Type: Controversial Essays
Sample donated: Rex Wolfe
Last updated: August 14, 2019
Painting has been around for thousands of years.
Reaching back tocaveman and reaching to a multitude of cultures, expressing one’s self andtelling a story has existed to teach and learn. One thing that has always beena constant and fact is that painting and art is changing and evolving everyday. Artistic and cultural movements have created a perfect place forindividuals and artists to mold their tastes and styles throughout the years.Taking a look at these important movements will allow to know only understandwhere painting has come from to where it is today, but it will allowindividuals to understand where and why painting and art will be in the future.
The Baroque cultural movement is a period that is often connected withthe Catholic revival. Beginning in the early 1600’s and going through until the18th century, Baroque painting shows deep rich color with highemphasis on shadow and light that gave the feeling of harmony and balance. Thereseemed to be a strong a dark background which allowed for a large amount ofdepth to be used.
(Helen Gardner) Reflecting often withreligious themes, the aristocracy used this style to increase grand impressionand power to others to create drama and bring out passion. (Baroque) In Figure 1 below, we see the shadowusage of the musician emphasize the two individuals that the light isreflecting on. There aren’t many straight or angled curves within this peacewhich allows for the feeling of peace to be given. Murals were a large focusduring the baroque period with a strong emphasis of realism and perspectivethat gave the viewers the sense they were looking into the scene of thepainting. (Panofsky) In Figure two, we see a scene that isalmost like an illusion.
The coloring provided a dramatic effect that reallyportrayed a sense of what Baroque was trying to achieve. (Fargis) Baroque is a religious and artistic time that allowedfor expression of the political and cultural change that was happeningthroughout Europe. Quite opposite of the Baroque style, Neoclassicism had amore simple and symmetrical focus. Beginning in the mid 1700’s, Neoclassismrevived from the classical period that was in Greece and Italy. (Boime) Coinciding with the Enlightenment,Neoclassicism Depicted historical events and themes. The rebellious nature thisera against Baroque and Ricoco, this style contributed artistically to thepatriotism of the French revolution. The period gained a large amount ofpopularity as the artist Jacques-Louis David created the Oath of Horatii in 1785 and opened a studio in which he taught a, “perfectlydefined Neoclassical taste.
” (Bordes) Maincharacteristics Neoclassicism could be described as straight lines, simplistic,little use of color, and using old classical techniques. (Boime) Figure 3 shows how the Neoclassicalperiod no longer portrays a light hearted or peaceful feel. Image 4 also showshow minimalism and space was more emphasized in pieces with the individualbeing the main focus with little detail outside.
The idea of staged scenes thatallowed for simplistic nature and clear-cut scenes brought a high amount ofrelation to the Roman style. Figure 5 shows a controversial piece that allowsfor 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 piecemany protests to be allowed to hang. This was even more controversial withDavid being for the French Revolution.(Lajer-Burcharth) Similar to Neoclassism, the Realism movement worked to also emphasizehistorical scenes with order and straight and geometrical lines.
However, itdifferentiates itself by portraying the world as normal and imperfect than theutopian style that Neoclassism portrayed. (Hunt)Arising in the mid 1800’s after the Revolution, Realism depicted the world ofthe everyday and ordinary situations. Figure 6 shows 3 individuals working in afield. All statuses were portrayed through this artistic style. (Kleiner) Some of the main characteristics ofthis style is that of nature, interacting with each other, light colors andcalmer and routing feel. Color is used in realism with thick pigment that iseither used with swift brushstrokes or blended within the details.
(Stokstad) Realism does more than just changesfrom previous styles, it brings the artwork down from the elite and createsadvancements that can be found today. In the 19th century, small and thin brush strokes thatrepresented light and changing of time was experienced as Impressionism.Artists such as Claude Money and Louis Leroy faced many critiques due to theface that their work going against previous techniques. (Samu) Instead ofdetails, these artists created overall effects with short and broken brushstrokes that contained unblended or shaded colors that we can see in figure 7.Color vibration allowed for their pieces to have an optimistic and lighterfeel. With a different way of seeing, new techniques of light and use of colorgave movement to the candid and still poses. (Wallert)Like many of the techniques before, Impressionism opens many doors for artisticexpression and development for future artistic movements. Mostly a French art movement, Post-Impressionism came about in the late19th or early 20th century.
Created to go against the naturaltechniques that impressionism created, Post-impressionism focused more onabstract, cartoonish, and going back to basic shapes. Colors were vibrant andused little to no shading. (Grafton Gals) Shown in figure 8, strokes full of brokecolor or dark outline provided for shapes and figures to be easily outlined andthe form to take place with little difficulty. Broken color was also adaptedwithin the technique by making extremely small lines or dots that over allwould make the piece. (Beyond Impressionism) While many artists tookdifferent approaches to Post-Impressionism through abstract or still life,collectively they mutually were opposed to the characteristics that wereimpressionism which allowed for multiple techniques and styles to be used infuture movements such as cubism. (B.
Thomson) In the early 20th century, with many similarities like colorand outlines to that of Post-Impressionism, cubism was formed. Cubism isconsidered to be one of “the most influential movements in the 20thcentury.” (Green) Trail blazed by the popular artists Pablo Picasso and GeorgesBrauque, the main characteristic of creating a three-dimensional form usingharsh angles and shapes were used. Abstract and broken, these pieces were usedand depicted from different viewpoints so that the artwork could be taken infrom all angles.
(DavidCottington) Using differentmovements and styles, color could either be uniform or blended with differentuses of light and shadowing to create even larger amounts of depth. Figure nineportray not only a large amount of cubism, but also shows shading along withlight to bring out the features of a figure within the abstract use of shapesin the piece. (Eve Blau)Geometry with space and dimension allowed for these pieces to look entirelydifferent at a distance compared to up close. Abstract art did not end with cubism. Geometric Abstraction is an artfrom in which a shape or shapes are placed as a positive space on a negativespace.
(Smith) While this art form was used in different times, it took shapeacademically in the early 20th century. There are quite a few maincharacteristics of Geometric Abstraction such as two-dimensional shapes of veryvibrant colors that together give a very flat look which are placed against adark or negative background. Space and uniformity come into a large play withthis type of form because of the idea that these shapes are placed into anon-illusionistic space. (MOMA) This allows for the shapes to feel as if theyare suspended in some way.
While many of these shapes can be seen as justshapes, this art from can also be seen as absolute or infinite depending on theviewer. Figure 10 shows that one can look at the very clear limits of on colorand space, but many also can see the never-ending feel of the opposite colorand space that the piece is showing. (Smith) This form portrays manysimilarities to the post-impressionism and cubism at which GeometricAbstraction derived from in both form, color, and space. In the 1920’s surrealism brought together a different form of themes atwhich 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 ofSurrealism is to portray unexpected and surprising content that in allretrospect bends the rules and is out of the box. Beginning between WWI andWWII, surrealism focuses predominantly on positive to show a difference againstall the rage and hatred that was coming up against the politics and war inEurope. (GérardDurozoi) Surrealism was broughttogether with Cubism and Existentialism, but added its own flare to create anew form, expression, and reaction altogether. While art can be seen consecutively as a way an artistcan express themselves, it is a fact that over time that form of expression haschanged. Through being as realistic as possible or so abstract that unlesstold, the work would be hard to understand art is constantly moving. Everyartistic movement that has been or ever will be will allow for future artiststo learn and mold their own styles with techniques that their predecessorscreated and used.
History, events, and personal tastes have molded thedifferences in style, while curiosity and research has allowed artists toexperiment with new ways of creativity. Without this innovation being nurturedand encouraged, art will stagnate to move forward with the era and time.