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A Hierarchy in Arts?

Is there an Upper Art and a Lower Art?

This article should act as an introduction to the different forms of art and the hierarchy they have (if there is one).

Is there a Brahman and Shudra in Arts?

In today’s world Art has become a subjective opinion and people do not consider (or at least they try not to consider) one art form above the other (*cough*AbstractIsJustStupid*cough*)  but before when Royalty was still a thing, a hierarchy of sorts was present because art was a good means of understanding and managing the public opinion.

Judging objects is a favorite hobby of many individuals.

Today we will be going back in time and seeing what did the People of the Past consider as “better art” and what as “low standard art”.


According to the hierarchy, there are different types of genres such as History painting, Portraiture, Genre painting, Landscape painting, Animal painting and Still life painting. The history paintings are placed in the highest position in the hierarchy Structure. The still life paintings are at the lower levels of the hierarchy.

History Painting

The historical paintings include noble historic moments, ancient mythologies and biblical subjects. The paintings are intended for display in the public places such as churches, gallery walls and at events like annual Salons. The emblematic paintings that display the symbolic messages about the good and evil are given the highest designation under the category of historical paintings.


The Portraiture of the portrait painting is the next highest genre in the art hierarchy. The students have to pass through a rigorous course of training to master the portrait painting skill. Generally, the students start with drawing from the plaster casts and copying the already established portraits before working with the live models. The large sized and full-length portraits are highly priced and are also called as swagger painting.

Genre Painting

The genre painting includes scenes from the everyday life. These may contain people, landscapes, animals and their combinations. Normally, a genre painting has a person or a group of people performing certain activities.

We try to judge things from only one Point of View when we should actually have a Relative Point of View for everything -that is to judge everything on its own standards and not in comparison to some other form or style.

Landscape painting

Landscape painting is in the fourth position in the art hierarchy. In the landscape paintings, there are no human figures. These paintings include everything that can be found in physical geographies such as cityscapes, Waterscapes, and seascapes. The landscape painting differs from the portrait painting in the fact that; landscape paintings are more in width and less in height, while the portrait paintings are less in width and more in height.

Animal painting

Among the various animal paintings, the horse paintings are more popular. The animal paintings were ranked low due to the late inclusion in the hierarchical system. But, the animal painters are honored and valued as like the painters of the other genre.

Still Life Painting

The still life paintings do not contain any living objects. They are small-scale paintings and do not require much imagination. However, these are also an important part of the art hierarchy.

The canvas is yours to paint but someone else to rate.

In conclusion, humans love to judge and order things according to preference and they leave no exception -not even arts which is an extremely subjective thing alas this gave birth to individuals who could exceed in certain forms of art which finished the thin line of hierarchy that may have existed as then even the most senile of individuals could see the beauty of the various forms of art and could come to consider that Art was one of the few exceptions to the rule of labeling (then they labeled the different forms of art according to style if not according to preference 🙂 ).


Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known ~  Oscar Wilde


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