Classic  

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"What is Classical is healthy; what is Romantic is sick." --Goethe.
Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1519) is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous paintings in the world.
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Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1519) is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous paintings in the world.
1872 photograph of the western face of the Greek Parthenon
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1872 photograph of the western face of the Greek Parthenon

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The word classic means something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. The word can be an adjective (a classic car) or a noun (a classic of English literature). It denotes a particular quality in art, architecture, literature and other cultural artifacts. In commerce, products are named 'classic' to denote a long standing popular version or model, to distinguish it from a newer variety. Classic is used to describe many major, long-standing sporting events. Colloquially, an everyday occurrence (e.g. a joke or mishap) may be described as 'an absolute classic'.

"Classic" should not be confused with classical, which refers specifically to certain cultural styles, especially in music and architecture: styles generally taking inspiration from the Classical tradition, hence classicism.

Classic may refer to:

By medium:

Contents

Etymology

The word classic is derived from class which is in turn derived from Latin classis, any one of the five divisions into which Servius Tullius divided the Roman citizenry.

The Classics

The classics

The classics are the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, known as classical antiquity. Classics (without the definite article) can refer to the study of the humanities: philosophy, literature, history and the arts, as distinct from technical subjects.

Cultural classics

cultural significance

Books, films and music particularly may become a classic, where an equally well-known painting would more likely be called a masterpiece. A classic is often something old that is still popular. Some examples would be the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, the 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life, and the song Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley. Lists of classics are long and ranging, and would vary depending on personal opinion. Classic rock is a popular radio format, playing a repertoire of old but familiar recordings.

Contemporary works may be hailed as an instant classic but the criteria for classic status tends to include the test of time. A cult classic may be well known but is only properly appreciated by a minority.

Science and technology

A well known and reliable procedure, such as a demonstration of well-established scientific principle, may be described as classic: e.g. the cartesian diver experiment.

Consumer artifacts

Manufacturers frequently describe their products as classic, to distinguish the original from a new variety, or to imply qualities in the product - although the Ford Consul Classic, a car manufactured 1961–1963, has the "classic" tag for no apparent reason. The iPod classic was simply called the iPod until the sixth generation, when classic was added to the name because other designs were also available - an example of a retronym. Coca-Cola Classic is the name used for the relaunch of Coca-Cola after the failure of the New Coke recipe change.

A classic can be something old that remains prized or valuable (but not an antique). Classic cars, for example, are recognized by various collectors' organisations such as the Classic Car Club of America, who regulate the qualifying attributes that constitute classic status.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Classic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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