Introduction

Hans Rottenhammer, Allegory of the Arts (second half of the 16th century). Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

The arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human societies and cultures. Major constituents of the arts include literature (including drama, poetry, and prose), performing arts (among them dance, music, and theatre), and visual arts (including architecture, ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpting).

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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Harris Theater (left) and The Heritage at Millennium Park (right) viewed from Randolph Street
The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is a 1525-seat theater for the performing arts located along the northern edge of Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago.

It serves as the Park's indoor performing venue, a complement to Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts the park's outdoor performances. Constructed in 2002–03, it is the city's premier performance venue for small- and medium-sized music and dance groups. It provides subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support for the companies using it. The Harris Theater has hosted notable national and international performers, such as the New York City Ballet's first visit to Chicago in over 25 years (in 2006). Performances have included the San Francisco Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Stephen Sondheim.

The theater has been credited as contributing to the performing arts renaissance in Chicago, and has been favourably reviewed for its acoustics, sightlines, proscenium and for providing a home for numerous performing organisations. The theater was named for its primary benefactors, Joan and Irving Harris.

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Zhou Maoshu Appreciating Lotuses, a designated National Treasure of Japan, is a 15th century painting mounted as a hanging scroll by Kanō Masanobu that depicts the 11th century Confucian scholar Zhou Maoshu in a boat floating on a lake with lotuses. Kanō was the chief painter of the Ashikaga shogunate and is generally considered the founder of the Kanō school of painting, which would become the dominant style of painting until the Meiji period.

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Photo of Sylvanus G. Morley, circa 1912
Sylvanus Morley was an American archaeologist, epigrapher and Mayanist scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate the interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. His involvement in clandestine espionage activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death.

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A 12th-century song by Comtessa Beatritz de Dia, "A Chantar" is the only existing song by a trobairitz which survives with its music.

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