54 Arts and Culture Quiz – General Knowledge Questions – Learn about Arts and Culture
- What was the subject of the earliest known paintings?
The paintings in the Lascaux caves in France of 15,000 years ago were of bison, antelope, mammoths, and other migratory animals.
- What does the Venus of Brassempouy represent?
Answer: A woman’s head.
The Venus of Brassempouy is one of the oldest known representations of the human head. It is a fragment of what was once a larger figurine, and is probably about 25,000 years old.
- Which architect founded the Bauhaus school of design?
Answer: Walter Gropius.
The Bauhaus school of design was founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius.
- What animal often symbolizes peace in art?
The dove represents peace in many artworks. Pablo Picasso, for example, painted a dove for the World Peace Conference held in 1951.
- To which artistic movement does Paul Gauguin’s The Yellow Christ belong?
French painter Paul Gauguin was one of the earliest practitioners of cloisonnism, a post-Impressionist style characterized by vivid areas of color separated by dark contour lines.
- What did I.M. Pei design outside the Louvre, in Paris?
Made of glass and metal and designed by I.M. Pei, a pyramid stands before the Louvre, the famed museum in Paris, France.
- Who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial?
Answer: Maya Lin.
Maya Lin, an American sculptor and architect, created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Artists, Painters, & Architects
- With what painter did Jean-Michel Basquiat collaborate?
Answer: Andy Warhol.
The young Jean-Michel Basquiat was befriended by the Pop artist Andy Warhol in 1983, and the two began to collaborate occasionally.
- Which artist is best known for her large-scale paintings of poppies?
Answer: Georgia O’Keeffe.
Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most famous American painters of the 20th century, created numerous close-up portraits of poppies and other flowers.
- What did Jan van Eyck paint on, mostly?
Answer: Wooden panels.
The Flemish painter who perfected the new technique of painting in oils, Jan van Eyck produced mostly portraits and religious subjects on wooden panels.
- Who was the first famous artist of the Italian Renaissance?
The man whom many consider to be the first great painter of the Florentine Renaissance died when he was only 26. His name was Masaccio.
- What Dutch artist is famous for his strange geometrical puzzles?
Answer: M.C. Escher.
M.C. Escher (1898-–1971), a Dutch artist, is known for lithographs and woodcuts that use realistic details and geometry to create bizarre conceptual and optical effects.
Paris at Random
- Which Parisian singer who was reared in a house of prostitution popularized the French ballad or chanson?
Answer: Edith Piaf.
Edith Piaf popularized the chanson. Her diminutive size and big voice won her an international following.
- Who flew an airship or dirigible around the Eiffel Tower?
Answer: Alberto Santos-Dumont.
Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont was often seen floating over Paris boulevards in his steerable balloons.
- Which Irish writer lived much of his life in Paris and won the Croix de Guerre for his resistance work during World War II?
Answer: Samuel Beckett.
Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot was first produced in 1953.
- Which American writer regularly sent a “Letter From Paris” that was published in The New Yorker?
Answer: Janet Flanner.
Writing under the pen name “Genêt,” Janet Flanner commented on French politics, art, theatre, and culture, and various personalities.
- What ballet by Igor Stravinsky caused the audience to riot on its opening night in Paris?
Answer: The Rite of Spring.
Stravinsky’s music for The Rite of Spring was daring, rhythmically innovative, and disturbing to those theatergoers who were accustomed to predictability in their ballets.
- Which French actress and dancer made her debut in An American in Paris?
Answer: Leslie Caron.
Leslie Caron made her debut in An American in Paris. She was recruited for the film by dancer Gene Kelly.
- What is the name of the painting style Picasso and Braque invented after Picasso moved to Paris?
Picasso and Braque invented the Cubism style. They presented multiple views of people and objects on one canvas. The technique known as collage was also much used by Picasso and Braque, but it’s a technique, not a style.
- Who led the Fauves, a group of artists who rejected traditional renderings of three-dimensional space?
Answer: Henri Matisse.
Matisse arrived at the Fauvist approach after experimenting with the approaches of Gauguin, van Gogh, and Seurat.
- What two Russian painters studied Cubism in Paris with Le Fauconnier and Metzinger?
Answer: Lyubov Popova and Nadezhda Udaltsova.
Friends Popova and Udaltsova, both painters, traveled to Paris in 1912 and returned to Moscow in 1913.
Mythology, Legend, and Folklore
- According to American folklore, who dug out the Grand Canyon?
Answer: Paul Bunyan.
According to American folklore, the giant timber cutter Paul Bunyan dug out the Grand Canyon with a pick.
- Which Norse god was called the Raven God?
Odin was called the Raven God. He could see anything that happened in the nine worlds of the universe, and nothing escaped his gaze.
- In which region of Greece was Pan first worshipped?
Pan was worshipped originally in Arcadia and eventually in all areas of Greece.
- What was the name of the place where ancient Norse heroes went after death?
The Valkyries met fallen heroes on the battlefield. They brought the dead heroes to stay at a grand banquet hall called Valhalla. Valhalla was like a heaven for warriors.
- In Egyptian mythology, to whom is the goddess Isis married?
Isis was married to the god Osiris
- Who founded the Ballets Russes?
Answer: Sergey Diaghilev.
Sergey Diaghilev founded the Ballets Russes. Among his associates were Vaslav Nijinsky, George Balanchine, Anna Pavlova, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Debussy.
- In ballet, what is a glissade?
Answer: A glide.
In ballet, a glissade is a gliding step.
- How many foot positions are there in ballet?
There are five basic positions of the dancer’s feet. They are characterized by the way the dancer’s feet point outward, and they are balanced by matching positions of the arms and head.
- Who was Fred Astaire’s best-known dancing partner?
Answer: Ginger Rogers.
Ginger Rogers danced with Fred Astaire in several popular films, including Top Hat.
- What is the name for a traditional Argentine music and dance?
The folk music of Argentina consisted largely of sad songs sung to the guitar. This music became a part of the tango—Argentina’s major contribution to popular music and dance.
- When did Futurism begin?
Futurism was first announced in a manifesto published in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro on February 20, 1909.
- What food did F.T. Marinetti condemn as a “leaden ball” that needed to be abolished in Italy?
In his “The Manifesto of Futurist Cooking” (1930), Marinetti decried pasta as nutritionally inefficient and deplorably old-fashioned.
- Which literary genre did the Futurists invent?
Words-in-freedom (parole in libertà) is a type of poetry that rejects traditional syntax, grammar, and spelling.
- What did the Pall Mall Gazette call the first showing of Futurist paintings in London?
Answer: Nightmare exhibition.
In the March 1, 1912, issue of the Pall Mall Gazette, the critic P.G. Konody savaged the exhibition under the title “The Italian Futurists: Nightmare Exhibition at the Sackville Gallery.”
- In his manifesto on Futurist architecture, Antonio Sant’Elia argued that a house should last for how long?
Answer: A generation.
Our houses will last less time than we do, Sant’Elia wrote in 1914 as he argued for an architecture of impermanence.
- In 1919 Futurism’s leader, F.T. Marinetti, was a parliamentary candidate in Italy for what party?
Answer: Fascist Party.
From 1915 to 1919 Marinetti and Italy’s future fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, were in close orbit around each other.
- What did Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero propose to reconstruct according to Futurist principles?
Answer: The universe.
Balla and Depero published “The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe” as a leaflet in 1915. In it, they proposed to make the universe more “joyful.”
- Futurism originated in Italy, but it had a particularly strong influence in what other country?
Russian Futurism was a more splintered movement than Italian Futurism, but both were equally fervent in their condemnation of the past.
- Which instrument was central to Futurist music?
Answer: Noise intoner.
The noise intoner (intonarumori), developed by Luigi Russolo, sought to generate distinctly “modern” types of sounds, such as explosions.
Know Your Photographers
- William Eggleston is known for what?
Answer: Color photographs.
Eggleston was one of the earliest consistent users of color film, beginning in the 1960s. His work in color helped legitimize the medium as a fine art.
- The famous photograph titled Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville (1950) was taken by:
Doisneau took the picture of a couple kissing on a street in Paris for Life magazine, and it has since become one of the most reproduced photographs of all time.
- Charles Nègre is known for:
Answer: His photographs of Paris.
In the 1850s, Nègre took pictures of Paris street scenes, making him one of the first photographers to take up what would become one of the most popular subjects throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Robert Frank published a seminal book of street photography titled:
Answer: The Americans.
Frank published The Americans in 1959.
- Who is credited with coining the term the “decisive moment”?
Answer: Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Cartier-Bresson coined the term with his book of the same title in 1952.
- The “Rayograph” was invented by:
Answer: Man Ray.
Named after himself, the rayograph was a “camera-less” photograph that Man Ray invented in the early 1920s.
Name the Impressionists
- ___ Cassat
Mary Cassat was invited by Edgar Degas to exhibit with the Impressionists in 1879.
- ___ Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir began working in a porcelain factory at age 13.
- ___ Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was the only artist to exhibit work in all eight Impressionist group shows.
- ___ Monet
Claude Monet’s last series of paintings was inspired by the water-lily pond he created at his home in Giverny.
- ___ Degas
Edgar Degas differed from many Impressionist painters by focusing on scenes of Parisian life.
- ___ Cézanne
Paul Cézanne’s paintings drew the most public criticism at several of the Impressionists’ early group exhibitions.
- ___ Morisot
Berthe Morisot’s paintings outsold those of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir during her lifetime.
- ___ Manet
Édouard Manet painted with Claude Monet along the Seine in the 1870s.