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Art and visual culture: medieval to modern
Art and visual culture: medieval to modern

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1.1 Art, visual culture and skill

The term ‘visual culture’ is used here in preference to ‘art’ for the fundamental reason that the arts before 1600 were very much more wide-ranging than they were subsequently defined. From the founding of the first art academy in Florence in 1563 up to the twentieth century, ‘art’ has been understood primarily in terms of the three so-called arts of design: painting, sculpture and architecture, all of which were considered to demand talent and intellectual application as well as the acquisition of manual skill. Medieval art and Renaissance art present a challenge to this definition.