We explain what they are and what types of plastic arts exist. In addition: history, characteristics and examples of plastic arts.
What are the Plastic Arts?
When we talk about plastic arts, we refer to the techniques of elaboration of works of art in which materials and elements capable of being molded, modified or transformed by the artist are used. These elements are therefore considered plastic resources, since they serve the raw material artist to express his perspective, imagination or specific vision of the real.
This term is used in Fine Arts to differentiate the visual arts, which must be perceived by the viewer's view, from those that also involve the sense of hearing (music, recited text ), like the sciences. Thus, plastic arts are considered to be painting, sculpture, drawing, architecture, engraving, ceramics, goldsmithing, handicrafts and wall painting.
It is very common that plastic artists, especially in the early exploration of their talent, focus on various plastic disciplines at the same time, since the plastic arts start from principles and aspects common to each other, such as shape, texture, color or even movement.
Plastic arts currently occupy one of the main artistic areas of museums, and are, together with the sciences, literature, cinema, music and photography., the maximum contemporary expressions of art.
See also: Collage.
History of the plastic arts
The notion of plastic arts emerged during the nineteenth century, as has been said, to distinguish them from the performing arts. However, during the 20th century the notion of art came into conflict and reformulation so many times that the plastic arts incorporated expressive proposals such as graffiti and urban art ( street art ) or the ready-made heritage of pop-art.
This last type of artistic objects, above all, that did not receive major intervention from the artist, but were transferred by him to the museum and extracted from their context, forced the use of the term “visual arts” instead of “plastic arts”, to accommodate them in this category. Video, photography and digital art, that way, also had a place in it.
Types of plastic arts
The plastic arts are ordinarily classified into:
- Painting The most classic of all, along with sculpture, this discipline uses chromatic substances obtained through various mechanisms to apply color on a smooth white surface, known as canvas, to create with these colors a realistic or abstract representation of reality.
- Sculpture This discipline uses the artist's hands, as well as various tools, to mold, cut, polish and, in short, give a certain shape to durable elements, such as stones of different nature, or moldable materials that then harden, such as plaster.
- Goldsmithing It involves the elaboration of artistic pieces through the manipulation and melting of metals, in particular precious metals such as gold or silver.
- Drawing The technique consists in representing the perspectives of the visible to the naked eye or of the imaginary by means of strokes on a paper that are made with pencil, charcoal, ink or some other material that leaves marks.
- Engraving Similar to the drawing, the engraving prints gestures, letters or other symbols on a surface, but in this case a hard and resistant as rolled metals.
- Ceramic Similar to the sculpture, it prints form (and eventually color) to a mass of a moldable or malleable element, then naturally or in a furnace extract the water component and, when drying, harden it and make it rigid and bright.
- Craft This is called the technique of producing simple objects or containers, for everyday use, using flexible materials and simple tools, often the artist's hand.
Characteristics of the plastic arts
As stated before, the plastic arts share certain basic concepts that determine their particular way of expressing their contents, and which are:
- Color . The colors are given to the works of art through pigments and materials that, when impacted by white light, absorb all the tones of the rainbow minus one. This reflected color is what our retinas perceive.
- Shape . The form has to do with the geometry of things, with their regularity or irregularity, with their limits visible to the naked eye.
- Texture . The texture is appreciable by touch or sight, and has to do with the surface of the objects: its roughness or smoothness, its edge or the sensations transmitted by its outer layer.
- Movement . In some cases, plastic works can have movement, as is the case of artists such as Argentine Julio LeParc, whose sculptures could be activated by electricity to transmit hypnotic shapes and colors to the viewer.
Examples of plastic arts
Examples of each of the plastic disciplines are given below:
- Painting : The Guernica by Pablo Picasso (20th century).
- Sculpture : The thinker of Auguste Rodin (s. XX).
- Ceramics : The ceramic vases of Th odore Deck (19th century).
- Goldsmith : The altar of Saint Ambrose of Milan, made by Vuolvinus (c. 850).
- Drawing : The sketches of dancers by Edgar Degas (20th century).
- Engraving : The series of engravings of Goya baptized The whims (s. XX).