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Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Post-Impressionism Art

The term Post-Impressionist was coined by an English artist and art critic Roger Fry. It was included in the title of an exhibition of modern French painters, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, which was organized by him at the Grafton Galleries in London in 1910.
In 1872, a French painter Claude Monet introduced a revolutionary mode of painting through his Impressions, Sunrise (1872). Several painters followed this path, which was rightly termed as Impressionism. The movement focused on visible brush strokes, natural, fleeting light in a particular moment, and a painter’s impression of everyday surroundings. The movement was in rage for almost a decade with its last exhibition held in 1886.

However in 1886, younger artists called for a change. They were not satisfied with how the Impressionism movement’s obsession of light overshadowed the subject matter of a painting. However, these artists could not decide on one way to defy Impressionism norms. The fact about Post-Impressionism art movement is that the artists developed their individual style, which is collectively called Post-Impressionism.

Edvard Munch described the soul of Post-Impressionism aptly in these words, “Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…It also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”
Post-Impressionists like Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac brought a structure and order in paintings. They used solid colors to depict their surroundings in their paintings. Pointillism technique was introduced, which is a systematic use of small color dots.
Subject matter was reduced to basic shapes using saturated color dots. The style was also identified as Neo-impressionism and Divisionism among the artists. Paintings were made with separated shapes or marks, each with a single color, which the painter believed to be visually blend within the viewer’s eyes.
Post-Impressionist painters Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh painted to give a symbolic and personal meaning to their paintings. Though their subject matter was their surrounding, they refused to look around them to draw inspiration. Instead, they drew inspiration from their memories of the subject matter and what they felt about them. Saturated colors and broad brush strokes were used. They believed in painting the painters’ emotional impression of the things that connect with the viewer on a deeper level. As Vincent van Gogh had said, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” Paul Gauguin developed a theory of Synthetism based on this, which was included in the encompassing Post-Impressionism movement. Pure color, strong lines, and two-dimensional was used to depict artists’ feeling about the subject matter. He had said, “I shut my eyes in order to see.”

Many Post-Impressionists had brought Primitive in their painting by using vivid style and symbolic content. Henri Rousseau pioneered the Symbolism style. The non-Western art forms were usually borrowed. Jungle scenes, simplified and conventional subject matter, and abstract forms were used to present painters’ interpretations of his memories and subconscious.

Though the movement was centralized in France, the style of painting was adapted by non-French artists too. For example, the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch adopted ideas from Symbolism and used them to create his own personal style.

By 1910, the structured and organized Post-Impressionism style gave birth to Cubism movement, and the expressive and non-geometric side of Post-Impressionism led the way for Expressionism. By the end of that year, movements like Fauvism, Expressionism, Surrealism, and Cubism became dominant that developed from the various styles of Post-Impressionism.

Characteristics of Post-Impressionism Art
► Though the artists were teamed up under one title, Post-Impressionism, they had their own style. However, they were united in one goal, i.e., to push the limits of Impressionism.

► Post-Impressionists preferred real-life subject matter for their paintings. However, they chose to depict those subject matters from their memory or subconscious mind on a canvas.

► The impression of the subject matter wasn’t the general impression, but it had a deep meaning attached to it. Usually geometric shapes were used for the purpose. Sometimes abstract figures could be seen.

► The movement was known for personal exploration of colors and composition on the artist’s part.

► Powerful brush strokes were used to depict the artist’s impression on the canvas. With thick and spontaneous brush strokes, saturated colored dots were also practiced.

► Colors were vivid in the paintings. Paint was usually thickly applied. Most of the time, single-colored forms were painted side by side, which were merged in the viewer’s perception.

Famous Post-Impressionist Painters
◆ Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
France Van Gogh postage stamp
◆ Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cezanne
◆ Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
◆ Georges Seurat (1851-1891)
◆ Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
◆ Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)
◆ Paul Signac (1863-1935)
◆ Émile Bernard (1868-1941)
Examples of Post-Impressionism Art
  • Crowns over a Wheatfield
  • Crowns over wheat field
  • Divisionism: Still-life
  • Divisionism art
  • Pink House
  • Pink house painting
  • Old Tower in the Fields
  • Old tower in fields
  • Pointillism: Houses
  • Pointillism painting houses
  • Flowers in Grass
  • Flowers in grass painting
  • Old Town
  • Old town
  • Waterlilies
  • Water lilies
Édouard Vuillard, a French painter, has beautifully summed up the whole thought behind Post-Impressionist art movement―”Who speaks of art speaks of poetry…There is not art without a poetic aim…There is a species of emotion particular to painting. There is an effect that results from a certain arrangement of colors, of lights, of shadows. It is this that one calls the music of painting.”

Representational Art

The word ‘representational’ originates from the word represent, which means to denote. Likewise, representational art, by definition, represents the art that finds resemblance with the real world. The onlookers of this art form can associate the elements with actuality. And it is this feature of this art form that has garnered appreciation of people from all walks of life. This is the most superior of meanings that could be associated with representational art.

Nonrepresentational art, on the contrary, is that art form bears no elements that has similarity with the real world. It allows room to its viewers to interpret a piece of art in his own way. It is the artist’s way to emote his own experiences, or experiences that he has known in his life. Such works are laden with the artist’s perspective of the object. As far as the nonrepresentational history is concerned, we can infer that in the last part of the 19th century, emerged a pressing need to have an art form that would stand in total contrast to the stark depiction of reality. Thus, came into the fore, non-representational art, which in itself is a broad terminology, and has within its ambit, a plethora of elements that is beyond the scope of this article.

Having understood these, we can say that most paintings and sculptures can be divided into either representational art or non-representational art. Well, the answer is certainly an affirmation of the question. Representational art is also known as figurative, and nonrepresentational art is known as abstract. Figurative art is directly influenced by real-life sources, while the abstract art is an embodiment of the artist’s creative waves and the interpretation by the viewers. This phenomenon resulted from artistic independence. Representational art showcases humans, elements in nature such as trees, birds, flowers, etc.

Origin

• The very first representational art dates back to the prehistoric times, when the prehistoric men carved paintings on the caves.

• The purpose of it was to represent human or animal form. Venus of Willendorf is one of the living examples of a piece of representational art.

• Apart from this, there are also opinions that Australian rock art discovered on the caves may also be one of the oldest forms of figurative art attempted by humans.

Let’s recognize some of the characteristics of this art form in the sections given below, and also take a look at some of the marvels of this art form.

Characteristics of Representational Art

• A representational artist is an observer. He executes and reflects in his art form, what he sees through his eyes and captures in his mind. But, a room for discretion is always left, wherein he alters with the actual object. Thus, representational art is correlated to observation.

• Representational art has within its ambit an imagery, which is brought about with the help of mental process of representation. The minimum requirement for this type of art is a piece of object, which could be replicated.

• Figurative art is an important characteristic of representational art. The word in itself is an explanation of the characteristic; i.e., it is influenced by a figure. In fact, this is the most important characteristic because without this, the art would not retain its meaning.

• Some of the key features that figurative art has to take account of is the correct usage of elements such as the combination of light and shade, color of the object, and the tone. As it is the replication of the figurines, therefore, the piece must highlight the same to the maximum.

• The characteristic feature of representational art is based on the viewpoint of a single focus, unlike representational art which follows no clear distinct focus.

• What we mean by a single focus is that the artist tries to view the object from a single viewpoint so that his replication is closest to the original.

• Edward Hopper was an enthusiast of representational art. He is considered as one of the best examples of America’s most prominent realistic painters.

• A burning example of representational art is Renaissance art. This art form was driven by the principle of humanism. The core belief of humanism was to represent elements that were close to the real life, rather than symbolism. Mona Lisa of the Renaissance period is an example of representational art form.

• Fresco and tempera are two great techniques that were highly practiced in representational art. These techniques were used by Florentine artists. Michelangelo was one such Florentine artist.

• The influence of industrial revolution on this art form was innate. Depiction of reality, one of the many characteristics of representational art, escalated a peak at that time.

• Color in this art form was held at the helm. It was utterly important to depict the object in the same color as seen in reality.

• Another noteworthy characteristic of representational art is the impressionist mode of painting. This developed during the period of Impressionism. The point that this method emphasized on is on the use of accurate brush strokes that would define reality in toto.

As far as categorizing representational art is concerned, there isn’t much scope to diversify it into categories and groups. One straight and simple reason for this is that the artist has to cling to his depiction of the object in its true color, form, and texture. There is no room for variation, and hence, varieties would be vague in this context. So, in conclusion, it could be safely said that representational art requires great skills and a strong sense of color, tone, and light, apart from drawing skills.

Art History

Art history is a subject that is unfortunately, rarely taught in schools. In most instances, the gateway to this topic is a trip to a museum, or to a city like Rome or Florence that’s renowned for its role in the history of the artistic world. For this reason, it takes a bit of initiative on the part of individuals who want to learn more about artists and their work. But rest assured, the energy and time that it takes to learn about art history is worthwhile!
Visit Museums
The best place to start when determining which artists and movements you want to study, is a museum. Take a trip to your local museum, and take notes about your favorite pieces. You can note down the overall appearance of the object, describe its details like the composition and materials used such as acrylic or watercolor, and begin to discuss the work before moving on to the next object. If photography is allowed, take snaps of the paintings you love and the information placards hung beside them. You can go through your photos later, to decide which artist or movement is your favorite (and which one you would want to study first).
Check Websites
The Metropolitan Museum of Art contains quality material for art students and educators. Art History Resources is another source that provides information on Prehistoric art, the evolution of art in different countries and various time periods, such as the early Christian art, Medieval art, Gothic art, Baroque art, etc. Artcyclopedia provides a comprehensive list of links to image archives and museum websites which can be found by the titles and locations of the artists. Another site, Virtual Library for History of Art, provides links related to art history. Smarthistory (a part of the Khan Academy since October 2011) offers over thousands of art videos and essays from around the world.

Also, various textbooks have developed websites to test your knowledge about art. There may be crossword puzzles, multiple choice questions, and more activities to engage in. So, check out for such interactive websites.

Visit Museum Gift Shops
When you get to the end of a museum tour, take a stroll around the gift shop. In most museums, the gift shop is loaded with books about the artists and paintings that are featured in the exhibits and collections. If you had a favorite, ask the gift shop employees if there’s any additional information available. If nothing else, snagging a post card of your favorite painting is a great reminder of your trip and the painting that took your breath away.
Take Up a Course
You can also take up Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postgraduate courses in art history. There are institutes which offer research programs and short-term courses in art history including theory classes, gallery talks, site visits, workshops, and seminars. Internships at museums and cultural and community arts organizations can provide scope for professional growth and careers in art history.
Take Notes when on Vacations
Art encompasses more than just paintings; there is art all around you! When exploring a new city while on vacation (or even when getting to know your city a bit better), take notes about buildings or sculptures that you really like. You can learn more about the artists and architects who created these pieces and find out where more of their work is located. Many art history enthusiasts plan vacations around artistic pieces. For example, art history buffs often travel to Italy to see the works of art such as paintings, sketches, and sculptures of art masters like Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and other famous artists. Paris is another place that is home to a large number of museums of varying sizes and specialties, and is a wonderful place to study art history. The vibrant Prague offers magnificent architecture and beautiful works of art. Other places to explore art are London, South America, Australia, South Africa, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Spain, and Egypt.
Seek Books about Artists and Art Movements
A Google search of your favorite paintings and artists can provide you with a lot of information. However, sometimes the best place to turn to is a bookstore. Whether you want to shop online or have your local bookstore order what you’re interested in, leveraging the written word is one of the best ways to explore art history. By learning about your favorite artists’ lives, you can better understand their work and what their pieces are conveying. The same goes for overall artistic movements. For instance, a book about Impressionism can teach you how this movement started, and which artists were the most influential in its development. A few popular art history books are ‘Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel’ by Stefano Zuffi , ‘Gardner’s Art Through the Ages’ by Christin J. Mamiya, Fred S Kleiner, and Helen Gardner, ‘The Story of Art’ by E.H. Gombrich, ‘History of Art’ by H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, ‘Seven Days in the Art World’ by Sarah Thornton, and many more.
Art history is a fascinating subject, and it’s one that you can certainly learn about on your own.

The Pop Art

The above line best describes pop art and the movement which led to its popularity. Initially, art was restricted only to things worthy of aesthetic sense like human nudes, human faces, landscapes, and still life. But pop art movement started including celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, popular foods, branded products, household items, etc. It was inspired by contemporary society, news, magazines, and even comics.

This Buzzle article discusses the characteristics and significance of this movement, along with some celebrated pop artists and their works.

Characteristics of the Movement

★ Pop art was visually attractive, as use of bright and bold colors like red, yellow, blue was prominent. Techniques like color blocking, use of black outlines and Ben-day dots―a printing technique in which dots are used to render effects―was a significant aspect of the pop art movement.

★ Silkscreen painting, use of acrylic colors, also became very popular. Paintwork became much sharper and lines clearer.

★ Recurring themes in pop art were food, household items, and many other mundane objects. Unimaginable objects like toilets were also a part of pop art. For example, Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Toilet.

★ Logos, brand names, and product names were used. Campbell’s Soup Cans labels by Andy Warhol, for example.

What Prompted the Movement

★ The main idea behind this movement was to establish the fact that art is not elitist, it can be about common people or day-to-day things.

★ It was a strong reaction to the abstract expressionism, prevalent after World War II. Pop art was a successful attempt to pull back society from abstraction.

★ The pop art movement was, to an extent, inspired by the Dada movement, but was at the same time dissimilar to it. Dadaism was all about anti-art works, whereas pop art was all about art for the masses.

Evolution of Pop Art

★ One of the most popular art movements, the pop art movement began in Britain in the early 1950s, and spread to America by the late ’50s.

In Britain

★ A group of painters, sculptors, writers, and critics called Independent Group, was a harbinger to the pop art movement in Britain.

★ Eduardo Paolozzi, a co-founder of the group, created a series of collages called Bunk! These were influenced by magazines, comics, and other graphic works that represented contemporary society.

★ In fact, one his work Rich Man’s Plaything, was the first work of art to have the word pop on it. It was written on smoke coming out of a revolver.

★ The British pop art movement used strong symbolism from the American society and its growing prosperity.

In America

★ Artists started using irony and parody, along with inspiration from real-life to withdraw from abstract expressionism.

★ By 1960, pop art had officially become famous, and artists like Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine held their first exhibitions.

★ Andy Warhol, the most popular pop artist of all time, had his first solo exhibition in 1962.

★ Pop art in America was much more bold and aggressive than its British counterpart.

Leading Pop Artists

American

★ Robert Rauschenberg
★ Jasper Johns
★ Roy Lichtenstein
★ Andy Warhol
★ Jim Dine
★ Robert Indiana
★ Ray Johnson
★ Alex Katz
★ Claes Oldenburg

British

★ Sir Peter Blake
★ Patrick Caulfield
★ Richard Hamilton
★ David Hockney
★ Allen Jones

Most Popular Works

★ I was a Rich Man’s Plaything, Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi
★ Flag, Jasper Johns
★ Bed, Robert Rauschenberg
★ Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different?, R. Hamilton
★ Dual Hamburger, Claes Oldenburg
★ 210 Coca-Cola Bottles, Andy Warhol
★ Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol
★ Campbell’s Soup Can, Andy Warhol
★ Love, Robert Indiana
★ Ale Cans, Jasper Johns
★ Souvenir, Jasper Johns
★ Brillo, Andy Warhol
★ Drowning Girl, Roy Lichtenstein
★ Whaam!, Roy Lichtenstein
★ Estate, Robert Rauschenberg
★ Field Painting, Jasper Johns
★ Choke, Robert Rauschenberg
★ Retroactive, Robert Rauschenberg
★ Great American Nude, Tom Wesselmann
★ Floor Cake, Claes Oldenburg
★ Triple Elvis, Andy Warhol
★ F 111, James Rosenquist
★ The Diner, George Segal
★ Electric Chair, Andy Warhol
★ Big Painting No. 6, Roy Lichtenstein
★ Soft Toilet, Claes Oldenburg
★ Ingrid Bergman, Andy Warhol
★ A Bigger Splash, David Hockney
★ Lisp, Edward Ruscha
★ Geometric Mouse, Claes Oldenburg
★ Jo Sofa, De Pas, Lomazzi, D’Urbino
★ Floor Burger, Claes Oldenburg
★ Still Life with Goldfish Bowl, Roy Lichtenstein

Significance

★ What makes the pop art movement so significant, is that it brought art to the common man. It acted like a bridge between commercial arts and fine arts.

★ Pop art reflected contemporary society; therefore, viewers could connect with the art. It made a strong visual impact on the audience.

★ Although it was scorned by critics, and called a big joke without any humor; it was appealing to the general public.

★ Artists started experimenting with different mediums, which brought a novelty to art. Acrylic painting, collage on canvas, silkscreen printing, use of highly contrasting colors made art more attractive.

★ Pop art movement, pop artists, and their works, have influenced generations of artists. And even today, we can see many references of pop art in graphics.

Rauschenberg believed that painting is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world. That is what the pop art movement was all about.