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Cultural Literacy: Fine Arts

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

Section: Fine Arts


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A small statue given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to winners of its annual awards.
(Pablo) Casals
A celebrated twentieth-century Spanish cellist. After Francisco Franco came to power in Spain, he went into exile in France and later moved to Puerto Rico. He gave a famous performance at the White House in 1961.
An interval between musical notes in which the higher note is six whole tones, or twelve half tones, above the lower. From the standpoint of physics, the higher note has twice the frequency of the lower.
The home of Thomas Jefferson, in central Virginia. The mansion, designed by JEfferson himself, is a notable example of the use of ancient forms, such as the dome, in the architecture of his time. It appears on the "tails" side of the nickel. Jefferson's head is on the front.
art for art's sake
A slogan meaning that the beauty of the fine arts is reason enough for pursuing them--that art does not have to serve purposes taken from politics, religion, economics, and so on. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, and Oscar Wilde argued for the doctrine.
(Bruce) Springstreen
An American rock singer and guitarist who first gained fame with his albums in the 1970s. His populist music and style strongly reflect working-class values, particularly in albums such as Born in the USA, released in the 1980s.
(Pieter) Brueghel the Elder
A sixteenth-century Flemish painter known for his paintings of village scenes and religious subjects.
Gilbert and Sullivan
Two Englishmen of the nineteenth century who wrote many witty operettas satirizing society of the Victorian period. One wrote the song lyrics and spoken dialougue, and the other wrote the music. Their works include H.M.S Pinafore, The Mikado, and The Pirates of Penzance.
(Giacomo) Puccini
An Italian composer of operas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is best known for Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, and Tosca.
Bolshoi Theater
A theater in Moscow known for its company of ballet dancers.
Auld Lang Syne
A traditional Scottish song, customarily sung on New Year's Eve; the title means "Time Long Past." The words, passed down orally, were recorded by the eighteenth century poet Robert Burns.
A picture or design made from small pieces of colored tile, glass, other material set in mortar. They have been widely used in Christian churches to decorate walls and ceilings.
(J.M.W.) Turner
An English romantic painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, known especially for his dramatic, lavishly colored landscapes and seascapes.
(Laurence) Olivier
An English actor, widely considered one of the best actors of the twentieth-century. He is best known for his deep, subtle interpretations of the characters of William Shakespeare. Several of his Shakespeare performances have been filmed. He won an Academy Award in the 1940s for his portrayal of the title character in a film version of Hamlet.
A musical composition for voice and instruments that includes choruses, solos, and recitatives.
A small ornamental structure rising from a roof. They are often dome shaped.
An artistic print made from metal plate on which an artist has cut a design with a graver or a small chisel.
(George) Gershwin
A twentieth-century American composer known for putting elements of Jazz into forms of classical music, such as the concerto. His works include Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and the music to the opera Porgy and Bess. Together with his brother, Ira, he wrote many musical comedies.
A musical direction meaning "to be performed very softly"; the opposite of fortissimo.
bass viol
The largest and lowest-pitched instrument of the strings, also called a bass fiddle or double bass. The player must stand or sit on a tall stool to play it.
(John Philip) Sousa
An American bandmaster and composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Called the "March King," he wrote marches such as "The Sars and Stripes Forever, "Semper Fidelis," and "The Washington Post."
A group of five musicians' also, a piece of music for five instruments or voices.
A direction in music meaning that the notes should be performed in an abrupt, sharp, clear-cut manner.
Te Deum
A hymn of praise to God, with words taken largely from the Bible, that is used by many groups of Christians. It has been set to music by George Frederick Handel and by many other composers for performance in worship services of thanksgiving. The Latin words mean "Thee, God, we praise."
(Gustav) Mahler
An Austrian composer and conductor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He wrote long, intensely emotional works for large orchestras, including nine symphonies and part of a tenth.
pop art
Arts that use elements of popular culture, such as magazines, movies, popular music, and even bottles and cans.
bass drum
The large drum with a cylindrical shape that gives the strong beat in brass bands.
brass band
A musical group composed of brass and percussion instruments. Sometimes clled marhing bands, brass bands often play at athletic events and military exercises and in parades.
Venus de Milo
An ancient Greek statue of Venus, famous for its beauty, though tis arms were broken off centuries ago. The statue is now in the Louvre.
An instrument in the violin family, known for its rich tone. Among the strings, it has the second-lowest range, higher only than the bass viol, and it has the lowest part in string quartets. Players hold the instrument between their knees to play it.
A style of baroque art and architecture popular in Europe during the eighteenth century, characterized by flowing lines and elaborate decoration.
(Bob) Dylan
A twentieth-century American folksinger and songwriter. His music, with its strong note of social protest, was especially popular during the 1960s, when he wrote songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," and "Like a Rolling Stone."
The most familar and highest pitched instrument of the strings. A typical symphony orchestra has more than two dozen of these.
(John) Constable
An English landscape painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, known for his pastoral scenes.
(Gilbert) Stuart
An eighteenth century American painter. He was especially known for his portraits, including those of George Washington.
(Louis) Armstrong
A twentieth-century African-American jazz trumpet player and singer. His nickname, "Satchmo," was short for "Satchel Mouth." His career spanned five decades and was celebrated for his trumpet solos and the gravelly voice in which he sang songs such as "Hello, Dolly" and "It's a Wonderful World."
(Franz) Liszt
A nineteenth-century Hungarian composer and pianist known for his often fierty style of composition and performance His Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano are particularly well remembered.
(Josephine) Baker
A twentieth-century African-American actress, dancer, singer, and civil rights activist. She gained her international reputation first in Europe. After World War II she was decorated by the French government for her work in the Resistance, and at her death she was given a state funeral as a war hero.
The lowest range of the female singing voice, also called contralto.
A work of art depicting Mary, the Mother of Jesus, especially one that shows her holding the infant Jesus; also a term for Mary herself. It's Italian for "my lady."
Star Wars
A series of popular science fiction motion pictures created by George Lucas. The first trilogy debuted in 1977 with A New Hope. The Empire Strieks Back and The Return of the Jedi followed in the 1980s. Prequels, Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, were recently released. The films are noted for combining classic themes of good versus evil with cutting-edge special effects.
A kind of jazz that evolved from the music of African-Americans, especially work songs and spirituals, in the early twentieth century. They often express worry or depression.
(Norman) Rockwell
A twentieth-century American artist and illustrator, known for his warm-hearted paintings of rural and small-town life in the united States. Many of his paintings appeared cover illustrations for the magazine The Saturday Evening Post.
Monty Python
An Anglo-American comedy troupe that became widely known in the late 1960s and 1970s for its irreverent, fast-paced television series. The show featured skits, such as the "Ministry of Silly Walks," and highly original graphics, The members of the group included Graham Chapin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.
The highest range of the male singing voice.
Comic or lighthearted operas of the kind written by Gilbert and Sullivan. They generally have a substantial amount of spoken (not sung) dialougue.
(Frederic) Chopin
A nineteenth-century Polish romantic composer who spent most of his career in France. He is known for his expressive piano pieces; he composed almost exclusively for that instrument.
A group of instruments with a softer tone than that of brass instruments. Players do not set the air in their instruments in motion by blowing through their closed lips against a cup-shaped mouthpiece, as players of brass instruments do. The players insert the mouthpiece into their mouths and blow while pressing their lips against a single or double reed. Bassoons, clarinets, oboes and saxophones are played in this way.
(Steven) Spielberg
A twentieth-century American filmmaker. His popular, widely seen works range from E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark to Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan.
A piece of music for one voice (or occasionally two voices) in an opera, oratorio, or cantata. In contrast with recitative singing, they are melodios; in contrast with ordinary songs, they are usually more elaborate.
Theatrical entertainment in which dancers, usually accompanied by music, tell a story or xpress a mood through their movements. The technique is elaborate and requires many years of training. Two classical ones are Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Two great modern ballets are The Rite of Spring, composed by Igor Stravinsky, and Fancy Free, by Leonard Bernstein.
A group of huge monuments in the desert of Egypt, built as a burial vaults for ancient Egyptian kings. The age of building this object in Egypt began about 2700 B.C.
One of the best-known songs of George Gershwin; it comes from the opera Porgy and Bess.
(Jack) Benny
A twentieth-century American comedian best known for his weekly radio and television programs. He was admired for his sense of timing and for his deliberately slow delivery. His shows contained many "running gags"--jokes continuing from one show to another--often concerning his age, his stinginess, and his inability to play the violin.
Barrymore family
A family of American actors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The most famous of them were John and Lionel and their sister, Ethel, all of whom appeared frequently on the stage and in films. The dashing-looking John was known as the "Great Profile." His granddaughter Drew continued the acting tradition into the twenty-first century.
Madame Butterfly
An opera by Giacomo Puccini. The title character, a Japanese woman, is betrothed to an American naval officer stationed in Japan. He leaves for the United States, promising to return, but comes back three years later married to an American woman. Disgraced, the woman kills herself. The officer begs her forgiveness and she dies in his arms.
Hallelujah Chorus
The most famous movement of the oratorio Messiah, by George Frederick Handel, often sung at Christmas.
A group of four musicians or singers; also, a piece of music for four instruments or voices.
(James) Whistler
A nineteenth-century American artist who spent most of his career in England and France. He is best known for the painting of his mother.
wind instruments
Musical instruments in which sound is produced by the musician's blowing into them.
Ring of the Nibelung
A series of four operas by Richard Wagner, based on stories from Norse mythology; the central story is that of Siegfried and Brunnhilde. As it ends, the gods are about to be overcome. The four operas of it are The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried, and The Twilight of the Gods.
(Johann) Strauss
An Austrian composer of the nineteenth century. He was sometimes called the "Waltz King" and is the most famous composer of Viennese waltzes, such as "The Blue Danube" and "Tales of the Vienna Woods." He also composed the music for the popular light opera Die Fledermaus (The Bat).
chamber music
Music for two or more instruments in which only one musician plays each part. Chamber music is distinguished from music for orchestra, in which, for example, more than a dozen violinists may be playing the same notes. The most familiar kind is the string quartet.
Brooklyn Bridge
A suspension bridge built between Manhattan and Brooklyn in the late nineteenth century; Manhattan and Brooklyn are today two boroughs of New York City. At the time of its completion it was the world's longest suspension bridge.
One of the three main styles of Greek architecture. The column is heavy and fluted; its capital is plan.
The second largest and second lowest pitched of the woodwinds. It is played with a double reed.
An open square, especially in a city or town in Italy.
(Elizabeth) Taylor
A British-born twentieth-century actress who ecame a child star with her appearance in National Velvet. She has starred in numerous films, including A Place in the Sun, the epic Cleopatra, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, an adaptation of Edward Albee's drama.
(Museo del) Prado
A famous art museum in Madrid, Spain. It is particularly noted for its works by Goya, El Greco, and Velazquez.
(Mary) Cassatt
An American painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She spent most of her artistic career in France, in close association with the impressionists, particularly Edgar Degas. She is best known for her pictures of mothers and children.
Yankee Doodle
A popular American song, dating from the eighteenth century. It was sung in the Revolutionary War by the British troops to poke fun at the strange ways of the Americans.
(Sandro) Botticelli
An Italian painter of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. His best-known work is The Birth of Venus.
(Duke) Ellington
A twentieth-century African American Jazz composer, songwriter, and bandleader; his real first name was Edwart. His most popular songs include "Mood Indigo," "Satin Doll," "Sophisticated Lady," and "Don' Get Around Much Anymore."
(Hieronymus) Bosch
A Dutch painter of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. His allegorical religious works include his masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights, in which grotesque, fantastical creatures mingle with human figures. His work is often considered a forerunner of surrealism.
A drum consisting of a skin stretched over a large shell in the shape of a half-sphere. The pitch of one can be changed by manipulating screws at the edge of the skins or pedals at the bottom of the drum. They are usualy used in classical music in sets of two or more and are known by their Italian name, timpani.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
An art museum in New York City. One of the leading art museums in the world, it is known for its extensive collections ranging from Egyptian temples to twentieth-century masterpieces.
A section of the orchestra containing musical instruments that play by making stretched strings vibrate. In most stringed instruments, the musician draws a bow over the strings; violins, violas, cellos, and brass viols are played in this way. Others include banjo, guitar, harp, harpsichord, and ukulele.
The Birth of Venus
A painting by Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the birth of the goddess Venus, also known as Aphrodite, from the foam of the sea. The painting is often referred to humorously as "Venus on the half-shell."
A small guitar, developed in Hawaii, with four strings.
(Grandma) Moses
A twentieth-century American artist who painted scenes of farm life; her style, which seems childlike, is a noted example of primitivism. She began to paint in her late seventies, when she was too old for farm work.
An Italian painter, sculptor, and architect of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Among many achievements in a life of naerly ninety years, he sculpted the David and several versions of the Pieta, painted the ceiling and rear wall of the Sistine Chapel, and served as one of the architects of Saint Peter's Basilica, designing its famous dome. He is considered one of the greatest artists of all time.
A musical direction meaning "to be performed loudly"; the opposite of piano.
Don Giovanni
An opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, recounting the dissolute life of Don Juan. At the end, a statue of a man Don Giovanni has killed comes to life and drags the unscrupulous seducer into the burning pit of hell.
A sensual ballroom dance that originated in South America in the early twentieth century.
(Henri) Matisse
A French painter and sculptor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is known for his brilliant colors and bolt brush strokes and had a major influence on modern art.
(Isaac) Stern
A celebrated twentieth-century American violinist. He is known for his work to save Carnegie Hall from destruction, as well as for his musical performances.
(Andy) Warhol
A twentieth-century American artist whose best-known work was a precise, enlarged image of a can of Campbell's tomato soup. He also painted Coke bottles, Brillo pads, and rows of images of Marilyn Monroe.
An extended musical composition for orchestra in several movements, usually four. Among the composers especially known for theirs are Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Franz Josef Haydn, Gustav Mahler, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Another name for the violin; it is the more common term for the instrument as played in folk music and bluegrass.
(Claude) Monet
A French impressionist painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is known for his feathery brush strokes and for the play of light in his paintings. His painting Impression, Sunrise gave the name to the impressionist movement.
(Leonardo) da Vinci
A Italian artist, scientist, and inventor of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. His wide range of interests and abilities makes him a grand example of a "Renaissance man." He painted the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. His drawings include brilliant studies of the human body and of natural objects. Some of his sketches anticipate modern inventions such as the airplane and the tank.
A period in the arts, visual and musical, from about 1600 to about 1750, marked by elaborate ornamentation and efforts to create dramatic effects. Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi were great composers of the era.
A stick used by some conductors of choruses and orchestras. It is traditionally used to indicate the tempo of the music.
Great Wall of China
A stone wall extending for fifteen hundred miles across northern China. Built to defend the CHiense border in ancient times, it has become a favorite destination for visitors to the country.
(Luciano) Pavarotti
A twentieth-century Italian tenor who made his operatic debut in La Boheme in 1961. He has sung worldwide in various operas and concert performances, including those featuring "The Three Tenors"--Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, and Placido Domingo.
Palace of Versailles
A large royal residence built in the seventeenth century by King Louis XIV of France, near Paris. The palace, with its lavishgardens and fountains, is a spectacular example of French classical architecture. The Hall of Mirrors is particularly well known. The peace treaty that formally ended World War I was negotiated and signed here as well.
A kind of jazz generally played by a "Big Band" and characterized by a lively rhythm suitable for dancing. The bands of Count asie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller played this style.
My Fair Lady
An American musical comedy of 1956, with words by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. It is based on the play Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, about a professor in London who teaches a low-born flower girl how to speak and act like the nobility. The songs "On the Street Where You Live" and "I Could Have Danced all Night" come from the musical.
A church building in which a Christian bishop has his official seat. It is Latin for "chair." They are usually large and imposing, and many have been important in the development of architecture. The building of one, especially in the middle ages, was a project in which the entire town took part.
A movement, particularly in architecture that reacted against the pared-down modern school by reintroducing classical and traditional elements of style. An example of this style is Philip Jonson's AT&T Building in New York City.
A musical direction meaning "to be played very loudly"; the opposite of pianissimo.
(Georges) Bizet
A French composer of the nineteenth century, best known for his opera Carmen.
(Sarah) Bernhardt
A French actress of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A brilliant performer, she was considered the queen of French tragedy.
(Chuck) Berry
An African-American rock 'n' roll musician and composer, who influenced many musicians of the 1950s and 1960s, including the Beatles and Bob Dyan.
The Magic Flute
An opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A prince receives the title object from the Queen of the Night and sets out to rescue the queen's daughter from an Egyptian priest. He succeeds and the two are married. Both Mozart and the author of the lyrics were Freemasons; their opera sets forth the ideals of this group.
The main or central note of a piece of music. Each one has its own scale, beginning and ending on the note that defines the octave of the next scale. The one of C-major uses a scale that starts on C and uses only the white keys on the piano. In a piece composed in C, the music is likely to end on the note C, and certain combinations of notes based on C will predominate.
(Arturo) Toscanini
A celebrated Italian conductor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He spent much of his career in the United States. In his later years, he conducted the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Symphony Orchestra, which was organized for him.
Metropolitan Opera
The most prominent opera company in the United States, often called "the Met." It is based in New York City.
(Giuseppe) Verdi
A nineteenth-century italian composer, a master of Italian grand opera. among his best-known operas are Aida, Otello, Rigoletto, and La Traviata.
A painting on wet plaster. When the plaster dries, the painting is bonded to the wall. It was a popular method for painting large murals during the Renaissance. The Last Supper, by Leonardo Da Vinci, is an example.
A large, round metal plate used as a percussion instrument. The ycan be crashed together in pairs or struck singly with a drumstick, and they are used in dance bands, jazz bands, and orchestras.
(P.T.) Barnum
A nineteenth-century American showman known for his circus, "The Greatest Show on Earth." His sideshows were particularly notable, even though many of the "freaks" he advertised were hoaxes." AFter Barnum's death, his circus was absorbed into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
El Greco
A Greek painter of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries who spent most of his career in spain. He is famous for his paintings of religious subjects and for his distorted, elongated figures. His name is Spanish for "The Greek."
The lowest range of the female singing voice; A.k.a Alto.
A piece of music for instruments alone, written as an introduction to a longer work, such as an opera, an oratorio, or a musical comedy.
A simple narrative song, or, alternatively, a narrative poem suitable for singing.
snare drum
A shallow cylindrical drum, with wires or pieces of catgut stretched across the bottom skin to give a sharp, rattling sound when the top skin is truck. They are used in orchestras and in nearly all kinds of bands.
Lincoln Memorial
A massive monument built in Washington, D.C., in honor of Abraham Lincoln. The memorial contains a statue of Lincoln seated and stone engravings of his second inaugural address and Gettysburg address.
(Marc) Chagall
A Russian-born twentieth-century artist whose vivid, playful works incorporate dreamlike images. He is also known for his stained-glass panels in Jerusalem and his murals at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
A large Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church building. It is build with several parallel aisles separated by rows of columns, ending in a semicircular structure, the apse. Saint Peter's is the church of th Vatican in Rome.
A movement in modern art that emphasized the geometrical depiction of natural forms. Pablo Picasso was a leading one.
A form of pop music that originated in Jamaica, combining elements of calypso and rhythm and blues with a strongly accentuated offbeat. Bob Marley was the first internationally known musician of the style.
The sounding of two or more musical notes at the same time in a way that is pleasant or desired.
(W.C.) Fields
A twentieth-century American film comedian noted for his comic timing and drawling speech. He frequently played a cynical swindler. His films include The Bank Dick, NEver Give a Sucker an Even Break, and My Little Chickadee, in which he played opposite Mae West.
(Willem) de Kooning
A Dutch-born twentieth-century American artist who was a leader of Abstract Expressionism. His monumental, highly colored, often violent works include Woman, a series of paintings done in the early 1950s.
Camptown Races
A song by Stephen Foster that begins: Camptown ladies sing dis song, Doodah! doodah! Camptown racetrack five miles long, Oh! doodah day!
The Barber of Seville
An opera by Gioacchino Rossini. The title character is Figaro, a master schemer. By his trickery, he helps his former master, a nobleman, win the hand of a beautiful woman.
The lowest-pitched of the brass instruments. In orchestras, it is usually held across the player's lap. In marching bands, the sousaphone is generally used.
classical music
A loose expression for European and American music of the more serious kind, as opposed to popular or folk music.
Porgy and Bess
An opera with music by George Gershwin. It depicts life in the African-American community of Charleston, south Carolina. One of the title characters is a handicapped beggar who protects the other title character, only to have her leave town with a rival.
(Felix) Mendelssohn
A nineteenth-century German composer and performer. Besides symphonies, overtures, and concertos, he composed oratorios, notably Elijah, and the incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
John Brown's Body
A song of the Civil War that pays tribute to the abolitionist of the same name. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was written to the tune of the song.
(Henry) Moore
A twentieth-century English scluptor. He is known for using great masses of stone and other materials to depict humanlike forms.
Vietnam Memorial
A monument in Washington, D.C., in honor of individuals in the American armed services who died in the Vietnam War. The memorial is a large black marble wall set below ground level on a flat part of the Washington Mall. The names fo the dead are inscribed in the wall.
A sixteenth-century Italian painter known for his portraits and for his innovative use of color.
An ending to a piece of music, standing outside the formal structure of the piece. It is Italian for "tail."
(George Frederick) Handel
An eighteenth-century German-born composer, who spent most of his career in England. He was one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era and is known for Messiah and other oratorios, for his concertos, and for his Water Music.
Swan Lake
A ballet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, in which a prince fights for the love of the Swan Queen. It is one of the most famous ballets.
National Gallery of Art
A noted art museum in Washington, D.C. The federal government pays for the operations of the buildings. The buildings themselves, and the works of art inside, were supplied by private donors.
(Le) Corbusier
A twentieth-century French architect and city planner known for designing buildings with unusual curves and unconventional shapes.
Hagia Sophia
A magnificent cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey. Once the central church building of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is now a museum. It has an enormous, magnificent dome, and the inside walls are decorated with mosaics. It means "Holy Wisdom," an Eastern Orthodox title for Jesus.
In music, a musical setting for the texts used in the Christian Church for sacrament of communion. Most have been written for use in the Roman Catholic Church. Many composers have written them; among them are Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Bernstein, and Ellington.
White House
The mansion of the president of the United States in Washington, D.C. It contains reception and dining rooms, living quarters for the president and family, the president's oval office, and offices for the presidential staff.
(Bob) Hope
A British-born twentieth-century American comedian. He is known for his work in films, especially a series of seven "Road" pictures, including The Road to Zanzibar and The Road to Morocco. His co-stars in all these films were Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. He is also famous as a tireless entertainer of American service personnel overseas.
In music, the sequence of tones that a piece of music principally uses. A composition in the key of C-major uses the C-major one, made up of the white keys on a piano.
(Paul) Klee
A Swiss artist who painted mainly in the twentieth century. Hes is known for his whimsical, small-scale works that display a mastery of line, form, and subtle colors.
Blue-Tail Fly
A popular nineteenth-century American song; the speaker in the song is an African-American slave. Its refrain is: "Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care; / My master's gone away."
An American song of the nineteenth century. It was used to build enthusiasm for South during the Civil War and still is treated this way in the southern states. It was written for use in the theater by a northerner, Daniel Decatur Emmett.
(Benny) Goodman
A twentieth-century American jazz clarinetist and bandleader. He was known as the "King of Swing."
(Elvis) Presley
A twentieth-century American rock 'n' roll singer, known for his distinctive throaty tone in songs such as "Hound Dog" and "All Shook Up." He was one of the first stars of rock 'n' roll.
A brisk, lively musical tempo. It is Italian for "cheerful."
The Mikado
A comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, about the efforts of a Japanese prince to win the hand of the national executioner's daughter. MEmorable songs include "Three Little Maids from School" and "Tit Willow."
(Marlon) Brando
A twentieth century American actor. He first gained fame on Broadway in 1947 in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. He transfered his brooding portrayal of Stanley Kowalski to film in 1951 and thereafter concentrated on making motion pictures, including On the Waterfront, The Godfather, and the controversial Last Tango in Paris.
(Franz) Schubert
A nineteenth-century Austrian composer. Like Ludwig van Beethoven, he composed during the transition from classic to romantic period in music. He is known especially for his song cycles (leider), usually written for solo voice and piano accompaniment. His best known instrumental works are the "Unfinished" symphony and the "Trout" quintet.
(Humphrey) Bogart
A twentieth-century American actor, best known for his film portrayals of hard-boiled characters. Sam Spade in the Maltese Falton and Rick Blaine in Casablanca are two of his most famous roles.
Sistine Chapel
A chapel adjoining Saint Peter's Basilica, noted for the frescoes of biblical subjects painted by Michelangelo on its walls and ceilings. The Creation is one of the notable subjects of the ceiling paintings, and the judgment day is depicted on the rear wall of the chapel.
(Ingmar) Bergman
A twentieth-century Swedish filmmaker noted for his slow-paced, highly symbolic, often obscure works, including Wild Strawberries and The Virgin Spring. His later films explored personal isolation and family relationships, as in Cries and Whispers and Scenes from a Marriage.
A small flute with a high, piercing tone, used mainly in military bands.
(Tom) Stoppard
A twentieth-century British playwright who was born in Czechoslovakia. He first achieved acclaim with his Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead, which featured Hamlet's "attendant lords," hilariously alone and adrift on an unknown stage. His other works include Jumpers and Travesties.
A style of early jazz music written largely for the piano in the early twentieth century, characterized by jaunty rhythms and a whimsical mood. Scott Joplin was a famous composer and performer of the genre.
(Salvador) Dali
A twentieth-century Spanish surrealist painter. Many of his landscapes are decorated with melting clocks.
Big Ben
The popular name for the huge clock mounted in a tower near the meeting place of the British Parliament in London. It strikes the quarter-hour with the familiar Westminster chimes.
(Richard) Rodgers
A twentieth-century American popular composer. He is known for writing th music to a long succession of Musical comedies, including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. In all these musicals, the spoken dialougue and lyrics were written by Oscar Hammerstein II.
Adeste Fideles
The Latin version of "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
Carnegie Hall
A concert hall, world famous for its acoustics, in New York City
An artistic print made from a pace on which the artist has etched a design with acid.
Liberty Bell
A relic and symbol of the Revolutionary War. It was first cast in England in the 1750s and is inscribed with words from the Bible: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." The bell was hung in Independence Hall in Philadel[phia, and was rng at the proclmation of the Declaration of Independence. It cracked while being tolled for the death in 1835 of Chief Justice John Marshall and was taken out of service.
A piece of instrumental music written for one or ore soloists and an orchestra.
A stringed keyboard much used in the baroque era music. The keys of one move small devices that pluck the strings; the strings are not struck with hammers, as in a piano. Thus, although they often look like pianos, their characteristic tinkly sound is unlike that of the piano, and one cannot change the volume of the sound by striking the keys harder, as a pianist can.
Empire State Building
An office building in New York City, over one thousand feet high. Opened in the 1930s, it was for many years the tallest skyscraper in the world.
French horn
A mellow-sounding brass instrument, pitched lower than a trumpet and higher than a tuba.
(Alfred) Hitchcock
A twentiethh-century English-born filmmaker who specialized in suspense. Some of his best-known films are The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest, and Psycho.
A tower with several different stories, each of which has its own roof. They are common in eastern Asia and originally served religious purposes as memorials or shrines.
Academy Awards
Prizes given annually in hollywod by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in film performance and production. The symbol of the award is a small statue called an Oscar. The academy/s top awards are for best picture, best director, best actor and actress, and best supporting actor and actress.
In art, making one composition by combining parts or the whole of other pictures, objects, or designs. In film, a stylized form of editing that provides a great deal of information in a short time. For example, the passing of years may be rendered by mixing shots of different seasons with shots of calendar pages turning.
(Johann Sebastian) Bach
An eighteenth-century German composer, organist, and choirmaster, commonly considered the greatest composer of the baroque era. His output was enormous and includes cantatas, concertos, oratorios, organ pieces, sonatas for solo instruments, and suites for both solo instruments and orchestra; all of it is marked by elaborate counterpoint. Some of his best-known works are the six Brandenburg Concertoes; the Toccata and Fugue in D-minor for organ; and an arrangement of a hymn, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," for chorus and orchestra.
Ninth Symphony
one of the great achievements of European music, it was Ludwig van Beethoven's last symphony; known as the "Choral" Symphony. Its finale is a musical setting of Friedrich von Schiller's "Ode to Joy," a hymn to the unity and freedom of humanity.
(Scott) Joplin
An African-American ragtime pianist and composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer" are two of his best-known works.
A musical comedy by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It began a new era of sophistication in musical comedy and was the first of several very successful Rodgers and Hammerstein shows.
(John James) Audobon
A nineteenth-century American artist and naturalist. The color illustrations that make up The Birds of America are his best works.
An opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The title character is an Ethiopian princess who loves an Egyptian warrior, Remades. He accidentally reveals Egyptian military secrets to her and is condemned to death by live burial in a tomb. The princess flees but rejoins Ramades to die with him.
America the Beautiful
An American patriotic hymn from the nineteenth century. It begins, "O Beautiful for spacious skies."
(Robert) Schumann
A nineteenth-century German romantic composer. His best-remembered compositions are his piano pieces, including "Traumerei" and "The Happy Farmer," and his songs.
The Nutcracker
A ballet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, dramatizing a children's story of Christmas. It is frequently presented during Christmas.
Beale Street
A street in an African-American section of Memphis, Tennessee, famous for its blues music.
An Italian painter and architect of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Art in Italy before the time of him was heavily influenced by the art of the Byzantine Empire and was highly stylized; it resembled the icons in Byzantine Churches. He was the first painter to abandon Byzantine ways and begin to depict more lifelike expressions and figures.
(Woody) Guthrie
A twentieth-century American songwriter and folksinger. He flourished in the 1930s, writing numerous songs about social injustice and the hardships of the Great Depression years. Two of his best-remembered songs are "This Land is Your Land" and "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh."
United States Capitol
The large domed building in Washington, D.C., in which the United States Congress mets.
Peter and the Wolf
A piece for orchestra by a twentieth-century Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev. Through music, it tells the story of a disobedient boy's encounter with a wolf.
(Charlie) Chaplin
A twentieth-century English-born filmmaker and actor who did most of his work in the United States. In his silent film comedies, he created the beloved character the Little Tramp, who wore a shabby black suit, derby hat, and floppy shoes and walked with a cane. The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Modern Times are some of his best known films.
A fast-paced dance with elaborate arm movements, that became a craze in the United States during the 1920s.
Eiffel Tower
An iron structure that dominates the skyline of Paris. When it was built in the nineteenth century, it was the tallest freestanding structure in the world.
A musical direction used to indicate increasing loudness.
A great cathedral in France built mostly in the thirteenth century. It is considered one of the finet examples of Gothic architecture. The stained-glass windows, in which blue glass predominates, are especially impressive.
A style of painting associated mainly with French artists of the late nineteenth century, such as Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-August Renoir. It seeks to re-create the artist's or viewer's general impression of a scene. It is characterized by indistinct outlines and by small brushstrokes of different colors, which the eye blends at a distance. Soft, pastel colors appear frequently in the paintings.
(Glenn) Miller
A twentieth-century American composer and bandleader. His band was noted for its smooth but sophisticated performances of dance numbers such as "In the Mood" and "Moonlight Serenade."
Light theatrical entertainment, popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, consisting of a succession of short acts. A show usually included comedians, singers, dancers, jugglers, trained animals, magicians, and the like.
(Pierre-Auguste) Renoir
A French impressionist painter and sculptor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the most popular of the impressinoists, he is known for his extravagant use of light and color, especially red, and for frequent use of the impressionist technique of small brushstrokes. His most famous paintings include Dance at Bouvgival and the series The Bathers.
(Paul) Cezanne
A nineteenth-century French painter. He was an impressionist early in his career and was a leading figure in the movement toward abstract art.
(Edward) Hopper
A twentieth-century American artist whose stark, precisely realistic paintings often convey a mood of solitude and isolation within common-place urban settings. Among his best-known forks are Early Sunday Morning and Nighthawks.
(Pablo) Picasso
A twentieth-century Spanish-born painter, the most famous and influential of all modern artists. He was one of the originators of cubism, though in the course of his long career, he painted, drew, and sculpted in many other styles as well. Among his best-known works is the painting Guernica, which protests the savagery of war.
(Woody) Allen
A twentieth-century American comic author. Since the late 1960s, he has been directing films and acting in them, usually playing a neurotic, bookish New Yorker. Some of his best-known films are Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Hannah and Her Sisters.
The "beat" of music; the regular pattern of long and short notes. Certain kinds of music, such as blues or marches, has a very characteristic one.
A group of related pieces of music or movements played in sequence. In the baroque era, it was a succession of different kinds of dances. In more recent times, they have contained excerpts from longer works, such as ballets, or have simply portrayed a scene, as in Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite.
(Jimi) Hendrix
A twentieth-century American musician known for his highly amplified, innovative work on the electric guitar with his most famous group, 'The ___ ___ Experience'. Despite his death at the age of twenty-seven, he greatly influenced the changing world of rock 'n' roll, and was known for lighting his Fender Stratocaster on fire, as well as his amazing rendition of 'The Star Spangled Banner' on electric guitar, which was performed at the famous Woodstock festival.
Musical instruments traditionally made of brass and played by blowing directly into small, cup-shaped mouthpiece. They include the French horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba.
A large marble statue made by Michelangelo of the biblical king of the same name. Michelangelo porrays him as a youth just about to do battle with the giant Goliath.
(Franz Josef) Haydn
An eighteenth-century Austrian composer, one of the great composers of the classic era. He is credited with establishing the symphony as a musical form. Of his more than one hundred symphonies, Surprise Symphony and Clock Symphony are especially well known.
(Georgia) O'Keeffe
A twentieth-century American painter. Her paintings were highly symbolic; flowers and desert scenes were among her favorite subjects.
(Antonio) Vivaldi
An Italian composer of the early eighteenth century, known particuarly for his concertoes. His style affected those of several other baroque composers, notably Johann Sebastian Bach.
Star Trek
A television series of the 1960s, and later a series of successful films, in which a group of space explorers in their raft, the Enterprise, traveled through interstellar space. The original programs spawned a number of television series during the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century.
(Leonard) Bernstein
A twentieth-century American composer and conductor. He served for many years as the director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra but is probably best known for his Broadway productions, such as West Side Story.
(Peter Paul) Rubens
A seventeenth-century Flemish painter known for his paintings of religious subjects and for his voluptuous female nudes.
abstract art
A trend in painting and sculpture in the twentieth century. It seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images.
American Gothic
A painting by the twentieth-century American artist Grant Wood. It shows a gaunt farmer and a woman standing in front of a farmhouse; the man holds a pitchfork, and both wear severe expressions.
(Christopher) Wren
An English architect of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He designed many buildings in London for the large rebuilding effort that followed the city's "Great Fire" of 1666. Saint Paul's Cathedral is his best-known work.
(Paul) Gauguin
A nineteenth-century French painter best known for his use of color and his paintings of Polynesian women. He abandoned his business career, family, and country to live and paint in Tahiti.
(Walt) Disney
A twentieth-century American film-maker and showman His studios are especially known for meticulous craftmanship in animated films. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty are some of his best-known productions. Two giant amusement parks are based on his characters and concepts.
A high-pitched woodwind, held horizontally by the player and played by blowing across a hole.
A kind of carving or sculpture in which the figures are raised a few inches from a flat background to five a three-dimensional effect. The term is French for low-relief.
A stringed instrument usually played by strumming of plucking. They are widely used in folk music and, often amplified electronically, in country and western music and rock 'n' roll.
A woodwind instrument, usually made of black wood or plastic, and played with a single reed. It has extensive use in dixieland, jazz, and military music, as well as in classical music. The most famous American one was Benny Goodman.
Taj Mahal
A marble mausoleum in India, built in the seventeenth century by a king for his wife. It usually apears on the lists of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
(Andrea) Palladio
A sixteenth-century Italian architect. In works such as San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice and the Villa Rotonda in Vicenza, he incorporated elements of classical Roman architecture and broke sharply with the ornate Renaissance style. His treatise Four Book of Architecture was especially influential to the designs of Christopher Wren in England.
(Irving) Berlin
A twentieth-century American writer of popular songs (words and music). His songs include "God Bless America," "White Christmas," and "There's no Business like Show Business."
(Marilyn) Monroe
A twentieth-century actress who became the leading sex symbol of the 1950s. While still in her thirties, she died of an overdose of sleeping pills. Among her best-known films are The Seven-Year Itch, Bus Stop, and Some Like it Hot.
Ol' Man River
A song from the musical Show Boat; the river is the Mississippi River. The music to it is by Jerome Kern and the words by Oscar Hammerstein II; it was memorably sung by Paul Robeson.
In music, the speec at which a piece if performed. It is the Italian word for "time."
(Cole) Porter
A twentieth-century American songwriter. His songs, such as "Anything Goes," "I Get a Kick out of You" and "I've Got You Under my Skin," are renowned for their witty, sophisticated lyrics.
King Kong
one of hte most famous of movie monsters, a giant ape who terrorizes New York City. It was first filmed in the 1930s.
(Claude) Debussy
A French composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, known for his free rhythms and indefinite keys. His music is often compared to the paintings of the impressionists. The piano piece "Claire de lune" ("Moonlight") and the orchestra piece La Mer (The Sea) are two of his best-known works.
An artistic style that departs from the conventions of realism and naturalism and seeks to convey inner experience by distorting rather than directly representing natural images. The highly personal visions communicated in the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh are early examples of the style. Edvard Munch and Georges Rouault are considered painters of the style.
(Ludwig van) Beethoven
A German composer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, whose works spanned in the classical and romantic musical traditions. Considered one of the greatest composers of all times, he is particularly well-known for his Moonlight Sonata and other sonatas for piano; for his string quartets; for his concertos; and for his nine symphonies. The Third Symphony, (Eroica), Fifth Symphony, and the Ninth Symphony ("Choral") are the most famous. He began to grow deaf midway through his career but continued to composer great works.
In ballet, a female dancer.
Whistler's Mother
The popular title of a painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black Number 1, by James Whistler, which depicts his mother in profile, dressed in black, and seated on a straight chair.
A sculpture depicting grotesque human shapes or evil spirits used in many buildings of the Middle Ages, most notably on Gothic Cathedrals. Some drained rainwater, sending it clear of the walls of the building.
A small, high-pitched flute.
A film and later a television series about the staff of a battlefield hospital during the Korean War; it is an acronym for "mobile army surgical hospital." The film and the television program offered humor and serious observations about politics, love, friendship, and war.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
A dramatically leaning tower in Italy, built as a bell tower for the cathedral of the city; the tower dates from the twelfth century. Soon after its construction, the foundation sank, causing it to lean. Closed to the public in 1990, the tower was reopened in the early twenti-first century after engineers reduced the rate of inclination by about sixteen inches.
Notre Dame (de Paris)
A large cathedral in Paris, France. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Gothic architecture. It is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus; it is French for "Our Lady."
A brass instrument with a brilliant tone, much used in classical music, as well as in military music and jazz.
in music, a Mass for one or more dead persons, containing biblical passages and prayers for the admission of the dead to heaven. The term has been loosely applied to other musical compositions to honor the dead. A German ______ by Johannes Brahms, for example, uses texts from the Bible but is not a Mass.
(Orson) Welles
A twentieth-century American actor and filmmaker. His masterpiece is Citizen Kane, the story of a newspaper tycoon, which he directed and played the title role.
(D.W.) Griffith
An innovative American filmmaker of the early twentieth century. He is famous for his epic silent films, such as The Birth of a Nation, which required huge casts and enormous sets.
(Stephen) Foster
A nineteenth-century American songwriter. He wrote the words and music to some of the country's perennially favorite songs, including "Oh! Susanna," "The Old Folks at Home," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," and "Beautiful Dreamer."
(Henri de) Toulouse-Lautrec
A French artist of the late nineteenth and eartly twentieth centuries, known especially for his paintings, drawings, and posters that depict the night life of Montmartre, the district in Paris where he lived.
In music, the sound of three or more notes played at the same time. The history of Western music is marked by an increase in complexity of chords composers use.
(Edgar) Degas
A nineteenth-century French painter and sculptor. Among his preferred subjects were ballet dancers and scenes of cafe life.
A group of musicians who play together on a variety of instruments, which usually come from all four instrument families--brass, percussion, strings, and woodwinds. A typical symphony one is made up of more than ninety musicians. Most, unlike chamber music groups, have more than one musician playing each musical part.
(Aaron) Copland
A twentieth-century composer noted for the American settings of many of his pieces. some of his best-known works are the ballets Appalachain Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo; hehas also written chamber music, symphonies, and music for films.
An American pop singer known for her many incarnations, ranging from an early "Material Girl" to a movie star (Evita) to a mother and wife. Many consider her a promotional genius for her ability to reinvent herself.
A play or film that contains musical numbers They can be comedic or serious in tone, such as Porgy and Bess.
(Vaslav) Nijinsky
A Russian ballet dancer, widely considered to have been one of the best male dancers of the twentieth century.
An art museum in Paris, formerly a royal palace. The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Whistler's Mother and thousands of other works of art are exhibited there.
In drawing or painting, a way of portraying three dimensions on a flat, two-dimensional surface by suggesting depth or distance.
(Vincent) van Gogh
A nineteenth-century Dutch painter. A troubled genius who cut off one of his ears in a fit of depression eventually committed suicide. His work, though virtually unknown in his lifetime, is now highly regarded. Starry Night and Sunflowers are two of his best-known paintings.
(Andrew) Wyeth
A twentieth-century American painter, best known for his work Christina's World.
A descriptive term for a stereotypical way of life for artists adn intellectuals. According to the stereotype, they live in material poverty because they prefer their art or their learning to lesser goods; they are also unconventional in habits and dress; and sometimes morals.
(George M.) Cohan
An American songwriter and entertainer of the early twentieth century, known for such rousing songs as "Over There," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and "You're a Grand Old Flag."
(Bill) Cosby
A twentieth-century American comedian, actor, and producer. He is best known for his stand-up routines, including "Fat Albert," which later became an animated cartoon, and for his ground-breaking television series I Spy and The Cosby Show.
A very slow musical tempo.
A movement in literature, music, and painting the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Is has often been called a rebellion against an overemphasis on reason in the arts. It stressed the essential goodness of human beings, celebrated nature rather than civilization, and valued emotion and imagination over reason. Some major figures of romanticism in the fine arts are the composers Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms, and the painter Joseph Turner.
One of the most popular of operas, composed by Georges Bizet, and first produced in the late nineteenth century. The title character is known for manipulating men. One of her victims, a Spanish soldier, arranges for her to escape from jail, but she later abandons him for a bullfighter, and he stabs her. The pieces "Habanera" and "Toreador Song" are well-known excerpts from the opera.
A wooden flute played like a whistle. It was popular in the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries. Interest in it has been revived over the past few decades.
(Archie) Bunker
The central character in the 1970s television comedy series "All in the Family." His family appreciated and loved him, even though he was bad tempered, ill informed, and highly prejudiced against virtually all minority groups. The creators of the show intended his character to be a parody of close-mindedness in Americans. To their surprise, many people adopted him as their hero.
Jolly Roger
A black flag with a white skull and crossbones, flown in past centuries by pirate ships.
(Edward) Albee
A twentieth-century American playwright whose early plays reflected the influence of the Theater of the Absurd. His psychological dramas include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Tiny Alice, and A Delicate Balance.
(Ella) Fitzgerald
A twentieth-century African-American jazz and popular singer, known for the clarity of her voice and her ability to interpret the works of a great variety of songwriters, including Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers.
The Star-Spangled Banner
The National Anthem of the United States. Francis Scott Key wrote the words during the War of 1812, when he saw the flag of the United States still flying over Fort McHenry, Maryland, after a night of attack by British troops. The tune is from a British popular song of the day.
In music, a self-contained division of a long work; each one usually ahs its own tempo. A long, undivided composition is said to be in only one.
A king of tuba that wraps around the player's body so that it can be carried easily while marching. It was named after a famous bandmaster.
An oratorio by George Frederick Handel on the life of Jesus. Written for solo singers, chorus, and orchestra, it contains the "Hallelujah Chorus." In the United States, it is often sung at Christmas season.
(Piet) Mondrian
A Dutch-born twentieth-century artist known for his geometric paintings characterized by perpendicular lines and planes of pure primary colors. Influenced by cubism, he created a style called "neoplasticism," which he used in works such as Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue and Broadway Boogie Woogie.
A brass instrument; the player can change its pitch by sliding one part of the tube in and out of the other. The tone of one is mellower than the trumpet.
The use of two or more melodies at the same time in a piece of music; it was an important part of baroque music. Certain composers, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, have been especially skillful at it.
(Richard) Strauss
A German composer and conductor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is best known for the opera Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose) and for Thus Spake Zarathustra, a piece for orchestra inspired by the book of the same name by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Statue of Liberty
A giant statue on an island in the harbor of New York City; it depicts a woman representing liberty, raising a torch in her right hand and holding a tablet in her left. At its base is inscribed a poem by Emma Lazarus. Frederic Bartholid, a Frenchman, was the sculptor. France gave the statue to the United States in the nineteenth century; it was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in sections and reassembled.
An approach to architecture that adapts the design of a building or other structure to its future use. Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe were notable advocates of it in the twentieth century.
(Walter) Gropius
A German-born twentieth-century architect who was a founder of the Bauhaus school. After 1937 he lived in the United States and taught at Harvard University, where he continued to advocate Bauhaus principles, particularly the use of functional materials and clean, geometric designs. His work greatly influenced modern architecture.
In the visual arts, an attempt to depict the natural world as accurately and objectively as possible.
(Bing) Crosby
A twentieth-century American singer and actor. He appeared several times in films with Fred Astaire and Bob Hope and received an Academy award for his part in Going My ay in 1944. His most successful song recording was "White Christmas."
A movement in art and literature that flourished in the early twentieth century. It aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from conscious rational control. Salvador Dali was an influential painter; Jean Cocteau was a master of the film style.
(Ansel) Adams
A twentieth-century American photographer particularly noted for his black-and-white depictions fo the American West, including Yosemite National Park. He stressed the importance of straightforward photography and high-quality printing techniques.
A painting, usually large, made directly on a wall. The Mexican artist Diego Rivera was noted for his production of these.
abstract expressionism
A school of art that fluorished primarily from the 1940s to the 1960s, noted for its large-scale, nonrepresentational works by artists such as Williem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
A kind of jazz originating in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the early twentieth century. The rhythms of it are usually rapid, and it generally includes many improvised sections for individual instruments.
A wind instrument classified as a woodwind because it is played with a reed, although it is usually made of metal. They appear mainly in jazz, dance, and military bands. They are made in several ranges, from soprano to bass.
(Diego de) Velazquez
A seventeenth century Spanish painter, who is best known for his portraits of members f the court of the Spanish King.
(Greta) Garbo
A twentieth-century Swedish-born American film actress. She was celebrated for her classic beauty and her portrayals of moody characters. In the movie Grand Hotel, she mde the famous statement, "I want to be alone." She retired from the movies in the early 1940s and lived as a recluse until her death in 1990.
A German school of applied arts of the early twentieth-century. It's aim was to bring people working in architecture, modern technology, and the decorative arts together to learn from one another. The school developed a style that was spare, functional, and geometric. Designs for buildings, chairs, teapots, and many other objects are highly prized today, but when the school was active it was generally unpopular. It was closed by the Nazis, but its members, including Walter Gropius, spread its teachings throughout the world.
Washington Monument
A structure on the Washington Mall, over five hundred feet tall, built in the nineteenth century in honor of George Washington. In shape it is an obelisk.
flying buttress
An external, arched support for the wall of a church or other building. They were used in many Gothic cathedrals; they enabled builders to put up very tall but comparatively thin stone walls, so that much of the wall space could be filled with stained-glass windows. Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris were built with them.
A musical direction meaning "to be performed softly"; the opposite of forte.
Currier and Ives
Two business partners who produced colored prints of everyday American life in the nineteenth century.
A style of architecture and art common in Europe between the ninth and twelfth centuries. It combined elements of the archchitecture typical of the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The arches on buildings are usually semicircular rather than pointed as in Gothic architecture.
(Harry) Houdini
An American magician of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, famed for his ability to escape from straitjackets, chains, handcuffs, and locked chests.
(Frank Lloyd) Wright
A twentieth-century American architect known for his highly original methods of uniting buildings with their surroundings.
(Isadora) Duncan
A twentieth-century American dancer who won fame mainly in Euroe. Her choreography, improvisational and unfettered, rebelled against traditional ballet and was highly influential in the formation of modern dance. She was killed tragically when her long scarf became entangled in the wheel of her moving automobile.
Works of art and other objects that are meant to look costly but actually are poor in taste. In literature and music it is associated with sentimentalism as well as bad taste.
A style of art that attempts to imitate the art of primitive cultures or of children.
Golden Gate Bridge
A long suspension bridge across a strait that connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. For decades after it was opened in the 1930s, it had the longest span of any suspension bridge in the world.
(Will) Rogers
A twentieth-century American humorist known for his folksy ut sharp social and political commentary. One of his statements for which he is remembered is "All i know is just what I read in the papers."
A part of a cantata, opera, or oratorio in which singers converse, describe action, or declaim. It moves the action forward between the high musical moments. They are distinguished from aras, which are more expressive and musically more elaborate. They usually have only for each note of music, and the accompaniment by instruments is often very simple.
Oh! Susanna
A song by Stephen Foster. The refrain runs: Oh! Susanna, oh don't you cry for me; For I come from Alabama with my Banjo on my knee.
A kind of folk music for guitar, banjo, violin, other stringed instruments, and voice; it is distinguished by rapid notes and improvisation by the musicians.
The plural of lied, the German word for "song." It refers to art songs in German mainly from the nineteenth century. The most notable composer of the word was Franz Schubert.
a cappella
Choral singing performed without instruments. The expression means "in chapel style" in Italian. Centuries ago, religious music composed for use in chapels--which, unlike large churches, had no organs--was usually for voices only.
(Rube) Goldberg
A twentieth-century American cartoonist and sculptor. He was famous for his humorous diagrams of incredibly intricate machines designed to carry out simple tasks. A contraption is named after him for a machine that has extraneous parts, which appears to have been designed by patchwork.
An ornamental band that runs around a building. They are usually on the exterior of a building and sculpted in bas-relief.
A seventeenth-century Dutch painter, considered one of the greatest painters in history. His work, with its strong lights and deep shadows, has a unique intensity. The Night Watch is one of the best-known paintings.
(Enrico) Caruso
An Italian tenor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest tenors in the history of opera.
(Jackson) Pollock
A twentieth-century American painter, famous for creating abstract paintings by dripping or pouring paint on a canvas in complex swirls and spatters.
(Francisco) Goya
A Spanish painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Among his works is a series of paintings and etchings that powerfully depict the horrors of war.
(Edouard) Manet
A nineteenth-century French painter, one of the originators of Impressionism. His Luncheon on the Grass, showing two clothes men and a naked woman picnicking, shocked the public of his day.
(James) Stewart
A twentieth-century American film actor known for his gangly figure and halting, even stammering style of speech. He appeared in a great variety of movies, including Mr. Smith gGoes to Washington, Harvey, Anatomy of a Murderer, and several of the films of Alfred Hitchcock.
A frequently recurring bit of melody, usually in opera, associated with a person, thing, or emotion; it is German for "leading theme." It may be heard in the instrumental or vocal part. They are particularly associated with the operas of Richard Wagner. Recurringthemes or subjects in other forms of art or literature are sometimes called this as well.
In architecture, the top portion of a column. The form of it often serves to distinguish one style of architecture from another. For example, the Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic styles of Greek architecture all have different ones.
One of the three main styles of Greek architecture. The column is slender and finely fluted; its capital is in the shape of a scroll.
A figure in painting that symbolizes the impartiality of true justice. The figure of it usually appears as ab blindfolded woman with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other.
An American patriotic hymn from the nineteenth century, sung to the tune of the national anthem of Great Britain, "God Save the Queen." It begins, "My country, 'tis of thee."
Battle Hymn of the Republic
An American patriotic hymn from the Civil War by Julia Ward Howe, who wrote it after a visit to an encampment of the Union Army. The tune is that of John Brown's Body.
The Beatles
A rock 'n' roll singing group from Liverpool, England that was phenomenally popular in the middle and late 1960s. The intense devotion of the groups fans, especially the hysterical screaming that the group provoked in large crowds of large teenagers was called ______mania. The four members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Among their many popular songs, most of which were written by Lennon and McCartney, were "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Hey, Jude."
(Albrecht) Durer
A German painter and engraver of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. His career came at the beginning of the Reformation, which he supported, and many of his subjects are religious. His woodcuts--prints made from a carved wooden block--are particularly notable.
Italian for kettledrums; the term is often preferred by composers and performers.
mezzo soprano
A range of the female singing voice lower than soprano and higher than alto.
The Last Supper
A fresco painted by Leonardo da Vinci depicting Jesus and his disciples at the moment Jesus announces that one of them has betrayed him. Restoration of the fresco has caused great controversy. Some art critics claim that the colors are now "too bright" and that Leonardo's original work ahs been mutilated. the restoration has been open to the public on a limited basis since 1999.
Water Music
A set of pieces for orchestra by George Frederick Handel. Parts of it appear to have been written for a festival that took place on boats on the Thames River in England.
(Johannes) Brahms
A nineteenth-century German romantic composer; his works include symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs, and A German Requiem, a piece for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.
A sculpture made up of suspended shapes that move. Alexander Calder, a twentieth-century American sculptor, is known for its mobiles.
A romantic war adventure film from 1942, in which Humphrey Bogart plays a nightclub owner in Morocco and Ingrid Bergman plays his former lover.
A thin piece of wood or plastic used in many woodwind instruments. It vibrates when the player holds it in the mouth and blows over it or through it. Clarinets and saxophones use a single one; bassoons and oboes use a double one.
A great sculpture carved from the rock near the Egyptian pyramids in about 2500 B.C. It depicts a creature from Egyptian Mythology with the head of a man and the body of a lion.
A tomb, or a building containing tombs. They are often richly decorated. The Taj Mahal is an example.
An instrument in the string section of the orchestra. The orchestral one is several feet tall and has pedals that allow the person to change the key of the instrument as necessary.
A kind of violin made by an Italian craftsman in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Those that still survive are considered the finest violins in existence.
A musical instrument shaped like a violin but somewhat larger, lower pitched, and "darker" in tone
(Charles M.) Schulz
An American cartoonist who drew the syndicated "Peanuts" comic strip form 1950 until shortly before his death in 2000. Unlike many other cartoonists, he did not allow others to do the initial drawings for the strip.
(Arthur) Rubenstein
A twentieth-century Polish born American pianist. He was particularly famous for his interpretations of the music of Frederic Chopin.
Buffalo Bill
His real name was William F. Cody and was an American adventurer, soldier, and showman of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His popular "Wild West Show," begun in the 1880s, featured acts such as the marksmanship of Annie Oakley, mock battles between Native Americans and army troops, and breathtaking displays of cowboy skills and horsemanship. It toured the United States, Canada, and Europe.
(Francis Scott) Key
A lawyer and poet of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He wrote the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" while watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Maryland, in the War of 1812.
Rhapsody in Blue
A concerto for piano and orchestra from the early 1920s by George Gershwin; one of the first pieces of "serious" music to contain elements of jazz.
A woodwind instrument played with a double reed; similar to a bassoon, but pitchrd higher. Some describe its tone as nasal. It appears frequently as a solo instrument in symphonies and other kinds of classical music.
(M.C.) Escher
A twentieth-century Dutch artist known especially for his lithographs and woodcuts. His works usually depict visual riddles and geometric and architectural whimsies.
The lowest range of the male singing voice
Sears Tower
A skyscraper in Chicago that was the tallest building in the world until the construction of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
(Wolfgang Amadeus) Mozart
An eighteenth-century Austrian composer; one of the great figures in the history of music. A child prodigy, he began composing music before he was five. He, Franz Josef Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven are the leading composers of the classic era. He wrote chamber music, symphonies, operas, and masses. Three of his best-known compositions are A Little Night Music and the operas Don Giovanni and the Marriage of Figaro.
Saint Peter's Basilica
The largest Christian church building in the world, located in the Vatican. The residence of the pope adjoins itm and many ceremonies and speeches connected with the pop's administration take place there. Raphael and Michelangelo contributed to its design and decoration.
One of the three main styles of Greek architecture. It is slender and fluted; the capital incorporates sculpted leaves.
Tin Pan Alley
A reference to popular music industry in the United States; the term is not used as much today as it was a generation or two ago.
A popular comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The world is populated by pint-sized versions of adults: perennial optimist and born loser Charlie Brown; bossy, loud-mouthed Lucy; gentle Linus with his security blanket; Schroeder, the brooding piano player; and many others.
Crystal Palace
A great exhibition hall built in London, England, in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was one of the first prefabricated buildings and one of the first buildings with large expanses of glass wall.
The Marriage of Figaro
An opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in which the servant outwits his noble master, who is trying to seduce his fiancée.
(Auguste) Rodin
A nineteenth-century French sculptor. The Thinker is one of his best known works.
The Thinker
A bronze statue by Auguste Rodin. Th seated subject is supporting his chin on his wrist and his arm on his knee.
The central building on the Acropolis in Athens, now partly in ruins. Built in ancient times as a temple, it served as a model for much of Greek and Roman architecture.
A stringed musical instrument, played by plucking. The banjo has a percussive sound and is much used in folk music and bluegrass music.
The Birth of a Nation
A dramatic silent film from 1915 about the South during and after the Civil War. It was directed by D. W. Griffith. The film, the first so-called spectacular, is considered highly controversial for its portrayal of African-Americans.
(Peter Ilyich) Tchaikovsky
A nineteenth-century Russian composer. His most celebrated works include several symphonies, including the Symphonie Pathetique, and three ballets, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty.
whole tone
An interval between musical notes. Do and re are an entire one apart, as are re and mi, fa and sol, sol and la, and la and ti.
(Wassily) Kandinsky
A Russian-born painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who was a pioneer of abstract expressionism. His early canvases are turbulent abstractions; after 1920 his work incorporated brightly colored geometric forms. He taught at the Bauhaus from 1922 to 1933.
The central group of theaters presenting live drama in New York City. Many of them are located on or adjacent to the street called Broadway in Manhattan.
An image used in worship in the Eastern Orthodox Church and among other Christians of similar traditions. They depict Jesus, Mary, and the Saints, usually in a severe, symbolic, nonrealistic way.
La Scala
A world-renowned opera house in Milan, Italy; one of the leading opera houses of the world. The name means "The Stairs" in Italian.
The full name of the piano, the common musical instrument with a board of black and white keys, eighty-eight in all. The keys operate hammers that strike wires. It is Italian for "soft-loud"; it received this name because the level of loudness depends on how hard the player strikes the keys.
Sesame Street
An educational television program for preschool children, particularly aimed at disadvantaged children, that began in the late 1960s. It teaches awareness of letters and numbers and combines live actors, animation, and puppets in a great number of small segments, many of them musical.
Hail to the Chief
The official song or anthem of the president of the Uniteed States, played as part of welcoming ceremonies and receptions when the president first appears.
(Fred) Astaire
A twentieth-century American entertainer who danced in many film musicals with partners such as Ginger Rogers. He was admired for his speed and grace and for his apparently effortless approach to dancing.
(Alexander) Calder
A twentieth-century American sculptor known especially for his mobiles.
In art or literature, portrayal of an individual or thing that exaggerates and distorts prominent characteristics so as to make them appear ridiculous. It is commonly a medium for satire.
string quartet
A musical group that includes two violins, a viola, and a cello. The term also refers to a composition written for these four nstruments. Many composers, notably Franz Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven, have written them.
The Marseillaise
The national anthem of France, written during the French Revolution.
A title for distinguished artists, especially those in music. It may be given to teachers, composers, conductors, or performers. It is Italian for "maestro."
(Count) Basie
A twentieth-century African-American jazz pianist and bandleader. His real first name was William. He was known for the "Big Band" sound that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s.
Moonlight Sonata
A sonata for piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. An early commentator remarked that the tranquil first movement reminded him of moonlight on the waves.
(Marian) Anderson
A twentieth-century African-American contralto, known for her roles in opera and also for her performances of spirituals. In 1941, a plammed concert by her at Constitution Hall was blocked by the Daughters of the American Revolution, who owned the hall, because she was black. With the support of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his wife, Eleonor, she gave a free concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which was attended by more than 75,000 peple. She was also the first black person to sing with the Metropolitan Opera of New York City
(Oscar) Hammerstein
A twentieth-century American playwright and lyricist. He wrote the words for a large number of highly successful usicals, especially with Richard Rodgers. He also collaborated with a number of other composers, including Jerome Kern, with whom he wrote the musical Show Boat.
(Jan) Vermeer
A eventeenth-centnury Dutch painter. He is known for painting domestic scenes of great clarity and repose, with subtle uses of light and shade.
A musical drama that is totally or mostly sung. Aida, Carmen, and Don Giovanni are some examples.
(Winslow) Homer
An American painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, known especially for his rich watercolor paintings of sea scenes.
(Katharine) Hepburn
A twentieth-century Aerican acress. She has appeared in films over several decades and won Academy Awards in 1933, 1967, 1968, and 1981. She often co-stared with Spencer Tracy. The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen are two of her best-remembered pieces.
(Richard) Wagner
A nineteenth-century German composer known for his operas, may of which dramatize myths and legends. The four-opera group The Ring of the Nibelung and the single opera Tristan and Isolde are among his best known compositions.
In European architecture, the dominant style during the late Middle Ages, characterized by slender towers, pointed arches, soaring ceilings, and flying buttresses. Many great cathedrals, including Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris, were built in the style.
A painting, drawing, or sculpture of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, holding the dead body of Jesus. The word means "pity" in Italian.
A range of the male singing voice higher than bass and lower than tenor.
A lively dance for couples, originating in eastern Europe. Johann Strauss, the Younger wrote many of these.
Gregorian chant
The traditional music for Latin texts in the worship of the Roman Catholic Church, it is marked by performance in unison and by free-flowing rhythms that follow the phrasing of the text. The chants often call for one syllable to be sung across several notes.
fine arts
Art that is produced more for beauty or spiritual significance than for physical utility. Painting, sculpture, and music are examples.
H.M.S Pinafore
A comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan about the marriage of the beautiful daughter of the captain of the ship in the title. It contains many notable songs, including, "I'm Called Little Buttercup" and "When I Was a Lad."
A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a religious story.
A family of musical instruments played by striking their surfaces. The instruments are used to accentuate and dramatize certain notes of rhythms and include instruments such as cymbals, drums, triangles, and xylophones.
In architecture, a curved or pointed opening that spans a doorway, window, or other space. The form used in building often serves to distinguish styles of architecture from one another. For example, Romanesque architecture usually employs a round one and Gothic architecture, a pointed one.
White Cristmas
A popular song for Christmas, composed by Irving Berlin and memorably sung by Bing Crosby.
Mona Lisa
A painting by Leonardo da Vinci of a woman with a mysterious smile. It is now of the most readily recognized paintings in the world.
A sponsor or producer of entertainment, especially someone who works with opera or ballet companies or performers of classical music.
A sixteenth-century Italian painter. A contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, he is known for his beautiful and gracious Madonnas and The School of Athens.
A musical composition for one or two instruments, usually in three or four movements. The classic era one had a definite arrangement for its movements: the first and fourth had a fast tempo, the second had a slow tempo, and the third was in either playful style (a "scherzo") or in dance form (a "minuet").
Someone who is interested in the fine arts as a spectator, not as a serious practitioner. It is most often used to mean a dabbler, someone with a broad but shallow attachment to any field.
(Igor) Stravinsky
A Russian copmoserm widely considered one of the greatest of the twentieth century. Among his celebrated works are the ballets The Rite of Spring, The Firebird, and Petrushka.
The highest range of the female singing voice.
Marx brothers
A family of American film comedians who flourished in the 1930s; Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera are two of their films. The brothers included the wisecracking, cigar-smoking Groucho; the harp-playing, woman-chasing Harpo, who never spoke but beeped a bicycle horn instead; and the piano-playing, Italian-accented Chico. A fourth brother, Zeppo, appeared in a few films, but a fifth brother, Gummo, did not appear in any.

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