painting, drawing, theatre, dance, circus mime, video and cinema, television, radio, photography or comic strip.

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