Study Guide to Art History Exam for Canterbury Visual Arts Grade 12
Copyright © Respective Artists/Authors 2005.
By Vanessa (Make sure you give her a big sloppy kiss)
Notes: Tim doesn’t go into this much detail in the exam. He might ask you on two specific artists and a couple periods but that’s about it. Everything else is kind of common sense and should come to you easily if you listened to his lectures or read the notes. Don’t over memorize or you’ll just forget it all. Also, try not to tell Tim about this. Even though he doesn’t mind, I’d rather him NOT putting this up in class and mentioning my name about some old joke he has about me.
Baroque is the style of the Counter-Reformation in the seventieth century in which artists sought movement, contrast, emotional intensity, and variety in their works.
Poussin and Rubens set the agenda for Classical and Romantic art.
A style of art that portrayed dramatic and exotic subjects perceived with strong feelings. This style of painting is more visceral, appeals more to your senses and emotions, has a more obvious brushstroke, and is generally warmer. For example, Rubens’ Decent from the Cross, Jesus’ body is twisted for a greater dramatic effect, the colors are more vivid, and there is more emotion from all of the characters.
Classical Art had a colder, conservative, and a more intellectual feel to it. It was more narrative than Romantic art, and was more symbolic. For example, Poussin’s Holy Family on the Steps (Virgin of the Steps) had no emotion from any of the characters.
The classical theme applies to Jacques Louis David’s Oath of Horatti, a big supporter of the revolution, and many of his pieces were a political commentary or outright propaganda. He was the father of Neo-Classicism.
Neo-Classicism was a nineteenth-century French art style that originated as a reaction against the Baroque style. It sought to revive the ideas if the of ancient Greek and Roman art.
Goya painted The Third of May which was slightly romantic, in that certain aspects of it were exaggerated. I.e. the distance of the shooters from the people. But it was realistic none the less, he didn’t idealize the figures. This led into Realism.
A style of art that portrayed dramatic and exotic subjects perceived with emotional intensity. Some of the paintings even seem dreamlike.
Géricault painted The Raft of Medusa. The figures are traditionally romanticized, in the ancient Greek and Roman way (with perfect, muscular bodies, and chiseled features) and made the characters of mythic proportion. He also went to the morgue to study dead and decomposing bodies, in order to make the piece more realistic. He was, therefore, looked back upon during the realism movement.
Manet painted Olympia a painting that for its time was considers scandalous and ugly. It was in your face, and was the first time the female body had been depicted in that way. Manet went against idealization and painted people just as they were. One critic said Olympia looked like a “short little monkey.”
Realism occurred around the same time as romanticism and focused more on the everyday life of the artist’s surroundings. Normally choosing peasants and the poor as their subjects, the artists portrayed the lower-class society of their time.
Daumier drew caricatures (of politicians and whatnot), and did many political pieces which had great strength and he was arrested several times because of it. He also painted and when he did, his subjects were the underbelly of society and were all depicted realistically. In his painting Third Class Carriage his illustrative style can be seen in the lines he used in many of the subject’s faces.
Courbet was considered the “Father of Realism” because of his writing about realism and his thoughts against romanticism. He thought that painting a very realistic scene was enough to incite a great deal of emotion, so no exaggeration was necessary. “You paint what you see and that’s it.” His painting Burial at Ornans depicted a part of everyday life for its subjects and was honest in representing them. The darker feel of the funeral was what it would’ve been like.
Eakins was the “Father of Realism” in America. His painting The Gross Clinic was stark and frighteningly realistic for its time. Once again, he was painting the mundane parts of everyday life with no effort to make it pretty. He was 20 years later than the other realists.
Romanticism Butting With Realism
Turner and Whistler began breaking down pure elements on the canvas such as light and color, and this makes them forefathers of Realism. They were not worried so much with realistic subjects as they were with dealing with how light and atmosphere affected subject matter. They also helped kick off Impressionism.
Turner originally focused more on realistic landscape. Eventually Turner’s pieces became more and more abstract so that no defined subject matter could be seen. The ships disappeared into black dots.
Whistler began to call his paintings after musical terms, to emphasize that he did not want to imitate nature, whether in his landscapes, portraits or figure studies. His paintings were not about subject matter but beauty. They were to be evocative like music. Whistler declared: As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of color.
Rodin’s figures in his sculpture Burghers of Calais were slightly idealized, but the statue was put at ground level (rather than being up on a pedestal) so that they looked vulnerable. The sculpture was done in clay and then cast. The rough texture and lack of polishing and refining makes the viewer feel closer to the artist. It makes the piece more personal.
Degas was the first artist to add clothes or a part of the subject to the piece. In his sculpture Ballet Dancer Degas added the girl’s dress to the statue, and this took realism and sculpture to another level. He also concentrated on ballet dancers in his paintings.
Impressionism is a style of paining that started in France during the 1860’s. Impressionist artists tried to paint candid glimpses of their subjects and emphasized the memory effects of sunlight. These artists also worked outside rather than in the studios. They stressed the effects of atmosphere and sunlight on their subject matter. (As you can see, Whistler and Turner “Landscape Artists” influenced this movement a lot.)
Monet did a lot of series dealing with light to catch the impression of natural light at a moment in time. Monet would have sometimes up to ten different canvases that he would work on an hour at a time depending on what kind of light there was at that time of day.
Renoir painted people in a candid kind of way, while dealing with light. His figures would fuse into one another and the surroundings. The sharpness of the details are not important in his paintings. Just remember one word, “Pretty!”.
Degas was budding against Realism. He gave the impression of daily life and dealt with awkward moments in time. For example, his wife in the bath. This popularity in capturing snapshots of people’s day-to-day life coincides with the introduction of photography into the art world.
Mary Cassatt’s art was a lot like Dagas but she dealt with the tenderness between mother and child from the perspective of a woman. She was the first artist to do this. All previous mother-child paintings were usually of the Christ child and Mary or showed the more “dutiful” mother rather than show real emotion.
Post Impressionism 1880-1910
This is a French art movement that immediately followed Impressionism. The artists involved in this movement showed a greater concern for structure and form than did the Impressionist artists.
Vincent van Gogh is the “Father of Expressionism” and influenced fauvism. In his pieces, he highlighted color in a more subjective way, and he highlighted color that would have the biggest emotional impact on the viewer. His brush-stroke gave energy to the piece. He is known for his later pieces, such as The Starry Night. The poor guy was also bi-polar and had epilepsy.
Seurat used color theory in his paintings, and was very interested in how the eye perceives color. He invented Pointillism, thus, making him the Father of Pointillism. He began simplifying the canvas, and got the ball rolling for abstraction.
Gauguin was the “Father of Symbolism and Fantasy Art” and influenced Matisse and the Fauvists down the road. He moved from Paris to more exotic areas such as Tahiti. He was very influenced by other countries and their traditional methods of painting. His work had a certain decorative quality to it, he flattened out shapes, and he painted what was in his head.
Cezanne abstracted his subject-matter but painted form real figures. He used sketches of his pieces and broke down the figures, giving them defined plains on their bodies, and simplifying them a bit. He is the Forefather of Cubism.
Led by Paul Serusier, the Nabis group of painters were dedicated to following the example of Paul Gaughin in his painting and color techniques. Their name derived from the Hebrew word navi, which means prophet. The group was comprised of Post-Impressionist artists who became interested in graphic art. The movement shared many of the ideas of the Art Nouveau style and Symbolism. Les Nabis began as a rebel group of young artists who met and formed at the Academie Julian in Paris. In addition to fine arts, members of the group also worked in printmaking, poster design, illustration, textiles, furniture, and set design. (Something not important. Just know how it influenced.)
Symbolism is an art style developed in the late 19th century characterized by the incorporation of symbols and ideas, usually spiritual or mystical in nature, which represent the inner life of people. Traditional modeled, pictorial depictions are replaced or contrasted by flat mosiac-like surfaces decoratively embellished with figures and design elements.
Moreau came out of Gauguin and NABIS. His goal was to get back to content, content he felt had been lost over the years. His art had a fantastical feel to it, and was quite narrative.
Redon was budding against the expressionists and helped begin surrealism coming form fantasy and symbolism in art. He began his art career with charcoal and lithograph but moved on to pastel and oils which dominated his later works.
Sezession (Early Expressionism) 1890
Klimt, like Gauguin, flattened his figures and his paintings had a strong element of design and decoration to them. Klimt’s paintings were also extremely erotic, considered pornography at the time, and often got him into trouble with the law.
Schiele, along with Klimt was often arrested because his art was considered, at the time it was being made, to be pornography. He painted highly charged images and his main theme he addressed was the passions of our lives ex. Birth, life, sex, and death. Both artists’ works were kind of underground at the time because they were not widely accepted.
Early Expressionism 1890
Expressionism was a twentieth century movement in which artists tried to communicate their strong emotional feelings through art works. The artist tends to distort reality to achieve an emotional effect.
Picasso’s painting Tragedy is considered to be slightly romanticized but it also has a very real feel to it. He is not romanticizing any of the figures and is depicting real life. This was done during his “Blue Period”.
Munch also depicted real life in a very emotional way. For example, The Scream and Life’s Dance. All his work was extremely expressive and there is no debating what he was trying to emote through his pieces.
Fauvism was an early-20th-century artistic movement led by Henri Matisse, from the French word fauve or “wild beast”. Characteristic elements include the use of vivid colors and distorted shapes to achieve extremes of emotionalism.
Derain and Matisse both had very expressive qualities to their work especially in the color they used. Matisse broke down his subject-matter in order to show color, and felt that when you started rendering, you lost the true essence and beauty of the color you were working with.
German Expressionism (Three Inter-movements)
The Bridge 1905
German Expressionism was influenced by the predominance of French painting. German artists had seen the paintings of the Impressionists and the beginnings of Fauvism in Paris. German expressionism in a simplified way can be seen as the German version of Fauvism. The name The Bridge was chosen to emphasis the link to other art movements like the European Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Tribal Art and contemporary art movements outside Germany. This movement was characterized by the flattening of color and space (like toe Fauves) and the style was slightly ‘primitive’. They assumed that life in a ‘primitive’ culture was simplistic, and tried to keep the mentality of keeping things simple when they were doing their work.
Nolde often had a religious undertone to his pieces. He kept the “primitive” feel to his art as well.
New Objectivity 1918
The New Objectivity was an art movement which arose in Germany during the 1920’s in opposition to expressionism. Although these artists all had highly individual styles, in different ways their work addressed and reflected the political and social unrest and disillusionment that prevailed in Germany following WWI. The photographer or artist remains an impartial observer, intensifying the appreciation of forms and structures in ordinary things but de-personalizing his/her approach. The subject-matter for the New Objectivity artists was everyday life in Germany. They were influenced by African art, used less color, and there work was more ‘primitive.’
Grosz was influenced by war and Picasso. He painted in a raw style and his style was a combination of The Bridge and Cubism.
Blue Rider 1911
Der Blaue Reiter (German for “The Blue Rider”) was an art movement started in Europe just after the turn of the century. The artists who took part were considered to be the pioneers of abstract art, and their work was characterized by exuberant color and profoundly felt emotionalism. Coming from a number of European countries, the painters, writers, poets, and composers who joined The Blue Rider dedicated themselves to the search for a common spiritual basis in a new international culture. Marc painted ‘Blue Horses.’ This sums up the Blue Rider movement because it shows how the subject of the painting was secondary to color.
Cubism was the most influential style of the twentieth century, developed in Paris by Picasso and Braque. Analytical Cubism is based on the simultaneous presentation of multiple views, disintegration, and the geometric reconstruction of objects in flattened, ambiguous pictorial so space; figure and ground merge into one interwoven surface of shifting planes. Color is limited to neutrals. Synthetic Cubism began to appear; it was characterized by fewer, more solid forms, conceptual rather than observed subject matter.
Picasso’s Les Demoiselles D’Avignon was a brutal painting depicting prostitutes in a very unflattering way. The painting shows multiple angles all at the same time, was greatly influenced by African tribal paintings and African masks. People hated this painting and even Picasso’s colleagues were shocked by it. He kept it a big secret while he was working on it because he knew it was not going to be well received by the public. “Picasso de-constructed the traditional ways of painting and looking at art, and then re-constructed a new reality.”
Futurism dealt principally with movement, speed and machinery. This was one of several movements to grow out of Cubism. Futurists added implied motion to the shifting planes and multiple observation points of the Cubists; they celebrated natural as well as mechanical motion and speed. Their glorification of danger, war, and the machine age was in keeping with the martial spirit developing in Italy at the time. They also opposed traditionalism and sought to depict dynamic movement by eliminating conventional form and by addressing the speed, flux, and violence of the machine age. Artist depicted the hustle and bustle of society, but the whole theme of movement pretty much ended with Futurism. They depicted movements in sculpture as well as in painting. Photography also had an important role in this movement (shutter speed).
Leger The Mechanic with the use of primary colours including black and white. His earlier pieces also included very mechanical shapes such as tubes and blocks. He gradually worked towards more organic objects which assumed more irregular shapes.
Russian Constructionism 1213-1917
Destinl was interested in breaking down form, shape, line and color. There was a higher intellectual feel to his paintings, and he didn’t want subjects to intrude on the purity of painting.
Mondrian was breaking down his work to its purist form. He thought a balance in color would be the most satisfying experience people could get from looking at art. All the lines in his paintings could continue infinitely, and he did hundreds of his little blue, red, and yellow paintings.
Malevich combined the fragmentation of cubism and the manipulation of futurism. He however, was fired with the desire `to free art from the burden of the object’ and launched the Suprematist movement, which brought abstract art to a geometric simplicity more radical than anything previously seen.
Marcel Duchamp was kind of the father of conceptual art and ready-mades. His work was anti-art after the war, and he was against western society because of the things they had done during the war. The DADA movement started with writing, then collage work, and then ready-mades (found art). This movement and Duchamp were both pivotal as far as conceptual art goes. Duchamp later dealt with machines in a pseudo-erotic way to comment on industrial society! He is also one of the most elitist conceptual artists. People loved to analyze the hell out of his work, when really his message was really straight forward.
Metaphysical Painting 1917
Metaphysical painting is an Italian art movement founded in by Carlo Carr and Giorgio de Chirico. They aimed to depict an alternative reality which engaged most immediately with the unconscious mind. In this style of painting, an illogical reality seemed credible. Using a sort of alternative logic, Carr and de Chirico juxtaposed various ordinary subjects, typically including starkly rendered buildings, trains, and mannequins.
Dechirico depicted in his paintings the feeling of something that has been taken away. He dealt with the space between our conscious and subconscious mind.
Surrealism is a movement grew out of Dada and automatism. Based upon revealing the unconscious mind in dream images, the irrational, and the fantastic, Surrealism took two directions: representational and abstract. Dali’s and Magritte’s paintings, with their uses of impossible combinations of objects depicted in realistic detail, typify representational Surrealism. MirÙ ‘s paintings, with their use of abstract and fantastic shapes and vaguely defined creatures, are typical of abstract Surrealism.
There are two main kinds of surrealism: Biomorphic Surrealism where the work is completely irrational and there is no planning at all. The piece takes on a life of its own and the artist would try to attain a trance-like state while doing this kind of work. Basically the artist was just building one form from the previous form. (Miro did this kind of work)
Dali represented his dreams in a realistic and narrative way. Freud (the psychoanalyst not the artist) was important in this movement because of his theories on the subconscious.
Armory Exhibition NY 1913
Many works were brought over form Europe to NY and people were shocked. They thought that the artists couldn’t draw and it did not get good reviews at all. People generally didn’t understand works like Nude Descending the Staircase because in the states, the art world was behind by a few movements. Although much of the public didn’t like the show, many young artists were inspired and excided by what they saw.
The realistic artists known as the Ashcan rebelled against the idealism of the academic approach and chose to paint the life around them. Most of these artists had been cartoonists or illustrators. The Aschans chose the subject matter of city’s nightlife, cafés, streets, alleys and theatres. Their goal was to record all of the city’s color, excitement, and glamour. Artists such as Bellows was part of this movement.
Regionalism is an art movement of the 1930s that focused on portraying aspects characteristic of American life. Midwestern painters are identified most closely with the trend, depicting scenes of rural America, often with a nostalgic tone, but some regionalists also focused on urban life.
Hopper and Cadmus painted his figures in a narrative style. Hopper was overshadowed by Pollock and focused more on “Realism”.
Tobey is a good example of how artist were beginning to go more abstract.
Abstract Expressionism 1945
Abstract Expressionism originating in New York City emphasized form and color within a nonrepresentational framework. It emphasized spontaneous personal statement, freedom from accepted artistic values, surface qualities of paint, and the act of painting itself. Pollock, de Kooning, Motherwell, and Kline, are important abstract expressionists. Jackson Pollock initiated the revolutionary technique of splattering the paint directly on canvas to achieve the subconscious interpretation of the artist’s inner vision of reality.
Jackson Pollock’s paintings were “action paintings” and were meant to be a record of his “performance.” Therefore, the scale of the paintings went up so that he would be able to make huge sweeping gestures with his arm, or whatever. Some people like them.
William de Kooning wasn’t an action painter or a field painter, but his paintings were abstract and they were expressive. He painted almost grotesque, insulting, and ugly women which expressed that a woman is a great deal more than just a pretty face, but a complex human being with unique interests, skill, and responsibility.
Mark Rothko did field paintings that were very big. He dealt with colors to give an emotional impact and to make the viewer feel something. When people looked at his paintings, they felt an almost seperation from the colours which reminded them of sad times, deaths, etc. People CRIED in front of these paintings because it was such an emotional experience for them, looking at a color.
Readymades is taking something which is already made and putting it into an art gallery. Taking average items out of context and making it art. You saw it with Duchamp’s urinal. Assemblage is basically the same thing except less LAZY. It is collaging real objects onto a canvas or a piece of art. Rauschenberg did that thing with the tire and goat thing which wasn’t included in this.
Style of painting where the artist handles the materials in a rough/raw way, usually depicting violent emotion. It is a rejection of traditional standards of composition and design, lack of concern for idealizing or beautifying the figures.
This art movement includes Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Jenny Saville, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and George Immendorff.
Neo Dada 1955/Pop Art 1960
It was an anti-intellectual art movement which involved lots of “appropriating” of other material, stealing from magazines or ads to put them in new contexts.. ie comicbooks. Early appropriating started with Andy Warhol’s slew of cosumer goods and his Brillo Boxes/Campbells soup. Alot of his art was very humorous to some.
Performance and Installation Art
Joseph Beuys. He stayed in a room with a wolf and talked to a dead rabbit… this was pretty hard to miss. He saw himself a “healer and a teacher”. This was the type of art where the artist became part of the art, usually because of the very weird things he did.
Ron Mueck and how he influenced sculpture by making realistic scluptures which are much larger than what we can refer to. For example, the 11 foot tall preteen girl or the 3 foot small “dead dad”.
Tim talks a bit about photography and land art. More likely than not, it won’t be on the exam. So don’t really worry about it. This is more for your own interest than anything.