Snow White And The Seven Arts

A slightly snowy scene

OK, Snow White first. The first proper snow of this winter has started to fall. It’s rather slushy snow and I can’t see it hanging round long, but at least it’s snow. Rors is delighted, the youngest cats are puzzled, since it’s the first they’ve seen, and the chickens are decidedly unimpressed. They don’t like snow. I’m not fussed either way. So long as I can get a top-up food shop this afternoon and Chris can get back safely from his pig-keeping course tonight, then I don’t mind being snowed in for a while after that. We’ve come to expect that here in Creuse, at least for a week or so each year.

Now the Seven Arts. It’s the annual BD (comic book) festival at Angoulême this week. This is a massive event. Bandes dessinées (or bédés) are big business in France, bringing in around 350 million euros to publishers every year. (I’ve written a bit more about this on my Books Are Cool blog here.)

BDs are reckoned to be the neuvième art (ninth art). I’d heard cinema referred to as the septième art (seventh art) a few times but not been interested enough to find out more I’m ashamed to say. However, now that there’s a ninth one, it’s definitely time.

Poster for BD festival

Étienne Souriau, a French philosopher and aesthete who lived from 1892 to 1979, came up with the idea of the Seven Arts in 1969. He wrote about it in his famous book La Correspondance des arts, Eléments d’esthétique comparée. So what are they?

1. Sculpture and architecture

2. Drawing

3. Painting

4. Music

5. Dance and pantomime

6. Writing

7. Cinema.

Seven seemed to him quite enough at the time, and it’s as good a number as any. It’s popular for groups of things after all – the seven seas, seven colours of the rainbow, seven wonders of the world, seven days of the week, for example, not forgetting the seven odd socks in Ruadhri’s drawer. But we’re now up to eleven arts. Sauriou’s list has been augmented with:

8. Television (including radio and photography)

9. BDs

10. Bizarrely video games and model railways are lumped together, and

11. Multimedia.

To become an official member of the list, a particular art form has to stand the test of time and be popular with the public. However, I haven’t managed to find out who the bureaucrat officially charged with keeping the art list up to date is. There’s bound to be one somewhere.

It’s an interesting idea to classify the arts, and exemplifies the French need to categorise everything, but doesn’t seem to serve much practical purpose other than to give me something to blog about!

And a final non-related photo. Here’s Rors being given his yellow-white belt at judo last night after passing his grading.




0 Replies to “Snow White And The Seven Arts”

  1. Congratulations to Rors for receiving his yellow-white judo belt. I’m amazed that there are only 7 odd socks in his drawer – that’s quite an accomplishment!

    Interesting list. Although, like you, I don’t get the connection between video games and model railways. Perhaps they’re looking ahead to the day when video games will be replaced by something new.

    1. Thank you on Rors’ behalf. He’s very chuffed. He’s working hard at his judo.
      Let’s just say there were only 7 odd socks the last time I looked. Odd socks run in the family. I’m not sure either his dad or big brother have any matching ones these days!

  2. Well done Rors! That’s quite an acheivement? Sam wears odd socks all the time…an art in itself! We have slushy snow too. I am a little confused if it will be school tomorrow or not as doesn’t seem to be sticking much. I guess tomorrow will tell x

    1. Thank you from Rors.
      It was the fashion for a while to wear odd fluorescent socks. I could do with that one coming in again! My husband often wears odd socks out of necessity but I don’t think anyone has ever noticed.
      No school buses here either. Rors is thrilled, daughter Caiti less so since she’s marooned at lycee for the time being. Meant to be taking her down to Grenolbe for JPO at the Uni there on Saturday. It’ll be minus 16 so we’ll have to see what the snow situation is too before we head off I think.

    1. Thank you on Rors’ behalf. No, I couldn’t really see the point of classifying the arts, especially when model railways and video games come together, but it was something to blog about!

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