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Art

 

Art is created for many reasons and enjoyed for many too. However, one thing that art surely does is expand our perspectives and the common visual languages with which we see everything. When pristine ideas are introduced by artists in their work, it receives a lot of criticisms and is often seen as incomprehensible. But gradually, with time, the best and most effective of these ideas are accepted. We see a flower, a butterfly, a person or a girl almost every day. But artists give us a new way to see these familiar things and interpret common situations or events through various kinds of visual shorthand. The creation of masterpieces may be an artist’s intentional work or side effects of other purpose.

Cave Paintings
We can understand the history of everything through art. Right from prehistoric depictions of bison to contemporary abstraction, artists have addressed their time and place in history and expressed universal truths for tens of thousands of years.

 

Cave Paintings

The cave arts of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic ages were actually an art movement. It predated writing and printmaking and engulfed the genesis of both painting and sculpture making. The art during this time represented the world and beliefs of prehistoric people through visual representations. That was their only medium of communicating and listing. Art arose with the appearance and scattering of people from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia, and America. Their paintings, sculptures, engravings and later pottery reveal not only a quest for beauty but also complex social systems and spiritual concepts.

Classical Paintings

Classical Art dates back to as early as 500 BC. To show respect for their vast shrine of Gods the Greeks created marvelous sculptures and amazing architecture with marbles. One of the far-reaching innovations in sculpture was the nude Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles, an Athenian sculptor. The artists during this time were bent on portraying the beauty of humans and created sculptors that were mostly natural. Despite the common belief, these sculptures were not white when completed but were brushed in a wide variety of colors. Later on after the Greeks were conquered, the Romans adapted their style as they believed it to be unparalleled. Most of the classic art of this era that survives today is Roman and not Greek.

 

Medieval Art

Following the Roman Empire’s downfall, Western Europe became decentralized except for the Catholic Church. Europe then saw a period of artistic backwardness as the refined methods of art from the classical period was forgotten. Artists began to focus on religious things. There was very little perspective and the art became disproportionate. The art was mostly flat and two dimensional and followed a hieratic scale.

Renaissance

The contact with the Arab world and rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts, Renaissance brought an enormous change in Europe culturally. Following the Greek and Roman methods before them, Renaissance paintings were focused more on discovering the human individual rather than purely on religion as what had happened in the medieval era. Renaissance paintings depicted realism and had an accurate perspective. They had a natural background with lots of light and shadowing.

 

One of the most celebrated artists during Renaissance was Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance man. Brilliant in a number of fields, besides being an amazing artist, he was also an accomplished scientist, architect, mathematician, musician, sculptor and engineer. Because of his gigantic procrastination and because his techniques were destructive, only fifteen of his paintings survived.

 

Baroque

To compete with protestant churches for worshippers, Catholic church sponsored the creation of good religious art and architecture called the Baroque movement. Baroque art is characterized with Christian themes, rich color, intense shadowing and hugely dramatic scenes.

Neoclassicism

Inspired hugely by Enlightenment, Neoclassicism developed as a response to the declining Rococo Movement. It comprised of a much darker subject matter and was often used in French politics under the influence of leaders like Maximillian Robespierre and Napoleon Bonaparte. It adopted many features of the Greek and Roman era. Poses of figures, drapery of fabric and types of paint are all evidence of this.

 

Romanticism

This originated as a revolt against the age of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution. Unlike the previous era, Romanticist artists created paintings much more dreamy and imaginary than neoclassical artists. The paintings appealed to the emotion of fear and awe through nightmarish narratives and mesmerizing natural shorts.

Realism

It began as a rejection of imagination and objectivism of Romanticism and focused more on acute observation of the real world. Artists during this time were characterized by painting daily situations of ordinary people and displayed audacity by painting explicit subjects like prostitutes. Besides this Realism paintings were painted while outdoors.

Oedipus Cursing his Son, Polynices by Henry Fuseli

 

Impressionism

During the industrial revolution, the impressionist movement began. Impressionists sought to capture a single moment in time and laid more emphasis on the effects of light. It was characterized by small yet visible brush strokes, open composition and real life subject matter.

Post Impressionism

Unhappy with the trivial subject matter of its predecessor, post Impressionism began in France. It made a strong emphasis on light and had distinguishable brush strokes. Additionally, it became an even greater medium for expression and was not afraid to have a subject matter that was not orthodox.

 

Expressionism

Expressionism commenced on Germany at the end of the 19th century. It concentrated more on the emotion of color than the practicality of it and appeared abstract most of the times. These artists looked forward to express the meaning and emotion of an experience and ended up distorting their work immensely for added emotional effect.

Surrealism

It began as a rejection of imagination and objectivism of Romanticism and focused more on acute observation of the real world. Artists during this time were characterized by painting daily situations of ordinary people and displayed audacity by painting explicit subjects like prostitutes. Besides this Realism paintings were painted while outdoors.

 

Pop Art

Towards the late 1950s pop art happened. It focused on subjects that people wouldn’t normally call art, like advertisements, consumerism and pop culture. Nonetheless, because pop art incorporated pop culture, it was easily accessible to the average human.

Today we have art in the form of a beautiful blend of strokes of the past with the lines of the creative present that keeps evolving with time.

 

“Art is to console those who are broken by life”
-Vincent Van Gogh