Art is an incredibly diverse subject, viewed differently by every single person, and created from many different mediums. One of the main points of art, however, is that it is a form of expression, no matter what category it falls into.

When people talk about “the arts” though, they can usually be categorised into one of the seven major art forms. The seven major art forms which are widely accepted as the ‘common collective’ definition of the ‘arts’.

The Definition of Art

As subjective as it is, art doesn’t have one specific definition. Rather, it has plenty of definitions by people all over the world because we all have different opinions. What one person defines as art may not ring true to someone else.

A widely accepted definition of art, however, is that art is any form in which an expression or application of human creativity, skill, and imagination creates something that other people can experience through their senses.

Most arts created are visual or audible but there are also arts than can be enjoyed through sensory touch. Traditionally, most of the art that was produced was appreciated primarily for the beauty it held or the emotion it invoked. Now, the same can still be said but there is also use for art as political expression or social commentary.

What Are The 7 Major Forms of Art?

Even though art has changed and evolved throughout history, a lot of the creations we have can be categorised into one of the seven major forms of art. Each form of art is not only created differently but expressed differently, too. But no matter how different the product itself may be or what particular affect it has on us, one thing is true: art invokes emotions. It could be sorrow, grief, happiness, or admiration.

The seven major forms of art are:

  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Architecture
  • Literature
  • Cinema
  • Theatre
  • Music

1.     Painting

When we think of art, most of us jump straight to paintings. Painters are some of the most well-known artists, after all – Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol, da Vinci, Klimt… The list never ends.

Painting is also the most commonly taught art medium in education systems. Using paint as the medium, this form of art is all about expressing your artistic vision and developing through various means, like using different types of paint or other tools.

Paints are usually of one of three consistencies: oil, watercolour, or acrylic. But that doesn’t limit what a painter can use. Chalk, pencils, dyes, and other materials are available. These materials can be applied to a solid surface, most commonly a canvas, in many different ways.

The painting itself also has a classification. You might have heard of some a few of them… Classical, Impressionist, Modernist, Abstract, Baroque, Renaissance, etc,. One of the most famous paintings in the world, Mona Lisa, is a painting of the Renaissance.

2.     Sculpture

Another visual art form, sculptures.

Sculptures date back throughout history, they may be one of the oldest forms of art to exist, along with painting. The Great Sphinx is, monumentally, the oldest sculpture to ever exist and is understandably one of the most recognisable. A sculpture creates a three-dimensional visual figure using materials such as clay, stone, metal, ceramics, and wood.

However, more recently artists that create pieces in this classic art form are prone to being very creative. They use sand, glass, paper, and many other different mediums. One of the most famous sculptors, Michelangelo, favoured techniques using marble. In fact, Michelangelo’s ‘David’, one of the most well-known sculptures in the world, was made using this material.

There are also more resources and techniques available to sculpting artists these days; welding, modelling, assembling.

3.     Architecture

You pass this art form every single day, we just don’t always appreciate it fully or realise it as an art form. But it is. Architecture is the art of structures and though it could be related back to some of the very first sheltered spaces to be built, we often relate architecture as an art form to structures like bridges.

Some of the most renown global structures are ancient: the Colosseum of Rome, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramids, and Stonehenge, for example. More modern examples would be landmarks such as Paris’ Eiffel Tower, le Louvre, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the Burj Khalifa, just to name a few.

Architecture is quite set apart from the other art forms. Although they all have the ability to invoke emotion and express creativity, architecture stands to serve a functional purpose to people. In a way, we can interact with architectural art with different feelings than any other art form because of the necessity we have for it as a utility, aside from it being art.

4.     Literature

Many peoples’ favourite artsy subject. Literature. Words are, perhaps, the most powerful thing to exist in the world and this art form shares stories through pages and word-of-mouth.

Writers from different backgrounds, languages, cultures all create literature through their written or spoken word, encompassing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays, plays, satires, and many more. The organisation of the words, as well as the specific language chosen, gives pleasure to those taking in the art. Shakespeare, probably the most famous writer ever, indulged in more than one literature medium, as many other writers have done, too.

But literature, more than just bringing joy or invoking empathy, has the ability to carry political views and critique societal views and practices, as George Orwell demonstrated in many of his novels.

5.     Cinema

Of all the major art forms, cinema is certainly the most recent, even though it was created more than 100 years ago. However, if that has taught anything artists anything, it’s that time doesn’t negate popularity.

Similar to how literature shares stories through spoken word, so does cinema. But it also uses visual arts, music, and other effects to do this. The industry employs many artisans all with different art backgrounds; music scores, acting, directing, makeup, costume, writing, editing. And that’s not all of them. All of these artisans fit into one of the seven major forms of art, too, which just goes to show you how wide the range is when it comes to creativity and skill.

This is one of the most accessible and one of the most popular forms of art of the modern world, even if it’s not always considered a high art like some of the ‘classic’ forms.

6.     Theatre

If you want drama, this is where you’ll find it. Combining both visual arts with dramatic performances, the actual art form of theatre has evolved over the years.

From Ancient Greece to Tudor-era England, theatre has been one of the most popular sources of entertainment for many. Traditionally, theatre as an art form mostly just consisted of plays and circus acts but there were also magic acts and mimes. Broadly, theatre also now encompasses musicals, operas, spoken word performances, performance art, and dance.

To understand that weight that theatre had as one of the main entertainment sources, there were often performances in structures as spectacular as Greek and Roman amphitheatres and in settings such as Pompeii.

Playwright Shakespeare is a very notable figure who fits into two categories of art: literature and theatre. There are some other notable figures but within different areas, like composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

7.     Music

An art form that transcends language, the art of arranging audio soundbites and vibrations to create a musical composition. Using melodies, rhythms, timbres, instruments, and the human voice.

The exact history of music is quite hard to date once you get so far but considering how we can use our voice as an instrument now, there’s no reason to believe we didn’t do it in the past, either. So music could be just as old as the human race.

There is so much at the disposition of musical artists these days, with ever-broadening musical genres and styles, and loads of instruments. From classical to western pop, Tchaikovsky to The Weeknd, music is culturally universal.

Aardvark Art Services

Established in 1998, Aardvark Art Services has been transporting art up and down the nation for over 20 years.

Whether you’re wanting to relocate fine art, antiques, or sculptures, our exceptionally specialised team will travel almost anywhere in England, Scotland, and Wales. Our services also include storing facilities as well as expert packing facilities to ensure your antiques and your art is being transported securely and safely.

Plenty of our customer and client base is made up of museums and galleries, exhibits, private collectors. If you have any artwork, commissioned, bought, or self-made, that you want to relocate – don’t hesitate to contact us!

Your pieces will get from point A to point B in tip-top condition! Still got questions about our services? Just ask!