Art History. Painting Periods

Topics: Impressionism, Modern art, Cubism Pages: 5 (1440 words) Published: August 26, 2012
The paper aims to trace the development of painting through the following periods: baroque, neoclassicism, realism, impressionism, post-impressionism, cubism, geometric abstraction, and surrealism. They make up the history of painting and help to understand the stages of its development and why modern painting looks like it looks. Baroque: (1600 - 1750)

Baroque was a characteristic of a style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid-18th century. Baroque artwork combines dramatic compositions, beautiful details, and emotionally charged subject matter to give viewers as intense a visual experience as possible. Its original meaning – “irregular, contorted, grotesque”—is now largely superseded. It is generally agreed that the new style was born in Rome during the final years of the sixteenth century. Baroque Art is less complex, more realistic and more emotionally affecting than Mannerism. The “The Union of Earth and Water” by Rubens is a good example of Baroque style painting. Rubens shows off his skill at arranging several figures in a beautiful swirling composition while perfectly depicting each element of the painting—flowers, fruits, cloth, and flesh. The painting’s drama, movement, violence, exuberance, exaggeration, large scale, and strong contrast of light and dark are all characteristics of Baroque style, which is very different than the Neoclassicism. Neoclassicism: (1750 - 1830)

Neoclassicism is a nineteenth century French art style and movement that originated as a reaction to the Baroque. This period gave rebirth to the art of ancient Rome and Greece and the Renaissance as an opposition to the ostentatious Baroque and Rococo art that preceded the movement. Neoclassicism emphasized rationality and the resurgence of tradition. Neoclassic artists used classical forms to express their ideas about courage, sacrifice, and love of country, and they incorporated classical styles and subjects, including columns, pediments, friezes, and other ornamental schemes in their work. Neoclassical painters took extra care to depict the costumes, settings, and details of classical subject matter with as much accuracy as possible. Much of the subject matter was derived from classical history and mythology. The movement emphasized line quality over color, light, and atmosphere. David and Canova are examples of neo-classicists. The “Oath of the Horatii” is a large painting by the French artist Jacques-Louis David. It depicts a scene from a Roman legend about a dispute between two warring cities. Realism: (1850 - 1880)

Realism was a mid-nineteenth century art movement and style in which artists discarded the formulas of Neoclassicism and the theatrical drama of Romanticism to paint familiar scenes and events as they actually looked. Typically it involved some sort of sociopolitical or moral message in the depiction of ugly or commonplace subjects. It was an opposition to the traditional approach to Neoclassicism and the drama of Romanticism. It is defined by the accurate, unembellished, and detailed depiction of nature or contemporary life. The movement prefers an observation of physical appearance rather than imagination or idealization. In this sense, Realism can be found in movements of many other centuries. Realists strived to paint scenes as they actually appeared. Often the artists depicted ugly and common subjects that normally alluded to a social, political, or moral message. For example, in “Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet”, Gustave Courbet has painted himself on the right side. This self-portrait offers a number of significant clues as to how the artist thought of himself or perhaps how he wished to be seen. Impressionism: (1865 - 1885)

The history of modern art begins with Impressionism, a movement founded in Paris as an opposition to the rigid traditions favored by institutions such as the Academie des Beaux-Arts. The Impressionist style of painting emphasized loose imagery rather...
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