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:

  1. Television (including radio and photography)

  2. BDs

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

  4. 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.