seventh art

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In his manifesto The Birth of the Sixth Art, published in 1911, Italian film theoretician Ricciotto Canudo argued that cinema was a new art, "a superb conciliation of the Rhythms of Space (the Plastic Arts) and the Rhythms of Time (Music and Poetry)", a synthesis of the five ancient arts: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry (cf. Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics).

Canudo later added dance as a sixth precursor, a third rhythmic art with music and poetry, making cinema the seventh art. In Paris, he established an avant-garde magazine La Gazette des sept arts in 1920, and a film club, CASA (Club des amis du septième art), in 1921. His best-known essay Réflexions sur le septième art ("Reflections on the Seventh Art") was published in 1923 after a number of earlier drafts, all published in Italy or France.


the seventh art

  1. The making of motion pictures; filmmaking.
    • 1948, Jacques Queval, "Three French Histories of Film" (book reviews), Hollywood Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 4, p. 454,
      Georges Charensol's Panorama du cinema, originally published in 1927, . . . was the bible of devotees of the seventh art.
    • 2004, Barry Keith Grant, "Diversity or Dilution? Thoughts on Film Studies and the SCMS," Cinema Journal, vol. 43, no. 3, p. 90,
      Because of the inherent interdisciplinarity of studying film—once called, appositely, the "seventh art"—film studies was among the first disciplines to embrace such theories and methodologies as feminism, semiotics, and structuralism.
    • 2008, Richard Corliss and Mary Corliss, "Can Cannes Still Do It?," Time, 14 May,
      Cannes is the world's largest annual convention, and a yearly thermometer for the temperature of the seventh art.