Painting (Baroque) In Figure 1 below, we see

Painting has been around for thousands of years. Reaching back to
caveman and reaching to a multitude of cultures, expressing one’s self and
telling a story has existed to teach and learn. One thing that has always been
a constant and fact is that painting and art is changing and evolving every
day. Artistic and cultural movements have created a perfect place for
individuals and artists to mold their tastes and styles throughout the years.
Taking a look at these important movements will allow to know only understand
where painting has come from to where it is today, but it will allow
individuals to understand where and why painting and art will be in the future.


The Baroque cultural movement is a period that is often connected with
the Catholic revival. Beginning in the early 1600’s and going through until the
18th century, Baroque painting shows deep rich color with high
emphasis on shadow and light that gave the feeling of harmony and balance. There
seemed to be a strong a dark background which allowed for a large amount of
depth to be used. (Helen Gardner) Reflecting often with
religious themes, the aristocracy used this style to increase grand impression
and power to others to create drama and bring out passion. (Baroque) In Figure 1 below, we see the shadow
usage of the musician emphasize the two individuals that the light is
reflecting on. There aren’t many straight or angled curves within this peace
which allows for the feeling of peace to be given. Murals were a large focus
during the baroque period with a strong emphasis of realism and perspective
that gave the viewers the sense they were looking into the scene of the
painting. (Panofsky) In Figure two, we see a scene that is
almost like an illusion. The coloring provided a dramatic effect that really
portrayed a sense of what Baroque was trying to achieve. (Fargis) Baroque is a religious and artistic time that allowed
for expression of the political and cultural change that was happening
throughout Europe.

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Quite opposite of the Baroque style, Neoclassicism had a
more simple and symmetrical focus. Beginning in the mid 1700’s, Neoclassism
revived from the classical period that was in Greece and Italy. (Boime) Coinciding with the Enlightenment,
Neoclassicism Depicted historical events and themes. The rebellious nature this
era against Baroque and Ricoco, this style contributed artistically to the
patriotism of the French revolution. The period gained a large amount of
popularity as the artist Jacques-Louis David created the Oath of Horatii in 1785 and opened a studio in which he taught a, “perfectly
defined Neoclassical taste.” (Bordes) Main
characteristics Neoclassicism could be described as straight lines, simplistic,
little use of color, and using old classical techniques. (Boime) Figure 3 shows how the Neoclassical
period no longer portrays a light hearted or peaceful feel. Image 4 also shows
how minimalism and space was more emphasized in pieces with the individual
being the main focus with little detail outside. The idea of staged scenes that
allowed for simplistic nature and clear-cut scenes brought a high amount of
relation to the Roman style. Figure 5 shows a controversial piece that allows
for the viewer to clearly outlined individuals and of the stage like portrait.
In the wake of a time where rebellion was highly looked down upon, this piece
many protests to be allowed to hang. This was even more controversial with
David being for the French Revolution.


Similar to Neoclassism, the Realism movement worked to also emphasize
historical scenes with order and straight and geometrical lines. However, it
differentiates itself by portraying the world as normal and imperfect than the
utopian style that Neoclassism portrayed. (Hunt)
Arising in the mid 1800’s after the Revolution, Realism depicted the world of
the everyday and ordinary situations. Figure 6 shows 3 individuals working in a
field. All statuses were portrayed through this artistic style. (Kleiner) Some of the main characteristics of
this style is that of nature, interacting with each other, light colors and
calmer and routing feel. Color is used in realism with thick pigment that is
either used with swift brushstrokes or blended within the details. (Stokstad) Realism does more than just changes
from previous styles, it brings the artwork down from the elite and creates
advancements that can be found today.


In the 19th century, small and thin brush strokes that
represented light and changing of time was experienced as Impressionism.
Artists such as Claude Money and Louis Leroy faced many critiques due to the
face that their work going against previous techniques. (Samu) Instead of
details, these artists created overall effects with short and broken brush
strokes that contained unblended or shaded colors that we can see in figure 7.
Color vibration allowed for their pieces to have an optimistic and lighter
feel. With a different way of seeing, new techniques of light and use of color
gave movement to the candid and still poses. (Wallert)
Like many of the techniques before, Impressionism opens many doors for artistic
expression and development for future artistic movements.


Mostly a French art movement, Post-Impressionism came about in the late
19th or early 20th century. Created to go against the natural
techniques that impressionism created, Post-impressionism focused more on
abstract, cartoonish, and going back to basic shapes. Colors were vibrant and
used little to no shading. (Grafton Gals) Shown in figure 8, strokes full of broke
color or dark outline provided for shapes and figures to be easily outlined and
the form to take place with little difficulty. Broken color was also adapted
within the technique by making extremely small lines or dots that over all
would make the piece. (Beyond Impressionism) While many artists took
different approaches to Post-Impressionism through abstract or still life,
collectively they mutually were opposed to the characteristics that were
impressionism which allowed for multiple techniques and styles to be used in
future movements such as cubism. (B. Thomson)


In the early 20th century, with many similarities like color
and outlines to that of Post-Impressionism, cubism was formed. Cubism is
considered to be one of “the most influential movements in the 20th
century.” (Green) Trail blazed by the popular artists Pablo Picasso and Georges
Brauque, the main characteristic of creating a three-dimensional form using
harsh angles and shapes were used. Abstract and broken, these pieces were used
and depicted from different viewpoints so that the artwork could be taken in
from all angles. (David
Cottington) Using different
movements and styles, color could either be uniform or blended with different
uses of light and shadowing to create even larger amounts of depth. Figure nine
portray not only a large amount of cubism, but also shows shading along with
light to bring out the features of a figure within the abstract use of shapes
in the piece. (Eve Blau)
Geometry with space and dimension allowed for these pieces to look entirely
different at a distance compared to up close.


Abstract art did not end with cubism. Geometric Abstraction is an art
from in which a shape or shapes are placed as a positive space on a negative
space. (Smith) While this art form was used in different times, it took shape
academically in the early 20th century. There are quite a few main
characteristics of Geometric Abstraction such as two-dimensional shapes of very
vibrant colors that together give a very flat look which are placed against a
dark or negative background. Space and uniformity come into a large play with
this type of form because of the idea that these shapes are placed into a
non-illusionistic space. (MOMA) This allows for the shapes to feel as if they
are suspended in some way. While many of these shapes can be seen as just
shapes, this art from can also be seen as absolute or infinite depending on the
viewer. Figure 10 shows that one can look at the very clear limits of on color
and space, but many also can see the never-ending feel of the opposite color
and space that the piece is showing. (Smith) This form portrays many
similarities to the post-impressionism and cubism at which Geometric
Abstraction derived from in both form, color, and space.


In the 1920’s surrealism brought together a different form of themes at
which artists were putting into their pieces. These pieces were known for there
“out there” and illogical themes that seemed to not make much sense. (Breton)
Providing a place for the unconscious to be brought to life, characteristics of
Surrealism is to portray unexpected and surprising content that in all
retrospect bends the rules and is out of the box. Beginning between WWI and
WWII, surrealism focuses predominantly on positive to show a difference against
all the rage and hatred that was coming up against the politics and war in
Europe. (Gérard
Durozoi) Surrealism was brought
together with Cubism and Existentialism, but added its own flare to create a
new form, expression, and reaction altogether.


            While art can be seen consecutively as a way an artist
can express themselves, it is a fact that over time that form of expression has
changed. Through being as realistic as possible or so abstract that unless
told, the work would be hard to understand art is constantly moving. Every
artistic movement that has been or ever will be will allow for future artists
to learn and mold their own styles with techniques that their predecessors
created and used. History, events, and personal tastes have molded the
differences in style, while curiosity and research has allowed artists to
experiment with new ways of creativity. Without this innovation being nurtured
and encouraged, art will stagnate to move forward with the era and time.


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