The Three Traditional Forms Of ART (Explained)

Art is used to refer to a wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling and cultural participation. Arts is a vehicle through which human beings cultivate distinct social, cultural and individual identities, while transmitting values, impressions, judgments, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life and experiences across time and space.

Traditionally, art is divided into 3 forms:

  1. Literary arts
  2. Visual arts
  3. Performing arts

Today these three branches have been morphed and expanded into various disciplines, which we will look at below.

1. Literary arts

cropped picture of a woman reading a book
Photo by Koshevaya_k on

Literature is literally “acquaintance with letters. The term has generally come to identify a collection of writings, which in Western culture are mainly prose (both fiction and non-fiction), drama and poetry.

In much, if not all of the world, the artistic linguistic expression can be oral as well, and include such genres as epic, legend, myth, ballad, other forms of oral poetry, and as folktale. Comics  also form a part of literature, they are the combination of drawings or other visual arts with narrating literature.

2. Visual arts

The visual art are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture.

Many artistic disciplines such as performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts also involve aspects of visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial designgraphic designfashion designinterior design and decorative art.

In modern times, visual art has started to evolve as many have found several other ways to enrich this field through their varied and unique forms of expression. Textile industries, fashion industries are the most systematic and concrete fields that generate huge finance worldwide. Many people are engaged with this industry, as there is always a huge demand for specialists working in these fields.

3. Performing Arts

Photo by cottonbro on

Among many other forms of art, performing art is one of the most ancient ones. The origin of such an art form was purely based on the entertainment of people.

Performing arts comprises dancemusictheatreoperamime, and other art forms in which a human performance is the principal product. Performing arts are distinguished by this performance element in contrast with disciplines such as visual and literary arts where the product is an object that does not require a performance to be observed and experienced.

Each discipline in the performing arts is temporal in nature, meaning the product is performed over a period of time. Products are broadly categorized as being either repeatable (for example, by script or score) or improvised for each performance. Artists who participate in these arts in front of an audience are called performers such as; actors, magicians, comedians, dancers, musicians, and singers. Performing arts are also supported by the services of other artists or essential workers, such as songwriting and stagecraft. Performers often adapt their appearance with tools such as costume and stage makeup.


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