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The arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human cultures and societies. Major constituents of the arts include literature (including fiction, 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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Lo mismo – A man about to cut off the head of a soldier with an axe
The Disasters of War is a series of 82 prints created between 1810 and 1820 by Spanish master painter and printmaker Francisco Goya. Although he did not make known his intention when creating the plates, art historians view them as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–14 and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814. They were not published until 1863, 35 years after his death. With these works, he breaks from a number of painterly traditions. He rejects the bombastic heroics of most previous Spanish war art to show the effect of conflict on individuals. In addition he abandons colour in favour of a more direct truth he found in shadow and shade. The series was produced using a variety of intaglio printmaking techniques, mainly etching for the line work and aquatint for the tonal areas, but also engraving and drypoint. The first 47 focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and opposed both state and religious reform.

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General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm (1897)Credit: Photochrom: Photoglob Zürich; Restoration: Lise Broer

A photochrom print of the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm complex on the island of Djurgården, located in central Stockholm, Sweden. Several of the structures built for the 1897 World's Fair still remain on the western part of the island, including Djurgårdsbron, the main bridge to the island; the Skansens Bergbana, the funicular railway now in the Skansen open air museum and zoo; and the Nordic Museum.

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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 la Nanita Nana, a Spanish Christmas carol, performed by the U.S. Army Band Chorus in Spanish and English.

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