Humans have been painting and creating art for thousands of years. It first began in prehistoric times, when symbols were painted in caves as a way of communication, and has evolved into modern art. Throughout the centuries art has been widely influenced by the trends and events occurring in society. The rediscovery of ancient art and literature, study of anatomy, and the Protestant Reformation, shaped the art of the Renaissance. Neoclassicism was shaped by the Age of Enlightenment, fascination with Roman art and revolutions around the world.
The world was in shambles after World War I, which caused war refugees wanting to escape reality, thus influencing the art movement of Dada. The Renaissance began in the early 1400s in Florence, it was considered the rediscovery of the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Artists began to study the body and the natural world, so they could realistically recreate humans and nature, the Protestant Reformation took place, decreasing the sway of the Church, the study of God was replaced by the study of the human body.
Sandro Botticelli, an Italian artist known for his golden-haired maidens, which have similarities to Byzantine art. Botticelli’s nude paintings epitomized the Renaissance, these were some of the first, outside of the influence of Christianity. One of his most famous paintings is the “Birth of Venus”, which is a nude painting of a woman in a seashell, shows his attention to detail and his study of anatomy. Leonardo Da Vinci was another well-known artist and considered to be one of the most versatile geniuses.
He constantly stressed the intellectual aspects of art and creativity and was obsessed with mathematical experiments. His notebook page, “In the Womb,” captures his theory of the growth of a human fetus in the womb. His illustrations were so accurate that they could be used in modern day. Leonardo’s many journals, including “In the Womb,” were inspired by the scientific research, especially the study of anatomy, that was so popular during this time period. Hieronymus Bosch was a painter from the Netherlands, he had many paintings that were inspired by irrational dream imagery.
He believed that if mankind was corrupt, they would be seduced by evil and suffer consequences. One of his well-known paintings was “The Garden of Earthly Delight”. This painting was different than other paintings that had a religious theme because it focused on the secular world and sins, other than God and heaven. I am a fan of Renaissance art due to the artists’ abilities to recreate human bodies and nature, so accurately, and the connection to ancient Roman and Greek art. Compared to the art movements before the Renaissance, there is more detail and accuracy included in the works.
Neoclassicism lasted from 1790 to 1820, it was a revival of Classicism as a reaction against the Rococo style. The Rococo style was very ornate and extravagant, while Neoclassicism was politically correct and serious. The Age of Enlightenment took place in the 18th century, where the faith in logic led to orderliness. In 1738, an archeology-mania had swept Europe, excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum had taken place. There was suddenly a fascination with ancient Rome and their art. Many paintings illustrated tales from ancient history and mythology.
Several revolutions broke out during this time period, including the French Revolution, South American Revolution and Mexico gaining freedom from Spain. Paintings underscored the moral message of patriotism. Jacques-Louis David was a French painter who is considered to be one of the creators of Neo-Classicism. When on a trip to Rome, he saw classical art for the first time and was inspired. His work “Oath of the Horatii,” is inspired by the forthcoming French revolution, the mood of self-sacrifice is illustrated rather than self-indulgence.
The new age of stoicism art was a form of propaganda for the republic. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was a star pupil of David, but he went even further than David in devotion to the ancients. His paintings were very Greek and preached logic. His painting, “Paganini” has photographic precision, which allows his portrait of Paganini to almost exactly duplicate his appearance. This painting displays how the Age of Enlightenment effected artists and their style, making it very rational. add another artist)
The Neoclassicism art movement interests me due to the accuracy of the paintings and the simplicity compared to the gaudy Rococo style. In the early 1900s, the world was shook with its first global conflict, World War I. The war caused major destruction. Art changed dramatically after this event, forming a new art movement called Dada, which lasted from 1916 to 1922. Founded by a group of World War I refugees, its name came from a nonsense world. This art movement protested the madness of war and wanted to denounce authority and shock people.
Jean Arp, the founder of Dada’s goal was to exploit the irrational. He believed that anything could be art, which was very distant from all previous art movements. His work, “Mountain, Table, Anchors, Navel,” consisted of free forms, and an overall simple piece. Marcel Duchamp a French artist and prime mover of both Dada and Surrealism, changed the concept of what art is. He invented the art form ready-mades, two of his works include a bicycle wheel mounted on top of a stool and a controversial urinal with writing on it. His work, “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. ” is a portrait of a nude overlapping itself.
This painting helped progressive art become very powerful and made American artists aware of the artistic shift in France. Max Ernst, a Dadaist and Surrealist, wanted to jolt the viewer of his art to mental attention. When he was a child, he suffered from hallucinations while suffering from a case of measles, he later realized he could create almost psychotic episodes. Ernst used the psychotic episodes to turn them into art. His work “Two Children Threatened by a Nightingale” causes viewers to be stunned by the title. The work itself is also very strange.
I am personally not a fan of the art movement of Dada, it can seem aimless and extremely odd at times. I myself like traditional art, rather than modern art. Throughout history art has shaped by the events taking place in the world. The rediscovery of the ancient academia , study of anatomy, and the Protestant Reformation, shaped the art of the Renaissance. Neoclassicism was influenced by the Age of Enlightenment, fascination with Roman art and revolutions around the world. The disaster that World War I created, war refugees to escape reality, thus influencing the art movement of Dada.