What is the relationship between literature and other arts such as painting, music, photography, cinema, etc?

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litchick2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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I tend to think that all of these arts are a response to the culture and events of particular time periods.  Though literature may not be directly affected by another type of artistic movement, both are affected by history. For example, when you looked at Modernist literature (Early 20th century) and compare that to the other arts, certain themes pop up: the need for the individual to express himself or herself in an increasingly more chaotic world, an experimentation with or even rejection of certain traditional elements, etc.  For example, compare and contrast the movie Metropolis (directed by Fritz Lang in 1927) with The Trial (1925) by Franz Kafka, you see two completely seperate works that both deal with the fear of dystopia and the complete extermination of individual free will.  Considering both of these were created post World War I by German artists who would have reason to fear a crumbling society, this feeling certainly makes sense.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Literature can help to inspire other mediums of artistic expression.  Challenging and powerful literature can set the stage for amazingly poweful and compelling representation in other forms.  For example, Picasso's rendering of "Don Quixote" raises as many thought provoking discussions as Cervantes' work, itself.  However, there are times when literature cannot seem to make the jump from its pages to other mediums.  I am not sure why this is, but there are times when literature cannot be replicated into other mediums.  Having said this, perhaps the relationship between literature and other mediums is that they can both be used to articulate experiences within the human predicament.  They might be able to serve vehicles that express the level of "truths" that we endure and seek to voice.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Literature, like the other arts you mention, is an expression of individual thought and feeling achieved through the creative process.  Artists seek to share their experiences, observations, and understanding (their "truths") through the medium that most effectively lends itself to their personal skills and abilities. Whether artists are writing stories, painting pictures, writing music, composing a photograph, or creating a film, they are expressing their relationship to the world around them at that moment. Their works share certain expressive elements, such as structure, theme, and tone. Art connects human beings to each other in that it allows us to share each other's perceptions, emotions, and experiences. A gifted artist may capture creatively what we feel but cannot express ourselves.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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William Saroyan had this to say about the visual arts:  "Art is looking at things carefully."  I'd like to add that literature is "the imitation of an action by language" (Aristotle calls it "poetry" and divides it into three kinds, depending on the number of narrators).  When a writer takes great care to describe a mis-en-scene, or to depict a character's complexities, or to articulate an abstraction, it is art -- as opposed to "commodity," a distinction first explored in Elizabethan times, and blurred today by the ever-present free enterprise system.     

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Literature and the other fine arts are all similiar in that they are specific media through which one gives expression to what is in the soul.  For instance, poetry is often set to music or dance interprets music, art imitates literary form.  All of the fine artas attempt to solidify, communicate, and embellish thoughts and comunicate in a manner that transcends all others.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Each of the things you mention is a method by which creativity happens and human nature can be reflected.  They're connected in that they require someone with a point of view to create from a particular perspective.  They're similar because they have the ability to elicit a response from those who experience the creation.  They're all art.

User Comments

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pink-zebra | (Level 1) Honors

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I think that they are related because they both cause the brain to think about them. Unlike other things (such as math or science), it doesn't make you think about how to solve the problem, it just makes you think about what's going on.

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thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

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Great question! This is definitely one that makes you think a bit about before answering. I believe that there is a strong relationship/tie between literature and the arts. Many times they go together like peanut butter and jelly :)

For example, in things such as theatre and music. More often than not you will see music artists base their lyrics and songs off of a piece of literature, famous or not (eg Seven Devils by Florence + the Machine). This also goes for theatre. Many playwrights like to base their work off of literature, or even authors (eg Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

Hope this helps!

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maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Literature like the other arts you mentioned are a way of expression. People write to vent their feelings or to express themselves. Art in general is a way of expression. Literature can inspire painting music cinema etc. There are many paintings and fan art inspired by books like harry potter. Many books become movies and music can also be inspired by it. It can also be the other way around; other arts inspiring literature 

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arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Literature essentially evokes the same meaning as the arts. Where literature is a written piece of the author's thoughts, ideas, emotions, feelings, etc., art is the visual representative of that as well. Both are mediums of communication between the author/artist and their audience. As an artist myself, I believe that both are linked to each other that they both actually influence each other as well.

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clara-amalia | eNotes Newbie

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There are mainly three branches of literature which are novel, poetry and drama. But, as the technology develops, literature is also develops. By the use of recent technology, a new branch of literature emerges, which is film. Film is also known as movie or animated pictures. Similar to the main genres of other literary branches, film also ranges from a fictional one to non-fictional one or even the combination of both. Film is sometimes found to be the adaptation of a novel. The reason why people prefer film to any written literary works is that film is a thousand times easier to understand because film visualises images, which makes the watchers easier to understand and film also emerges sound in the form of conversation done by the characters which makes reading not required.

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mystical-rose95 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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What is the relationship between literature and other arts such as painting, music, photography, cinema, etc?

What is the relationship between literature and other arts such as painting, music, photography, cinema, etc?

Literature, painting, music, photography, cinema, acting, performing, and many others are all forms of art. Art is the study of expression, and you can express yourself through many different forms of art.

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tessalynette | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Literature is a type of art that creates a picture, but with words instead of using pictures.

The relation you are asking about is quite simple to answer.

Both are ways to create a picture. Literature uses words to create a mental image, leaving you to use your imagination, whereas pictures, give you an image. They do not let you use your imagination.

The same goes with music.

Music makes you use your imagination to create a mental image, a picture, of what is happening. Take Composer Gustav Mahler's 7Th Symphony. It's a beautiful, fun piece, yet it gives you a picture to start your mental image on.

This may not be the longest answer here, but I hope it can be most helpful to you.

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noweednomore | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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Semitoics. That is what i think would best answer your question.Semitiocs as wiki defines it is the study of signs and sign processes  indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metapohr, signification, and communication. Verbal communication, facial expressions, body language, visual art all form a part of semiotics.

To understand semiotics better let us take an example of linguistics. When we say H-O-R-S-E we use something to denote something else. This is what we call a  'Signifier' to denote the 'Signified', the warm-blooded mammal we know of.

Again, taking an example from visual arts, whenever we see a soldier on horseback slaying a dragon in a painting we immediately recognize the soldier as being St. George. The legend has been reproduced in paintings since 7th century and again, the Dragon and the soldier on horseback act as the 'Signifier' for the 'Signified' the legend.

This is what i think connects all the art mediums and literature ( to answer your question specifically) in terms of similarity. They all have different signifiers trying to denote the signified.

Btw,what a coincidence. I have just posted the same answer i have posted above to another question that has been asked on the reference discussion forum of the site. Nice :) !!!

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inderpreet | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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we give words to our feelings in litrature by writing poems, in arts we give symbols to our feelings .spectator have to understand the idea behind the painting or the poem ,so they are related both have deep meanings.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Literature, painting, music, photography, cinema, and many other forms of art such as, say, dance and sculpture are all independent mediums of expression (by the artist), that evoke understanding, thoughts and emotions (among those who see, read and hear such art). Each one of these can exists independent of of others, but frequently more than one medium of art are combined to produce much better result than what would have been possible by sum of effect of each one by itself. For example, a good ballet is essentially a combination of dance wit a narrative, in addition it also uses of music and visual art in form of the stage art and even the dresses used by performers.

A fairly representative sample of all the various permutations and combinations of different art forms used, will become for inclusion in this forum of discussion. So I will just cover in brief hoe cinema makes very effective use of use of all other art medium.

The story or script of cinema is a piece of literature. So are all the spoken parts of cinema.

Photography is very much an essential part of cinema.

Photography itself produces what painting do, except the method of creation for the two medium are different and to that extent the scope of limitations of the quality of output is different.

Cartoon films are actually just like painting with motion.

Background music and songs add to the value of cinema. Also the visuals that accompany the music also has the potential of enhancing.

Songs and music are frequently presented in conjunction with dance. And both these are form of many movies.

It is not possible to present sculptures in cinema without some loss of effect their three dimensional nature. But some times this can often be more than offset by additional capabilities of cinema, for example a cinema may present an aerial picture of a monument like Sphinx from different angles and distances which an ordinary tourist will not be able to get.