Historically, a relatively stable spectrum of art forms has developed: architecture, sculpture, painting, graphics, decorative and applied arts, cinematography, television, literature. Each of them masters this or that side of the multifaceted human existence and has its own specific artistic and figurative language.

Types of art are divided into: spatial (plastic), where the image is unfolded in space; temporal, where the image develops over time (music, literature); spatio-temporal, or spectacular, where the image is characterized by both physicality and duration (dance, etc.); fine arts – arts that use signs similar to reality (painting, sculpture, etc.); types that use signs of a non-descriptive type, referring directly to the associative mechanisms of perception (architecture, music, etc.); synthetic – types where signs are of a mixed nature (song art, etc.).

Let’s dwell on individual types of art in more detail.


Architecture, architecture is the art of designing and building houses, structures and their complexes, which organize the material spatial environment of people’s life according to their purpose, technical capabilities, socially significant ideas and in accordance with the laws of beauty. The following are the means of expressing content: ratio of volumes, rhythm, scale (commensurability with a person), proportions, tectonics, composition, texture and color of material, synthesis of arts. Architecture belongs to the sphere of spiritual culture, but it is also an essential part of material culture. There were three main types of architecture: the architecture of three-dimensional structures, landscape architecture, and urban planning. In architecture, the figurative-aesthetic principle is closely connected with its social function, with the history of the development of society, its worldview and socio-political ideas; all this determines the appropriate architectural style. The main architectural styles that have developed historically are antique order architecture, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, classicism, modernism, and functionalism.


Sculpture is a type of fine art, the works of which have a volumetric, physically three-dimensional form, are created from various materials by sculpting, cutting, casting, etc. The main artistic means in sculpture are the construction of three-dimensional figures, their placement in space, the transfer of poses, gestures, the choice of proportions, texture, etc. The following types of sculpture are distinguished: round sculpture, which can be viewed from different sides (statue, group, statuette, bust) and relief – an image on the background plane, which can be high (high-relief) and low (bas-relief); monumental sculpture (monuments, monuments) – related to the architectural environment, which expresses significant social ideas; monumental-decorative – decoration of architectural structures and complexes; easel – designed for the interior and not tied to a specific architectural environment; sculpture of small forms – small figurines, medallion art and stone carving (gliptic).


Painting is a type of fine art, the works of which are formed with the help of paints applied to a solid surface (base). The main means of expression here are color, color (an integrated system of the ratio of tones and shades of color), chiaroscuro, and line. The idea of ​​a painting is concretized in the theme and plot and embodied with the help of composition, drawing and color. The painting can be polychrome or monochrome (shades of one color – grisaille). The main technical varieties of painting are: oil painting; painting with watercolors on plaster – raw (fresco) and dry (a secco); tempera – based on egg, vegetable, etc. emulsions; enamel – a vitreous colored coating applied to a metal surface and fixed by firing; encaustic – painting with melted wax paints, etc. Varieties of painting also include mosaic using colored stones, smalt (colored opaque glass) and stained glass using transparent glass.


Graphics – a type of fine art, which includes a drawing and printed images based on it (various types of engraving – prints from plates). Graphics use such means of expression as a contour line, silhouette, stroke, spot, contrast of white (sheet of paper) and black. With the help of such insignificant means, the artist creates a living picture of the world. It is the incompleteness, conventionality of the image of the subject, laconism – important means of artistic expressiveness in graphics, which allow creating figurative and expressive metaphors, sharply sharpening the image (graphic satire and grotesque).


Decorative art is a branch of plastic arts, the works of which, along with architecture, artistically shape the material environment of a person, introducing into it an aesthetic, ideological and figurative principle. Solving, like architecture, practical and artistic tasks, decorative art belongs simultaneously to the spheres of creating material and spiritual values. Decorative art is divided into: monumental and decorative – directly related to architecture (architectural decor, paintings, reliefs, statues, stained glass, mosaics, etc.); art of decoration (artistic decoration of holidays, expositions, etc.); decorative and applied – creation of art products mainly for everyday life. In close connection with decorative and applied art is design – a new type of aesthetic activity that arose in the 20th century. and is an artistic and constructive activity to design the material world of man (in particular, objects of mass demand) on the basis of rational expediency and beauty.


Theater is a form of art, the specific means of expression of which is the stage action that occurs during the actor’s performance in front of the audience. Theater formula: play – actor – audience, united by the game. Here, life is learned by imitating life itself. Works of theatrical art – performances – are created on the basis of a dramatic or musical-scenic work. In drama (Greek – action), which belongs to both theater and literature, human conflicts and contradictions are expressed through the successive actions and statements of the characters. Important features of theatrical art: its collective character; the special role of the actor, who is the direct bearer of the action-play principle in the theater; in the theater, the creation of an image by an actor takes place in front of the viewer, which deepens the spiritual influence on the latter (unlike, say, cinema), there is direct feedback between the actor and the viewer, emotional contact between the stage and the audience.


Fiction, the art of words is a special kind of art in which language is the material carrier of imagery. Literature is characterized by the following features: literary images lack visual authenticity, literature acts on the imagination, especially activates the intellect; through the word, reality is mastered in all its diversity, wide possibilities of understanding the inner spiritual world of people, their communication are opened. Literature is divided into two main types (forms): poetry and artistic prose; three types of literature are also distinguished: 1) epic – a coherent story about socially important events of the past, objectified from the personality of the narrator; 2) lyrics – where the primary is not the object, but the subject of the statement, his attitude to the depicted, the content of his inner life; 3) drama, the specificity of which is a continuous chain of expressions of the characters, the orientation of the text on spectacular expressiveness.


Music is a form of art that expresses and reflects human life in sound images. Music is based on a person’s ability to associate auditory sensations with their own experiences and processes of the outside world. Music is a dynamic art, it is the poetry of sound. The most important means of expression and elements of music: rhythm, timbre, melody, harmony, polyphony, instrumentation, etc. Depending on the means by which music is played, vocal (for the voice), instrumental, and vocal-instrumental music are distinguished. Different types of music are also distinguished: symphonic, operatic, chamber, etc. Music is monophonic (monody) and polyphonic (polyphony). The main genres of vocal music are song, chorus, anthem, romance, aria, opera. Genres of instrumental music include suite, sonata, symphony, concert.


Choreography, dance is a form of art in which the main means of creating an artistic image are dynamic movements and postures of the human body, poetically understood and organized in space and time. Dance is directly connected with music, forming a single musical and choreographic image with it. Musical and rhythmic expressive movements of the human body (supplemented by pantomime, special costumes and things) make it possible to reveal people’s characters, feelings and thoughts. The national character of the people, the spirit of the era is especially vividly embodied in the dance. A distinction is made between domestic (folk, ballroom) and stage dance. Classical dance, the system of which was developed in the 17th century, plays a major role in European art. in France. In the XVI-XVII centuries. first in Italy, and then in France, ballet is created on the basis of court dances.

Photo art, artistic photography – a type of fine art, the works of which are created by means of photography. It was formed at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, its main means of expression are the choice of angle, composition, emotional and meaningful use of photography. Photographic images of modern photo art have a special “coexistence”, they are perceived as objective evidence of life.

Film art is a type of art, the works of which are formed with the help of filming real, specially staged or reproduced events by means of animation. Cinematography belongs to the so-called “technical arts”. It arose on the basis of the invention in 1895-1896 of the cinematograph – a system of photographic recording of reality in its movement, which also allowed the reproduction and wide distribution of audiovisual information. Principal features of cinema: the democratization of language, the universality of influence on the spiritual world of a person, the enormous possibilities of transferring the viewer’s “I” beyond the boundaries of one’s own everyday life, the enjoyment of illusory participation in various events, the presence in the lives of other people.


Television is a means of mass communication and a screen spectacle close to cinema. It differs from cinema in the periodicity of communication with the audience, the privacy of the perception environment, the ability to inform about events directly, the possibility of simultaneously addressing millions of different viewers. As a means of mass communication, TO gravitates towards documentaryism, and as a screen spectacle – towards imagery, that is, towards art in its own sense. The cameraness of television allows for a more trusting relationship between the creator and the viewer. But, above all, television is a relay of real world events and works of other arts; thanks to TO, the highest achievements of world culture come to our home (although not only the highest). Television radically democratized and internationalized cultural life.

Variety and circus art is, first of all, entertaining in nature, but it can also express a significant social and political meaning (for example, satirical art, clowning). Estrada is a synthetic performance art that combines small forms of drama, comedy, music, as well as singing, artistic reading, etc. The specificity of the circus lies in the creation of artistic images with the help of movements, tricks, and acting. Demonstrating virtuoso-free mastery of difficult-to-master objects (animals, space, own body, etc.), the circus artist creates according to the law of eccentricity, revealing higher human possibilities. Mandatory actor of the circus is a clown – a comic mirror of time.

Each type of art contributes something special to the aesthetic exploration of the world. There are no main and secondary arts, but in one period or another, one of the types of art can acquire the greatest importance, which becomes the most massive and influential: for example, in the Renaissance – painting, today – television. A thorough review of art forms is presented in Yu. Borev’s work “Esthetics”, M., 2005.

The historical character of art finds its expression in the variety of artistic and stylistic forms. An artistic style is a historically determined stable visual system that expresses a certain vision of the world (mood), and a corresponding set of creative techniques for expressing content, inherent in a certain period and certain circumstances of the development of art. Style is a certain artistic experience of time.

The history of world art can be considered as the history of artistic styles. Styles of varying degrees of generality are distinguished: the style of a separate work, the individual style of the author, the styles of entire eras, the styles of certain directions, certain types of art (for example, architectural styles), etc. The change of some ways of artistic thinking by others, the change of forms, types of compositions, techniques of spatial constructions, peculiarities of color are interconnected and not accidental. Within the framework of one historical artistic style, a new one is always born, and that, in turn, passes into the next in accordance with the specific features of the historical era.