Different Forms of Art – Visual, Literary, Performing

Art is a form of self-expression that originates from one’s imagination and skill, from human culture and society. There are three main forms of art – visual, literary, and performing. The art form can be unique and common, powerful and subtle, bold, and unassuming all at the same time.

Art is a form of expression of one’s emotions, feelings, thought, needs, and desires. It often conveys what words fail to express. It is something that makes meaning beyond languages. It can also include a story or a lesson.

All art forms have the main characteristic of being pleasing to the senses. They all tell a story, whatever art form it is. Art also conveys a message to the audience that may be indirect but very profound. 

What are the forms of art, then? The Arts are comprised of three major forms. These are:

  1. Visual Arts
  2. Literary Arts
  3. Performing Arts

The Visual Arts are basically visual in nature. There are 7 types of Visual Arts:

  1. Architecture
  2. Ceramics
  3. Conceptual Art
  4. Drawing
  5. Painting
  6. Photography
  7. Sculpture

The Literary Arts pertain to any written work. The 3 main Literary Arts are:

  1. Poetry
  2. Fiction
  3. Non-Fiction

The Performing Arts are art forms that require bodily movement. The 3 most popular forms of Performing Arts are:

  1. Dance
  2. Music
  3. Theatre

Different Forms of Art

There are 3 major forms of art. These are Visual Arts, Literary Arts, and Performing Arts. 

1. Visual Arts 

Visual Arts use any form of media to convey the artist’s feelings, ideas, and imagination. They are forms of art that are mainly visual in nature.  The Visual Arts have 7 sub-classifications. What are the 7 different forms of art? They are:

  1. Architecture
  2. Ceramics
  3. Conceptual Art
  4. Drawing
  5. Painting
  6. Photography
  7. Sculpture

Let’s define each one. 

1. Architecture – This is the art and science of designing buildings and other structures. Architecture is the realization of concepts and ideas. This includes how a building will be specifically used, how to fit it in a certain area, and how it will be constructed. The term architecture originated from the Greek word arkhitekton, which means “master builder.” 

Someone who creates art with architecture is called an architect. Architectural art must combine the feasibility, function, design, and aesthetics of a building for its users. 

The modern definition of architecture includes things that are not exactly buildings but other man-made items like computers, software, database, etc. 

2. Ceramics – This is art that uses ceramic materials (materials that are not metallic or organic). It also includes clay. Ceramic art includes pottery, figurines, tiles, and tableware. Artifacts in archeology fall under the ceramics group. 

In early times, most ceramic arts were made from clay alone – pottery. This paved the way for its name, which originated from the Greek term keramikos which means “pottery.”

3. Conceptual ArtConceptual art is also referred to as conceptualism. This started as an art movement in the 1960s. It is art where the concept behind the work itself is more important than the finished art itself. Conceptual art can be almost anything. The artist uses whatever material and technique he wants to use to put his idea through. 

Conceptual art may be anything from a painting, to performance, to a written script. 

4. Drawing – Drawing means creating an image with a very wide variety of drawing instruments and techniques. It is basically making marks on a surface with a tool. The tool is moved around the surface to create images. Some examples of tools used for drawing are pencils, ink, brushes dipped in paint or ink, crayons, charcoal, markers, and pastels. 

Aside from its artistic forms, it is often used in animation, architecture, engineering, editorials, commercial illustration, and comics. 

5. Painting – Painting is applying pigment, usually with the use of a brush (though other tools may be used), on a surface. This is a form of expression of one’s creativity. It has various forms, including composition, drawing, and abstraction. 

Painting is most often referred to as the most important of the Visual Arts, perhaps because it is one of the oldest among the Visual Arts. Painting has been very much popularized by many well-known painters like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Van Gogh. 

6. Photography – Photography is capturing light with a camera. This may be done with film or digitally. Before the digital era, all photography was captured on film and needed to be developed in a darkroom with chemicals. 

In photography, the creative vision of the photographer comes into play when he works with light, subject, and composition. 

7. Sculpture – Sculpture is the three-dimensional branch of the Visual Arts. They are created by shaping a variety of materials like stone, plastic, ceramics, wood, or steel. It is created by removal, cast or molded, or assembled by welding. It is often called plastic arts. 

Sculpture was popularized in Greece in ancient times. Greece has produced magnificent masterpieces in sculpture during the Classical Period.

2. Literary Arts

Next on the list of different forms of art are Literary Arts. Literary Arts refer to the written word. This includes writing, editing, teaching, proofreading, and all other activities and work that is related to written communications. It is creative writing and literature. 

The Literary Arts has three genres:

  1. Poetry
  2. Fiction
  3. Non-fiction

1. Poetry – These are written works that are created in lines and stanzas. It often uses a rhythmic pattern. Poetry may often use figurative languages like simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, alliteration, and hyperbole. 

Most poetry is usually shorter than other Literary Arts genres except for epic poetry. Epic poetry is a long narrative about gods and supernatural forces or heroes and their heroic deeds. 

2. Fiction – Fiction is any written work in prose that is not real. It comes from the creativity of one’s mind. However, like poetry, it can utilize the use of figurative language. It is usually written in sentences and paragraphs. 

The subject matter for fiction may be anything under the sun. It commonly uses a structured form by breaking the written work into chapters. Some types of written fiction are novels, short stories, fairytales, fables, and legends. 

3. Non-fiction – As the name implies, non-fiction is the opposite of fiction. This form of literary art is based solely on true happenings and facts. Non-fiction is also created in prose. Some types of written non-fiction are biographies, auto-biographies, diaries, published news, and journals. 

3. Performing Arts

Next on the list of different forms of art are performing arts. The performing arts are forms of art where the artist uses his or her own body, face, voice, and presence. The major performing arts are:

  1. Dance
  2. Music
  3. Theater

The other kinds of performing arts are opera and mime. 

The performing arts differ from visual and literary because while the latter two create objects, performing arts requires performance. The artists are called performers, and they perform in front of an audience. 

different forms of arts

1. Dance – Dance is body movement with aesthetic and symbolic value with purposefully selected sequences. The artists are called dancers, and they work with someone who creates the dance moves, called a choreographer. 

Dancers may work in opera, television shows, music videos, musical theater, and film. Some popular styles of dance are ballet, ballroom, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. 

2. Music – Music is an art form where the medium used is sound. It is purposefully putting together coordinated sounds and tones. Artists who play music are called musicians.

Music has elements, which are pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, and texture. Music has many genres, which include Rock, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Country, Pop, and Indie Rock. 

3. Theatre – Theatre or theater is a branch of performing arts where the performers act in front of a live audience. They use speech, facial expressions, gestures, dance, and music. The story they act out may be real or imaginary. The physical place where the performance is held is also called theater. This term originated from Ancient Greece and meant “a place for viewing.” 

The artists are called actors and actresses. Theatre may include the performances of opera, ballet, mime, Chinese opera, and Kabuki. 

Multidisciplinary Artistic Works

Multidisciplinary different forms of art combine several academic principles in new and unusual ways to create one artistic experience. Multidisciplinary art is often experimental. It often seeks new types of art expression. 

Richard Wagner, a very well-known composer, recognized the blending of so many art disciplines in his exemplary opera work, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).  Wagner never used the word opera for his work but instead called it a synthesis of the arts. 

There are other works in multidisciplinary arts that have fused disciplines together in very unique ways, like performance art. Performance art combines a number of instruments, objects, and art within a certain structure in one performance. It could very well be scripted, unscripted, random, or very organized. 

Other Arts

Applied Arts

Applied arts mean applying aesthetic value through design and decoration to common, everyday items. It combines functionality, need, design, and beauty. Applied Arts differs from Fine Arts as the latter aims to produce art that is aesthetic for its own sake without needing to have an everyday function. While Applied Arts centers on utility and functionality, Fine Arts is usually an intellectual pursuit. However, the two may overlap. 

Applied arts are often used in illustration, industrial design, and commercial art. 

Video Games

Whether video games can be considered art has been a debate by some artists. Hideo Kojima, who is himself a gaming auteur, says that video games are a service and not an art form.

But he claims that video games, in fact, are made up of various artistic elements like visuals, and so, game designers can be considered museum curators. He made this comparison because they aren’t really making artistic pieces but rather arranging them to show their art to actually sell these games. 

In May of 2011, video games was included by the National Endowment of the Arts in the consideration of grant applications. The Smithsonian American Art Museum, in 2012, premiered an exhibit that was entitled “The Art of the Video Game. This got mixed reactions, with some questioning if video games actually belonged in a museum.

Conclusion – What Are the Different Art Forms?

Art is defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.” What are the different types of art forms? It has three major forms. They are Visual Arts, Literary Arts, and Performing Arts. 

Visual Arts pertain to art that is created to aesthetically please the eye. They are visual in nature. The Visual Arts are subdivided into the following categories – Architecture, Ceramics, Conceptual Arts, Drawing, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture. 

  1. Architecture is the combination of functionality, need, and aesthetic qualities in buildings. 
  2. Ceramics refer to the creation of objects using ceramic material excluding glass. 
  3. Conceptual Arts refer focuses on the concept behind the artwork itself. 
  4. Drawing is the creation of marks to form images on a surface. 
  5. Painting is the application of pigment, usually with a brush on a surface. 
  6. Photography is the art of capturing light with a camera. 
  7. Sculpture is the three-dimensional branch of the visual arts that uses stone, wood or steel 

Literary Arts are art creations that use words. It has three genres – poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. 

  1. Poetry uses figurative language and is written in lines and stanzas. 
  2. Fiction is a made-up story, using the imagination of the writer. 
  3. Non-fiction pertains to written works that deal with facts and true events or experiences. 

The Performing Arts are works of art that require a performance using the human body. They are usually held in front of an audience. There are three major classifications of performing arts:

  1. Dance
  2. Music
  3. Theater

There are other forms that may be classified under the arts. These are Applied Arts and Video games. Applied Arts pertain to creations that focus on everyday functionality and usability but combined with aesthetic qualities. Video games, although still very much debatable, fall under the arts because many believe it is an art form that exists in the digital space.