Modern Art Essay Modernism refers to a series of successive art movements and the particular artistic tendencies that unite them. It also refers to the era that included the omission of previous art styles and a rebellion against the past. Van Gogh was a significant figure in the modernism era, as was Edouard Manet, who was considered to be the "Father of Modern Art" in his own right. Modernism began as a European phenomenon and its roots can be traced back to the romanticism and realism of the 19 th Century. Modernist art is not, as is sometimes wrongly perceived, the art of today, (art done by living artists is called contemporary art), it is said to have ended sometime between the mid 1950's and early 1980's.
The end of this era signified the beginning of an even more perplexing movement, Post-Modernism. During the Modernist era many modern times emerged and what followed was a succession of interesting and completely different periods for art. For example the Impressionist era (1875-1890), Expressionism (1905-1930) and Cubism (1905-1915). Modern art was the artistic liberation from traditional rules and conventions, and the freedom of colour accurately representing an object. It rejected the past and was a relentless quest for radical freedom of expression.
Instead of one art style dominating for centuries, many different styles "sprang up" in the form of isms. Modern art styles included Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, DaDa, Surrealism and Abstract expressionism. The following art styles are ones that happened in the time frame that Modernism is said to have ended. Pop art, Op art, Conceptual art and Photo-Realism. Edouard Manet was one of the first artists to break with the academic tradition and depict subjects taken from contemporary everyday life. He startled critics with the modernity of his artworks, his work was indicative of the sea change in attitude that typifies modernism.
One of Manet's most famous paintings was "Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe" (Luncheon on the grass) made in 1863. The panting was for social purpose and the style the French Artist employed was pure modernism with the hints of Impressionism. Manet was influenced by photography and Japanese prints. The artwork depicts a naked woman and two "well-to-do" looking gentlemen enjoying a picnic in the woods.
Further in the background we can see a girl bathing in the water. Lush vegetation surrounds them with a beautiful expanse of water stretching into the distance. Emphasis is placed on the strong-flat colour, harsh-natural lighting, broken brushwork and the "raw" fresh appearance of the painting. This artwork evokes a feeling of calm into the viewer due to its naturalness and relaxed presentation.
Despite the absurdity of the situation, everything seems in its right place and ultimately right. The painting is an oil on canvas creation. I, as the viewer, feel drawn to this painting because of the naturalness and happiness of the painting. I am intrigued to the reason why a woman is dining naked with two men while another is bathing in the water behind. I like the un proportional bodies of the women and their soft curves, they suggest relaxation to me. The figures all look content and calm which in turn makes me feel content and calm.
Van Gogh was a modernist painter who was prominent in the Post-Impressionist era (1880-1900). His artworks possessed the defining characteristics of modern art. They stressed private concerns, experiences and imagination as their source of art. His art moved from the pretence of rendering nature toward pure abstraction where form, line and colour dominated. He used techniques learnt from the Impressionists.
An example of Van Gogh's art is his creation "The Chair and the Pipe." Made in 1888 by the Dutch artist, the purpose of this artwork is personal. Van Gogh's style is typical of the post-impressionist period that he was a leader of. His own feelings and emotions mainly influenced him, but he learnt a lot from the Impressionists and their methods. In "The Chair and the Pipe" we see a chair as the dominant feature with a pipe and tobacco resting on it. There is a door, tiled floor and a pot plant in the background. This painting expresses Van Gogh's loneliness and depression, his craving for a friend.
This artwork follows an earlier piece he made called "Bedroom at Arles" when he was anticipating the arrival of his new friend Gauguin. The chair was a pair, on for himself and one for his friend. In "The Chair and the Pipe" the chair is single representing the leaving and loss of Gauging friendship and Van Gogh's return to solitude. The most important elements of design in this piece are colour and texture. Bold colours, Yellow against blue walls and strongly drawn outlines of the chair in blue create unity in the painting. The paint has been applied thickly to create texture along with short, choppy brushstrokes.
This painting possesses the aesthetic quality loneliness. Van Gogh successfully conveys his feelings of loneliness to the viewer and evokes the same feelings in them through the single chair, the closed door and the leftover pipe. The painting is an oil on canvas creation. I, as the viewer, dislike this artwork. Although the colours are attractive, I do not appreciate Van Gogh's use of brushstrokes and texture. I prefer a more fresh, clean image.
I do not like the way this painting makes me feel and the way Van Gogh constantly echoes his depression in his pieces. I enjoy much more an artwork that gives off a pleasant air and evokes feelings of happiness and relaxation. There were many key factors that changed art in modern times and advanced the art-making process. Such factors include the Machine age, social structure, the birth of photography, the quickening pace of life, transport, influence of the East, the Orient and Africa, Archaeology, World War I and World War II, economic crises, advances in science and technology and the introduction of new improved materials.
All these aspects of the modern world affected realistic traditions in art and brought about the many changes in the era we know as Modernism. An important era which included the many "isms" and completely changed the way an artist expressed themselves. They were given more freedom to paint what they wanted, and in the style they wanted. There were no boundaries, traditions or rules restraining them. Modernism was a complicated movement.
When asked the question "What is Modernism?" , the best definition would be: Modernism describes the relationship between modern art and modern times.