A Work of Art

"A Work of Art" is a science fiction short story by American writer James Blish. It was first published in the July 1956 issue of Science Fiction Stories with the title "Art Work". It has often been anthologized, appearing in The Worlds of Science Fiction[1] and The Golden Age of Science Fiction,[2] among others.


In the year 00 2161, a new medical specialty has been developed, known as "Mind Sculpting." Human personalities from history are re-created and placed into voluntarily donated physical bodies. Two mind sculptors, Drs. Kris and Seirds, re-create the mind of Richard Strauss and place it in a body. After animation, the "new" Dr Strauss is encouraged to re-commence his life as a composer of music, which he does.

After some difficulty adjusting to the current techniques and theories of musical composition, based largely on random choices on a composition machine, Strauss searches for subjects to inspire him and composes several songs. He then comes across a play by Christopher Fry, Venus Observed, which he realises is an ideal subject for his music.

Working to a tight deadline, he completes the opera and conducts its premiere. But during the performance, he begins to suspect that something isn't quite right, and finally realises that he's used all the same musical language many times before and that he has nothing left to say musically.

The applause, when it comes, is not for him, but for the mind sculptors, and Strauss realises that it was all an experiment. Before the sculptors pronounce the formulation that will destroy the re-created mind and restore the mind of the donor – a man completely devoid of musical ability – he feels the satisfaction that the sculptors will never know that the music lacked any spark of genius: "the 'Strauss' [they] had created was as empty of genius as a hollow gourd." His final regret is that he will not now be able to set to music Personae, a poem by Ezra Pound appropriate to the occasion that he had just discovered.


In The Worlds of Science Fiction, James Blish writes:[1]

Ostensibly this is a story about the future of serious music, but actually it proposes no novelties in that field. Its real subject is the creative process itself ... The story adopts a radical scientific assumption in order to make a philosophical and emotional point that could have been made in no other way.


  1. ^ a b Mills, Robert P., ed. (1963). The Worlds of Science Fiction. Paperback Library.
  2. ^ Amis, Kingsley, ed. (1981). The Golden Age of Science Fiction. Hutchinson.

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Adaptation (arts)

An adaptation is a transfer of a work of art from one medium to another.

Some common examples are:

Film adaptation, a story from another work, adapted into a film (it may be a novel, non-fiction like journalism, autobiography, comic books, scriptures, plays or historical sources)

Literary adaptation, a story from a literary source, adapted into another work

Theatrical adaptation, a story from another work, adapted into a playThere is, however, no end to potential media involved in adaptation. Adaptation is the practice of transcoding (changing the code or 'language' used in a medium) as well as the assimilation of a work of art to other cultural, linguistic, semiotic, aesthetic or other norms. Recent approaches to the expanding field Adaptation Studies reflect these expansion of our perspective. Adaptation occurs as a special case of intertextual and intermedial exchange and the copy-paste culture of digital technologies has produced "new intertextual forms engendered by emerging technologies—mashups, remixes, reboots, samplings, remodelings, transformations— " that "further develop the impulse to adapt and appropriate, and the ways in which they challenge the theory and practice of adaptation and appropriation."


Anonymous may refer to:

Anonymity, the state of an individual's personal identity, or personally identifiable information, being publicly unknown

Anonymous work, a work of art or literature that has an unnamed or unknown creator or author

Artifact (archaeology)

An artifact, or artefact (see American and British English spelling differences), is something made or given shape by humans, such as a tool or a work of art, especially an object of archaeological interest.In archaeology, however, the word has become a term of particular nuance and is defined as: an object recovered by archaeological endeavor, which may be a cultural artifact having cultural interest. However, modern archaeologists take care to distinguish material culture from ethnicity, which is often more complex, as expressed by Carol Kramer in the dictum "pots are not people".

Examples include stone tools, pottery vessels, metal objects such as weapons, and items of personal adornment such as buttons, jewelry and clothing. Bones that show signs of human modification are also examples. Natural objects, such as fire cracked rocks from a hearth or plant material used for food, are classified by archeologists as ecofacts rather than as artifacts.


An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature (in which they are called "readers"), theatre, music (in which they are called "listeners"), video games (in which they are called "players"), or academics in any medium. Audience members participate in different ways in different kinds of art; some events invite overt audience participation and others allowing only modest clapping and criticism and reception.

Media audience studies have become a recognized part of the curriculum. Audience theory offers scholarly insight into audiences in general. These insights shape our knowledge of just how audiences affect and are affected by different forms of art. The biggest art form is the mass media. Films, video games, radio shows, software (and hardware), and other formats are affected by the audience and its reviews and recommendations.

In the age of easy internet participation and citizen journalism, professional creators share space, and sometimes attention with the public. American journalist Jeff Jarvis said, "Give the people control of media, they will use it. The corollary: Don't give the people control of media, and you will lose. Whenever citizens can exercise control, they will." Tom Curley, President of the Associated Press, similarly said, "The users are deciding what the point of their engagement will be — what application, what device, what time, what place."

Botanical illustration

Botanical illustration is the art of depicting the form, color, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolor paintings. They must be scientifically accurate but often also have an artistic component and may be printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media or sold as a work of art. Often composed in consultation with a scientific author, their creation requires an understanding of plant morphology and access to specimens and references.

Composition (visual arts)

In the visual arts, composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or 'ingredients' in a work of art, as distinct from the subject. It can also be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art.

The composition of a picture is different from its subject, what is depicted, whether a moment from a story, a person or a place. Many subjects, for example Saint George and the Dragon, are often portrayed in art, but using a great range of compositions even though the two figures are typically the only ones shown.

The term composition means 'putting together' and can apply to any work of art, from music to writing to photography, that is arranged using conscious thought. In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on the context. In graphic design for press and desktop publishing, composition is commonly referred to as page layout.

Elements of art

A work of art can be analyzed by considering a variety of aspects of it individually. These aspects are often called the elements of art. A commonly used list of the main elements include form, shape, line, color, value, space and texture.

Faber Book of Irish Verse

The Faber Book of Irish Verse was a poetry anthology edited by John Montague and first published in 1974 by Faber and Faber. Recognised as an important collection, it has been described as 'the only general anthology of Irish verse in the past 30 years that has a claim to be a work of art in itself ... still the freshest introduction to the full range of Irish poetry'. According to Montague, "I'm dealing with a thousand years of Irish verse in under four hundred pages. I needed a thousand pages.'

Formalism (art)

In art history, formalism is the study of art by analyzing and comparing form and style. Its discussion also includes the way objects are made and their purely visual or material aspects. In painting, formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects rather than content, meaning, or the historical and social context. At its extreme, formalism in art history posits that everything necessary to comprehending a work of art is contained within the work of art. The context of the work, including the reason for its creation, the historical background, and the life of the artist, that is, its conceptual aspect is considered to be external to the artistic medium itself, and therefor of secondary importance.


A Gesamtkunstwerk (German: [gəˈzamtˌkʊnstvɛʁk], translated as "total work of art", "ideal work of art", "universal artwork", "synthesis of the arts", "comprehensive artwork", "all-embracing art form" or "total artwork") is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so. The term is a German word which has come to be accepted in English as a term in aesthetics.

The term was first used by the German writer and philosopher K. F. E. Trahndorff in an essay in 1827. The German opera composer Richard Wagner used the term in two 1849 essays, and the word has become particularly associated with his aesthetic ideals. It is unclear whether Wagner knew of Trahndorff's essay.

In the twentieth century, some writers applied the term to some forms of architecture, while others have applied it to film and mass media.

John Gillin Residence

The John Gillin Residence is a large single-story Usonian house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950 and built in Dallas, Texas in 1958. The Gillin House is Wright's only residential project in Dallas and the last home constructed before his death.

Gillin was a successful oilman, geophysicist and electronics gadgeteer. Gillin commissioned Wright to design a work of art that would also be suitable for living and entertaining. A self-made man, Wright respected him and allowed him to design many details including all door hardware, the stainless steel kitchenettes and even the diving board support.

This sprawling Usonian is one of Wright's most extensive single-story residences. Three wings spin off a central hexagon much as might have happened had Wingspread been based on an equilateral parallelogram rather than a square. The home is organized around a massive angular fireplace. The acute angles of 60 and 120 degrees give intimacy to the rooms with ample light-filled space and volume that is unusual for a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. The grand living room is under a hexagonal copper dome roof and ventilator specifically copied from the Arizona Biltmore Hotel's Aztec ballroom.

The home was designed in response to the Southwest climate and its site of seven acres overlooking a creek. Long horizontal outer walls of understated native sandstone and horizontal bands of windows converge to create a dramatic entry.

In 1996, the Gillin House was featured as Bob Mapplethorpe's house in the Wes Anderson film, Bottle Rocket.

Mandau (knife)

Mandau is the traditional weapon of the Dayak people of Borneo. Sometimes it is also known as Parang Ilang among the Bidayuh, Iban and Penan people, Malat by the Kayan people or Baieng by the Kenyah people or Bandau by Lun Bawang or Pelepet/Felepet by Lundayeh. Mandau is mostly ceremonial. However, a less elaborate version called Ambang is used as an everyday practical tool.

Associated with the Headhunting Ceremony, where people would gather to attack other tribes, and gather heads to be used in various festivities, Mandau is both a work of art in itself and a weapon.


A putto (Italian: [ˈputto]; plural putti [ˈputti]) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and sometimes winged. Originally limited to profane passions in symbolism, the putto came to represent the sacred cherub (plural cherubs) (plural cherubim); and in the Baroque period of art, the putto came to represent the omnipresence of God. A putto representing a cupid is also called an amorino (plural amorini) or amoretto (plural amoretti).


The Sitones were a Germanic people living somewhere in Northern Europe in the 1st century CE. They are only mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in 97 CE in Germania. Tacitus considered them similar to Suiones (ancestors of modern Swedes) apart from one descriptor, namely that women were the ruling sex.

"Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage."Speculations on the Sitones' background are numerous. According to one theory, the name is a partial misunderstanding of Sigtuna, one of the central locations in the Swedish kingdom, which much later had a Latin spelling Situne. Related to this may be a memory of a period in which the Swedes were ruled by a queen as described in the Disas saga.Another view is that the "queen" of the Sitones derives by linguistic confusion with an Old Norse word for "woman" from the name of the Kvens or Quains.According to medievalist Kemp Malone (1925), Tacitus' characterization of both the Suiones and the Sitones is "a work of art, not a piece of historical research", with the Sitones' submission to a woman as the logical culminating degeneracy after the Suiones' total submission to their king and surrendering of their weapons to a slave.

Stock character

A stock character is a stereotypical fictional character in a work of art such as a novel, play, film, or a movie whom audiences recognize from frequent recurrences in a particular literary tradition. Stock characters are archetypal characters distinguished by their flatness. As a result, they tend to be easy targets for parody and to be criticized as clichés. The presence of a particular array of stock characters is a key component of many genres. The point of the stock character is to move the story along by allowing the audience to already understand the character.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (German: Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien) is an 1860 work on the Italian Renaissance by Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt. Together with his History of the Renaissance in Italy (Die Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien; 1867) it is counted among the classics of Renaissance historiography.

An English translation was produced by S.G.C. Middlemore in two volumes, London 1878. Its scholarly judgements are considered to have been largely justified by subsequent research according to historians including Desmond Seward and art historians such as Kenneth Clark.The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy is divided into six parts:

Part One: The State as a Work of Art

Part Two: The Development of the Individual

Part Three: The Revival of Antiquity

Part Four: The Discovery of the World and of Man

Part Five: Society and Festivals

Part Six: Morality and Religion

Theory of art

At the broadest level, a theory of art aims to shed light on some aspect of the project of defining art or to theorize about the structure of our concept of ‘art’ without providing classical definitions, namely traditional functions. If the work of "art" has a materialistic intent it is a "tool" whether a tool intellectually, physically, spiritually or mentally.... And thus not "Genuine True Art" which has no purpose but to be itself". (Authentic edits welcome).


A triptych ( TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον "triptukhon" ("three-fold"), from tri, i.e., "three" and ptysso, i.e., "to fold" or ptyx, i.e., "fold") is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels that are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. It is therefore a type of polyptych, the term for all multi-panel works. The middle panel is typically the largest and it is flanked by two smaller related works, although there are triptychs of equal-sized panels. The form can also be used for pendant jewelry.

Despite its connection to an art format, the term is sometimes used more generally to connote anything with three parts, particularly if they are integrated into a single unit.

Work of art

A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an aesthetic physical item or artistic creation. Apart from "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and music, these terms apply principally to tangible, portable forms of visual art:

An example of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture

An object that has been designed specifically for its aesthetic appeal, such as a piece of jewellery

An object that has been designed for aesthetic appeal as well as functional purpose, as in interior design and much folk art

An object created for principally or entirely functional, religious or other non-aesthetic reasons which has come to be appreciated as art (often later, or by cultural outsiders)

A non-ephemeral photograph, film or visual computer program, such as a video game or computer animation

A work of installation art or conceptual art.Used more broadly, the term is less commonly applied to:

A fine work of architecture or landscape design

A production of live performance, such as theater, ballet, opera, performance art, musical concert and other performing arts, and other ephemeral, non-tangible creations.This article is concerned with the terms and concept as used in and applied to the visual arts, although other fields such as aural-music and written word-literature have similar issues and philosophies. The term objet d'art is reserved to describe works of art that are not paintings, prints, drawings or large or medium-sized sculptures, or architecture (e.g. household goods, figurines, etc., some purely aesthetic, some also practical). The term oeuvre is used to describe the complete body of work completed by an artist throughout a career.

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