Archive for the 'Realism' Category


Posted in Realism on January 19, 2013 by

“The element of chance was important as they believed everything had become pointless and damaged – there was no point trying to use skill or spend time creating anything of quality.”

  • With reference to this statement, find 3 Dada examples. 

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp

Perhaps the most famous and controversial Dada artwork of all was Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. It consisted only of a urinal set on its back, but it raised a powerful question: “What exactly is worthy to be called art?” After all, this work of art is just an ugly toilet. But more than just being unappealing to look at, Fountain also attacked the idea that art takes time and effort to make. Duchamp called it a “readymade” piece. . . something we call “found art” today.


Raoul Hausmann 

Raoul Hausmann
“Mechanical head “

Dadaists created Three dimensional works of ‘art comprising elements’ this became known as assemblage. Works such as ‘Mechanical head’ by Raoul Hausmann looks exactly like a three-dimensional collage piece—in that he used a basic sculpted head and then attached various found objects to it. Artists often created mundane works to illustrate the ‘meaningless’ of materialism and society. The random objects attached to the head suggest that this work was Anti-Art.


 Raoul Hausmann

Raoul Hausmann
Photomontage/mixed media
(15.1 x 10.1 cm)

Photomontages also became a popular addition to the Dada movement. The technique of photo-montage was embraced by artists such as Raoul Hausmann, this is evident in piece ABCD.  Artists appropriated photographs, newspaper cutoffs, maps and other reproductions from press to comment on the mass media and modernism. This work is an example of Anti-Art as it shows poor technique oh purpose.

  • Do you think their work is meaningless? Do you think that their style has had an impact on Art in the 21st Century? Explain your reasons. 

I don’t think their work is meaningless but I wouldn’t consider it art and they didn’t even consider it as art. Dadaists rebelled against the society and made what they called “Anti-Art” to comment on their decline of nationalism, rationalism, materialism and the war. At the time of Dada the order of the world destroyed by World War I, Dada was a way to express the confusion that was felt by many people as their world was turned upside down and that confusion can be seen through their “art”. Dada style has had an impact on Art in the 21st Century as it inspired some artists to use collage in their artwork and make sculptures out of found objects.



Posted in Realism on January 19, 2013 by
  • Find ONE example from Die Bruke.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Self-Portrait as a Soldier, 1915
Oil on canvas
(69 x 61 cm)

  • Find ONE example from Der Blaue Reiter.

Franz Marc

Franz Marc
The Yellow Cow, 1911
Oil on canvas
(140.5 x 189.2 cm)

  • How are they the same or different?

Both movements were similar in that they were German expressionists, who shared interests in primitivist art and the Fauves. However, they had their differences.

Die Brücke, (more raw emotion)
Die Brücke expressed more raw and extreme emotion than typical of the blue rider group, through high-keyed color that was very often non-naturalistic, employed a drawing technique that was crude, and unlike Kandinsky they shared an antipathy to complete abstraction.
The Die Brücke artists’ emotionally agitated paintings of city streets and sexually charged events transpiring in country settings. This can be seen in Kirchner’s disturbing “Self-Portrait as a Soldier” as he used bright colours and is expressed extreme emotions about the brutalization of the human relation of people and the loss of human relationships.
Der Blaue Reiter (more spiritual with some nonobjective abstractions)
Within the group there were differences in opinion, artistic approaches, and aims which varied from artist to artist; however, the artists shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art. They believed in the promotion of modern art; the connection between visual art and music; the spiritual and symbolic associations of color; and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting. This can be seen in Marc’s “The Yellow Cow” as he used colours such as reds, blues and greens to bring about a feeling of pure happiness to the viewer.

  • Why do you think artists were exploring such themes in their artmaking?

Because they wanted to reveal inner, spiritual and emotional foundations of human existence, rather than the external, surface appearances depicted by the Impressionists.

  • Choose one Expressionist theme and illustrate with an example. Describe the artwork and what the artist was trying to convey.  


Käthe Kollwitz


Käthe Kollwitz
The Parents (Die Eltern) (plate 3) from War (Krieg)
(1921–22, published 1923)
(47.3 x 65.3 cm)


The Parents is one from a series of woodcuts about World War I. Unlike most war images, which highlight the military or the battlefield, Kollwitz chose to focus on the emotional damage inflicted on the home front, especially on the women who lose sons, husbands, and brothers like shown in this woodcut. Kollwitz herself never recovered from the death of her son Peter who, only months after joining the German army, was killed in combat in 1914. Five years after his death, finding herself dissatisfied with lithography, Kollwitz experimented with the woodcut medium, hoping to find a print technique with which she could convey her grief, as well as strengthen and simplify her images. Searching for universal icons for the devastation imposed by war, she exploited the woodcut’s inherent qualities to express the raw agony of war on the human psyche, slashing and gouging the wood to heighten the emotional impact of her images, and often silhouetting her black figures against the stark white smoothness of unprinted paper. By starkly simplifying and isolating her figures in this woodcut, she concentrates their emotion and makes it universal.



Posted in Realism on January 19, 2013 by

‘Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting’ by Boccioni

“Everything moves, everything runs, everything turns rapidly.  A figure is never stationary before us but appears and disappears incessantly.  Through the persistence of images on the retina, things in movement multiply and are distorted, succeeding each other like vibrations in the space through which they pass.  Thus a galloping horse has not got four legs; it has twenty and their motion is triangular… At times, on the cheek of a person we are speaking to in the street, we see a horse passing in the distance.  Out bodies enter into the sofas on which we sit, and the sofa enter into us, as also the tram that runs between the houses enters into them, and they hurl themselves on to it and fuse with it… We want to re-enter life.  That the science of today should deny its past corresponds to the material needs of our time.  In the same way art, denying its past, must correspond to the intellectual needs of our time.”


  • Refer to the Futurist Manifesto, how do you think these artists have captured the essence of their goals in their artworks?

Giacomo Balla

Giacomo Balla
Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912
Oil on canvas
(91 x 110 cm)

– In Futurist spirit, Balla’s art is inspired by movement and speed. Here, observers focus their gazes on a passing dog and its owner whose skirts the artist Giacomo Balla placed just within visual range.  He achieved the effect of motion by repeating shapes, as in the dog’s legs and tail and in the swinging line of the leash.


Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni
Elasticity, 1912
Oil on canvas
(100.06 x 100.06 cm)

– Like other futurists, his work centred on the portrayal of movement, speed and technology. This particular painting is the synthesis of the movement of a galloping horse. A literal demonstration of horsepower, Boccioni’s machinelike horse, with its virile, black-booted rider, thunders across an appropriately mechanized landscape of high-tension poles and factory chimneys.


Posted in Realism on January 19, 2013 by

1. Illustrate what the Cubist pictorial language is. 

Cubism was a highly influential visual arts style of the 20th century that was created principally by the painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The Cubist style emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane, rejecting the traditional techniques of perspective, foreshortening, modeling, and chiaroscuro and refuting time-honoured theories of art as the imitation of nature. Cubist painters were not bound to copying form, texture, colour, and space; instead, they presented a new reality in paintings that depicted radically fragmented objects, whose several sides were seen simultaneously. Typical cubist paintings frequently show letters, musical instruments, bottles, pitchers, glasses, newspapers, still lifes, and the human face and figure.

2. Do this by annotating an example to show how they have defined space. 

Georges Braque
Bottle and Fishes,1910
Oil on canvas
(61 x 75 cm)


3. Describe the three types of Cubism. Find examples of each.

  • Primitive Cubism – this phase began in 1907 with Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon and a famous Braque Nude (1907). These paintings show the influence of Cezanne in the analysis and simplification of form. In Les demoiselles d’Avignon there are other more “primitive” aspects which can be traced back to an Iberian sculpture and North African masks. Such primitive and exotic sculpture combined a strong conceptual (as opposed to a perceptual) element, with the expressive power exerted by magic.

Pablo Picasso
Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907
Oil on canvas
(243.9 cm × 233.7 cm)


  • Analytical Cubism – went from 1910 to 1912. Paintings executed during this period showed the breaking down, or analysis, of form. Right-angle and straight-line construction were favoured, though occasionally some areas of the painting appeared sculptural, as in Picasso’s “Girl with a Mandolin” (1910). Colour schemes were simplified, tending to be nearly monochromatic (hues of tan, brown, gray, cream, green, or blue preferred) in order not to distract the viewer from the artist’s primary interest–the structure of form itself.

Pablo Picasso
Girl with a Mandolin, 1910
Oil on canvas
(100.3 x 73.6 cm.)


  • Synthetic Cubism - evolved out of the new technique of papier colle (colle means glue) begun by Braque in 1912. Works of this phase emphasize the combination, or synthesis, of forms in the picture. Colour is extremely important in the pieces’ shapes because they become larger and more decorative. Smooth and rough surfaces are contrasted with one another; and frequently non-painted objects such as newspapers or tobacco wrappers, are pasted on the canvas in combination with painted areas. This collage technique emphasizes the differences in texture and poses the question of what is reality and what is illusion in painting.

Pablo Picasso
Still Life with Chair-Caning, 1912
Oil and oilcloth on canvas, with rope frame
(27 x 35 cm.)


4. How has Picasso appropriated features from other cultures in his work. 

Due to the expansion of the French empire into Africa, Picasso became aware of colonial exploitation and abuse of indigenous people in Congo, and also of the great wealth of African culture that was being brought back to Europe. Between 1907 and 1909, a phase that is referred to as his African Period, Picasso’s work was inspired by his interest in indigenous arts, particularly African masks. Picasso was influenced by Cezanne’s analytical method and the force of African sculpture. In his Les demoiselles d’Avignom there are primitive aspects that can be traced back to Iberian sculpture and North African masks. The faces of the three women on the left are based on the Iberian sculptures and the faces of the two women on the right on the African totem art, which he collected.

5. What impact did these other cultures have on the emergence of Modern Art such as Cubism?

They influenced many artists with different techniques and the way they paint. Cubism was heavily influenced by the African art styles and culture as seen in Picasso’s work such as Les demoiselles d’Avignom in which we can see the influence of Iberian sculpture and North African masks.



Fauvism “the wild beasts”

Posted in Realism on January 16, 2013 by

“When I put a green, it is not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky.”

Investigate when the Fauves first exhibited. 

Fauvism is a movement that was first shown in the 1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris. The Salon d’Automne was intended to exhibit works that were more cutting edge. The Salon was against the more conservative and traditional Salons in France. The fauves used vibrant colours and expressive brushstrokes to create distorted imagery and worked “against the perception of depth”. This revolutionary exhibition showcased artists such as Henry Matisse who who broke conventions of art through his use of definitive color, line, and brushwork, Maurice Vlaminck and André Derain.
Which critic coined the term ”The Wild Beasts”?

According to Henri Matisse, “Fauve art isn’t everything, but it is the foundation of everything.” However, contemporary spectators did not always understand Matisse’s aims and were outraged by Fauve paintings. They astonished viewers at the 1905 Salon d’Automne: the art critic Louis Vauxcelles saw their bold paintings surrounding a conventional sculpture of a young boy, and remarked that it was like a Donatello “parmi les fauves” (among the wild beasts) because of their use of uncontrolled, abrasive, and intense colours.


Some examples that explain WHY he called it this. 


Henri Matisse
Woman with a Hat, 1905
Oil on canvas
(79.4×59.7 cm)


André Derain,
Bridge over the Riou, 1906,
oil on canvas
(82.6 x 101.6 cm)



Henri Matisse
Open Window, Collioure, 1905
Oil on canvas
(55.25 x 46.04 cm)

Do you agree/disagree?

I agree.


Posted in Realism on January 16, 2013 by

1. Who were the Post-Impressionists?
Post impressionism occurred during 1880s to early 1900s  and followed the impressionism art movement. The post impressionists developed on fundamental ideas of impressionists taking the style in a “new direction”. The term was invented by Roger Fry who ran an exhibition which featured artists  Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, George Seurat.. Artists rebelled against the limitations of impressionism. They conveyed emotional, Structural, symbolic and spiritual elements that were not seen in impressionism.
“Post-Impressionists … felt the need to construct private pictorial worlds upon the foundations of Impressionism.”
2. Analyse why their work was considered different to the Impressionists
The post impressionists took aspects of impressionism and exaggerated it, such as their vibrant colour  and intensified it by applying them thickly on the canvas, expressing the emotional qualities of his artwork.  For example, Vincent van Gogh intensified Impressionism’s already vibrant colors and painted them thickly on the canvas (we call this impasto). Van Gogh’s energetic brushstrokes expressed emotional qualities. Therefore, we see him as an off-shoot of Impressionism and a proponent of Expressionism (art loaded with charged emotional content).


Vincent Van Gogh
self portrait, 1889
Oil on canvas
(65 × 54 cm)


In other examples, Georges Seurat took the rapid, “broken” brushwork of Impressionism and developed it into the millions of colored dots that create Pointillism, while Paul Cézanne elevated Impressionism’s separation of colors into separations of whole planes of color.

Georges Seurat
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
oil on canvas, 1884-1886
(207.5 × 308.1 cm)

Georges Seurat
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
oil on canvas, 1884-1886
(207.5 × 308.1 cm)

IMPRESSIONISM – “independants” or “open air painters”

Posted in Realism on January 16, 2013 by

Impressionism was an attempt to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and colour. The impressionists loved painting out of doors. Fascinated with capturing the fleeting moment, Impressionists applied their paint with quick, broken brushstrokes in order to capture the essence of the subject, not the detail. They used vibrant, light colours, sometimes mixed directly on the canvas, in strong contrast with the darker palletes of traditional art.

They were not concerned with a meticulous finish. Rather than painting historical, religious or mythological subjects, the Impressionists chose to paint everyday scenes from the world they knew. Impressionists are also known as ‘open-air-painters’ because they broke away from the artist tradition and began to paint outdoors where they can observe the changing light.

They were influenced by:

  • Japanese art: impressionist artists were heavily influenced by the bold Japanese woodblock prints.”Their asymmetrical arrangements contrasting large areas of flat colour with patches of intricate pattern offered a compositional format that the Impressionists could use to develop their ideas about colour. “
  • Camera invention: Perhaps no invention of the 19th century influenced Impressionism more than the camera. Use of a camera helped some of the artists study movement and gesture to capture a sense of real-life spontaneity. It inspired them to experiment with the candid groupings, off-center focus, deep perspectives, foreshortening, and spontaneous poses that were typical of photographic compositions.


Cloude Monet (French, 1840 – 1926)
The Cliff at Fecamp1 1881
“Landscape is nothing but an impression – an instantaneous one.” – Claude Monet

Alfred Sislet
(French, 1839 – 1899)
A Meadow in Springtime at by, 1881
Oil on canvas

Camille Pissarro
Boulevard Montmartre
oil on canvas

Paul Cezanne
The Seine at Bercy, 1878
Oil on canvas
(56 x 72 cm)

Romanticism to Realism

Posted in Realism on December 1, 2012 by
  • Romantic artists were fascinated by the nature, the genius, their passions and inner struggles, their moods, mental potentials, the heroes.
  • was influenced by events such as the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution and by new ways of thinking, including transcendentalism.
  • Romanticism exalted individualism, subjectivism, irrationalism, imagination, emotions and nature – emotion over reason and senses over intellect.
  • originated late 18th century
  • rebelled against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment  and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature
  • Romantic ideal that Nature is powerful and will eventually overcome the transient creations of machinery.
Here are some artists of Romanticism Era
 Joseph Mallord William Turner  - Slave Ship, 1840 oil on canvas
J.M.W. Turner, was known for beautiful landscapes. This oil on canvas was journalistically criticized as “a passionate extravagance of marigold sky and pomegranate coloured sea.”
Alexandre Cabanel – The Birth of Venus (1863) oil on canvas



  • ”the faithful representation of reality”
  • painted what they see with a ‘true to life’ manner
  • began in France mid 17th century
  • Realism believed in the ideology of objective reality and revolted against the exaggerated
    emotionalism of the Romantic Movement.
  • the general attempt to depict subjects “in accordance with secular, empirical rules”
  • realists positioned themselves against romanticism
  • realism attempted to associate itself with the common man by focusing on everyday issues and problems that affected the middle-and lower-class population.
  • realism endeavoured to supplant the artistic merits of classicism and romanticism by imitating nature.This was done through scientific study and intense scrutiny of the play of light on an object to produce it in its most lifelike colour.

Artists of Realism era

Gustave Courbet, The stonebreakers, 1849, oil on canvas

Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social commentary in his work.” In this painting the artist’s concern for the plight of the poor is evident.


Edouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass (1863)




                             How are they alike?
They are both artistic movements. Both began in Europe and quickly spread to America. Both artistic movements focused on nature and the effects on society. A focal point of each was the poor and working class and the injustices that plagued them.
                          How are they different?

  • Marked by the supernatural, by situations and people that were perfect and out of this world.
  • Deals with a very idealistic view of life where everything is perfect.
  • Characters usually extreme; the hero has all positive qualities, while the villain has all negative qualities.
  • Metaphorical approach to its work.
  • thrilling, mysterious, turbulent
  • Nothing is obvious but is vague and one has to delve within its depths to understand its true meaning.
  • Has a happy ending.

  • Is grounded to reality, with characters and settings that are inspired from real life.
  • No events that occurred in this kind of work were out of the ordinary, and the language used was simple, not glorified.
  • The concept of the work is obvious, and not metaphorical.
  • Everything is evident by its very nature.
  • Highlights the reality of life and does not use any embellishments to cover up what might be perceived as ugly or gory.
  • May not always have a happy ending.