According to Matisse’s artistic enemies, he was a “raging animal” mocking their comfortable realism with bright colors and unconventional forms. Henri Matisse paintings always carried a personality of an unconventional artist
In later years, visitors to his home and studio were surprised to find a mild-mannered gentleman in spectacles and a well-tailored suit. The maniac he was labeled as had never existed, but perhaps it was his creative intensity that was mistakenly perceived as insanity. The challenge, then, was to utilize this passion as a means to achieve the serenity he really wanted out of life.
[caption id="attachment_7349" width="596"] Green Stripe by Henri Matisse[/caption]
It’s been said that from the moment he held a box of colors in his hand, Matisse knew he was destined to be an artist. After his first attempt at copying a lithograph, he wasted no time in enrolling at a local art academy. However, his insatiable creative appetite would not allow him to stop there – after a long and arduous battle with his father, Henri Matisse arrived in Paris in October, 1891.
Taming the Beast
After years of struggling to find his authentic voice as a painter, Matisse finally experienced a breakthrough with his 1905 portrait of Amelie.
[caption id="attachment_7350" width="293"] Henri Matisse Painting[/caption]
Depicted in a soft pink dress rendered with blocks of lavender and sienna, the subject’s face and clothing also contained strokes of green in contrast to these warm tones. Rather than an accurate representation of Amelie’s face, or a metaphorical statement suggesting some kind of jealousy in her expression, the artist’s use of an inaccurate color was an attempt at utilizing the complementary relationship of red and green. As opposites on the color wheel, the two pigments produce a jarring contrast when placed next to each other in a composition.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]There are always flowers for those who want to see them.[/quote_colored]
Matisse was fascinated by this interaction of color and saw the opportunity to achieve a new kind of harmony in his work.
Unfortunately, his audience failed to see the genius in this unconventional innovation. At the Salon d’Automne that year, the portrait was placed next to an academic sculpture that had been dubbed “a Donatello among the wild beasts”, scornfully dismissing the early Impressionist’s freedom of color and its application on the canvas.
Like wildfire, the comment spread, and reviews soon depicted Matisse as a talentless brute attempting to negate the understood artistic conventions of his time. He began to despair, sure that he had made a mistake in his attempt to capture harmony through contrasting colors. But through the saving grace of daring collectors and the support of other avant-garde artists, Matisse was able to push through these feelings of doubt and continue growing as a painter.
[caption id="attachment_7351" width="900"] The Dance by Henri Matisse[/caption]
In one of his most famous works, titled “The Dance”, Henri drew on the memory of Catalan fisherman he had once seen dancing on the Mediterranean coast.
The bright red figures holding hands, twirling and swaying against a sharp blue-green horizon in the background. The simplicity of its composition and the five sinewy bodies in motion captures a primal energy, the colors pulsing against one another.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.[/quote_colored]
Critics called his painting bestial and primitive, and its commissioner nearly backed out of the deal.
Some hundred years later, “The Dance” is one of Matisse’s most recognizable works. He is now regarded as one of art history’s most influential pioneers of Modernism and a pivotal member of the Impressionist movement in painting.
His dedication to the free use of color and the refusal to adhere to his time period’s artistic conventions immortalize Henri Matisse not as an untamed beast, but the unsung hero of any creative soul who’s been told their work is too different to be good.
Sacred Profanity and the Eternal Flame
Henri Matisse is one of many solar flares in the narrative of art history who was underappreciated for his entire life.
Who knows how many creative careers have been cut short, due to the difference of opinion that places value on the work of some artists and condemns the attempts of others. In such cases, it is only the passion of the artist that makes his or her creative process worth such trouble.
Toward the end of his life, Matisse longed to create something monumental that would serve as his legacy. He was profoundly disappointed when nobody asked him to design a state building or museum, as was his dream.
When the opportunity arose to create the Rosaria Chapel, Matisse wasted no time in accepting the commission. This was to the surprise of his friends, who knew him as a steadfast atheist.
A baffled Pablo Picasso inquired, “Why not paint a brothel, Matisse?” To which the artist replied, “No one asked me to.”
Read about the origins of Fauvism and Expressionism
Leo Tolstoy could be called a father of abstract expressionism and the expressionist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. His “Expression Theory” centered on the idea that art elicits and provokes emotion in the viewer. Tolstoy believed that the role of the artist was to provide the viewer with something that would bring out these effects. Abstract Expressionism achieves this by letting the medium and composition communicate for itself. Artists like Pollock believed that it was the viewer (and not the artist) who defines and interpret the meaning of the abstract expressionist artwork thus, there is no relevance on what artist thinks or conveys while producing the work. So, what is abstract expressionism?
What Is Abstract Expressionism?
Abstract Expressionism is an artistic movement of the mid-20th century comprising diverse styles and techniques and emphasizing especially an artist's liberty to convey attitudes and emotions through nontraditional and usually nonrepresentational means.
As per MOMA - Abstract Expressionism is a term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in New York City after World War II, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, more narrowly, as action painting.
[caption id="attachment_4467" width="620"] Number 1 (Lavender Mist) exemplifies gestural abstraction of artist's inner mind[/caption]
The “New York School”, a group of artists including Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning, found the movement with a basis on the value of spontaneous movement and expression. Every one of them was talented and expert in traditional and classical styles of execution. Convergence is one of the initial art pieces of abstract expressionism and considered as the bravest action paintings made by Pollock.
Famous paintings of Jackson Pollock
[caption id="attachment_4472" width="620"] Abstract Expressionism[/caption]
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"] Abstract expressionist value expression over perfection, vitality over finish, fluctuation over repose, the unknown over the known, the veiled over the clear, the individual over society and the inner over the outer
— William C. Seitz, American artist and Art historian[/quote_colored]
The major participants in this movement are roughly divided into two groups: Gestural Abstraction and Colour Field.
a) Gestural Abstraction
Gestural abstraction is clearly evident in Pollock’s and de Kooning’s works which feature vigorous and spontaneous movement through seemingly chaotic marks. The works were created with intention, but the effect is that of random impulse. Pollock let his moods determine the colour and the direction and location of paint that he splattered on a canvas on the ground. It may looks as though he merely stepped back and threw paint at the canvas, but every movement of the can or brush was done with purpose.
[caption id="attachment_4468" width="620"] Willem de Kooning - Door to River[/caption]
b) Color Field
Color Field painters like Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still literally painted fields of colour onto the canvas. Again, though the effect seems simple, the colours in these works observed by an acute audience are made up of several hues that gave them depth and candor to the work.
Beginnings of Abstract Expressionism
The end of WWII had to vary after-effects in the psyche of the American public. The years before the war had been fraught with economic depression. Soldiers returning home from the war had seen horrible destruction, genocide, and atrocities they couldn’t bear to discuss or to contemplate. Women who had been in the workforce and had grown independent and self-sufficient were again donning the mantle of domesticity. The country was putting on a brave face while privately suffering an undercurrent of an identity crisis.
In integrated cultural areas like New York where free thought and intellectualism had always flourished, artists, poets, and other freethinkers were becoming paranoid. The government was increasingly more anti-communistic and society was becoming more homogenized. The artists needed an outlet - A creative outlet to express freely!
[caption id="attachment_4470" width="620"] Abstract Expressionism values human emotion[/caption]
Abstract Expressionism provided a way for artists of all types to deliver feelings and ideas without the worry of public scrutiny of those thoughts. Of course, the public was reticent to accept their works as art, but that did not impede the movement’s freedom of expression.
Forward thinking and powerful collectors like Peggy Guggenheim gave the movement a wider audience and legitimacy so that the movement could grow and evolve into what it is today. Because of careful curation and a respect for the founding artists of the movement, we are still able to enjoy these works.
Features of Abstract Expressionism
Large Scaled Works
Paintings are typically large except in the case of heroic figures of the 18th and 19th Abstract Expressionism and is typically completed on very large canvases or is comprised of multiple canvases meant to be one work.
The movement is not characterized by any one specific style, but strong messages and emotions are paramount to the representation. In any Abstract Expressionist work, it is either the feeling of the artist or of the viewer is in the center stage – not the image itself.
Inspired by Surrealism
Abstract Expressionism takes from Surrealism and delivers the idea that art should be created by spontaneous and subconscious creation. Rather than planning out, sketching, and rendering a piece, the artist follows the flow of feeling and the openness of his mind to create.
The era in which the movement began had put a strain on society, especially that of free thinkers, that was stifling and limiting. Abstract Expressionism gave artists an outlet for their pent-up thoughts and feelings.
Diversity of Colour
Because Abstract Expressionism had no intention of rendering an image of something tangible, experimentation with colour took on a cerebral element. The artists became interested in how colour affected mood and thought.
Regardless of the critic’s viewpoints on that subject, irrespective of the rational definitions of art, the Abstract Expressionists achieved Tolstoy’s ideal and went beyond it to an extent where it helped the viewers to explore thought-provoking ideas about religion, time, space, popular culture, and more.
Abstract Expressionism delivers!
Paul Jackson Pollock widely known as Jackson Pollock was an American painter who was born on 28 January 1912 in Cody, Wyoming, United States and died on 11 August 1956 in Springs, New York, United States. This article contains 15 most famous Jackson Pollock paintings.
Famous Jackson Pollock Paintings
Abstract Expressionism achieves this by letting the medium and composition communicate for itself. Artists like Pollock believed that it was the viewer (and not the artist) who defines and interpret the meaning of the abstract expressionist artwork thus, there is no relevance on what artist thinks or conveys while producing the work
Read What is Abstract Expressionism?
Gestural abstraction is clearly evident in Pollock’s works which feature vigorous and spontaneous movement through seemingly chaotic marks. The works were created with intention, but the effect is that of random impulse. Pollock let his moods determine the colour and the direction and location of paint that he splattered on a canvas on the ground. It may looks as though he merely stepped back and threw paint at the canvas, but every movement of the can or brush was done with purpose.
While it remains challenging to enlist the most famous Jackson Pollock paintings, we've chosen the widely appreciated ones. Have a look
[caption id="attachment_6729" width="300"] Convergence by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Convergence is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1952. This represents earlier works of abstract expressionism and considered as one of the best bravest action paintings. This painting can be viewed at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
Convergence is a huge painting (241.9 x 399.1 cm) - regarded as one of the most famous paintings of Jackson Pollock and must be seen in person to acknowledge it's grandeur. The painting was done during the Cold War, a period of crisis of war and it's aftermath among the people. Abstract Expressionism provided a way for artists of all types to deliver feelings and ideas without the worry of public scrutiny of those thoughts. Of course, the public was reticent to accept their works as art, but that did not impede the movement’s freedom of expression.
One: Number 31, 1950
[caption id="attachment_6730" width="350"] One Number 31, 1950 by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
One: Number 31, 1950 is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1950. In the summer and autumn of 1950, the artist produced three wall size paintings which included this one too. The dimension of this painting are 269.5 x 530.8 cm. This is one of the most famous Jackson Pollock paintings.
[caption id="attachment_6731" width="300"] Shimmering Substance by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Shimmering Substance is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1946. This painting is Jackson Pollock's first completely non-representational works of the abstract art. The dimension of this painting are 76.3 x 61.6 cm.
Mural on Indian Red Ground
[caption id="attachment_6732" width="300"] Mural on Indian Red Ground by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Mural on Indian Red Ground is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1950. This painting is valued at about $250 million and is considered one of Pollock's greatest works. This painting can be viewed at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran.
No. 5, 1948
[caption id="attachment_6733" width="300"] No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
No. 5, 1948 is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1948. The artist was known for his contributions to the abstract expressionist movement. The dimension of this painting are 2.4 m × 1.2 m.
Number 1 (Lavender Mist)
[caption id="attachment_6734" width="300"] Number 1 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Number 1 (Lavender Mist) is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1950. In this painting, the artist used drip painting technique. This painting can be viewed at National Gallery of Art East Building.
Number 11, 1952
[caption id="attachment_6735" width="300"] Number 11, 1952 by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Number 11, 1952 is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock. This painting is also known by the name as Blue poles. It was Pollock choice not to assign names to his works, but rather numbers. This painting can be viewed at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
[caption id="attachment_6736" width="300"] The Deep by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
The Deep is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1953. Many interpretation of this paintings means deep and profound void or hole, a viscous cut or dying man, hence the name The Deep. This painting can be viewed at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
[caption id="attachment_6737" width="300"] Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Autumn Rhythm is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1950. The original title given to this painting was Number 30 but it was changed later. The dimension of this painting are 266.7 x 525.8 cm.
[caption id="attachment_6738" width="300"] The She-Wolf by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
The She-Wolf is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1943. This painting was featured in Pollock’s first solo exhibition at an Art of This Century gallery in New York in 1943. The dimension of this painting is 106.4 x 170.2 cm.
Number 1A, 1948
[caption id="attachment_6740" width="278"] Number 1A, 1948 by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Number 1A, 1948 is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1948. Jackson's wife commented on numbering paintings "Numbers are neutral. They make people look at a painting for what it is—pure painting". The dimension of this painting is 172.7 x 264.2 cm.
[caption id="attachment_6741" width="300"] Stenographic Figure by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Stenographic Figure is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1942. This painting style is bright and airy which reflect perhaps the artist new relationship with painter Lee Krasner. The dimension of this painting is 101.6 x 142.2 cm.
Easter and the Totem
[caption id="attachment_6742" width="211"] Easter and the Totem by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Easter and the Totem is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1953. The totemic forms at the left and right in this painting reflect his renewed interest in using a brush to paint quasi-figurative images. The dimension of this painting are 208.6 x 147.3 cm.
Summertime: Number 9A
[caption id="attachment_6743" width="300"] Summertime Number 9A by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
Summertime: Number 9A is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1948. The rhythms in this painting reflect his belief that ‘The modern artist is working and expressing an inner world. The dimension of this painting is 848 x 5550 mm.
[caption id="attachment_6744" width="282"] Ocean Greyness by Jackson Pollock[/caption]
One of the many famous Jackson Pollock paintings is - Ocean Greyness. It is a painting produced by Jackson Pollock in 1953. Vogue magazine published fashion photographs by Cecil Beaton of models posing in front of Pollock’s drip paintings in 1951. The dimension of this painting is 146.7 x 229 cm.
Regardless of the critic’s viewpoints on that subject, irrespective of the rational definitions of art, the Abstract Expressionists achieved Tolstoy’s ideal and went beyond it to an extent where it helped the viewers to explore thought-provoking ideas about religion, time, space, popular culture, and more.
Jackson Pollock delivers!
A question often asked - Why Is Mona Lisa Painting Famous? At first glance, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa appears to be just another portrait of a woman. The work, painted sometime between 1503 and 1519, features a brown-eyed woman with dark hair, a wide forehead, and a round chin. She’s seated, hands resting on the arm of a chair. A varied natural setting, comprised of roads, rivers, trees, and hills sits behind her.
And yet the masterpiece revolutionized the art of portrait-making.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]There’s the woman’s posture, which invites an interaction with the work’s viewer that had never before existed. Her upper body is tilted to face the viewer, lending a sense of movement to her otherwise static figure. [/quote_colored]There’s the inclusion of a dramatic and varied landscape in the background, a tactic which had rarely been used either.
Ask people what is most distinctive about the Mona Lisa, however, and they will time and again cite the figure’s enigmatic gaze and mystifying smile.
“Do you smile to tempt a new lover, Mona Lisa?” hummed King Cole in his 1950 hit song named after the portrait. “Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?”
Her smile is slight and not evocative of any particular emotion. But what sets the Mona Lisa apart from similar portraits that da Vinci had painted of other women in the history of the work itself.
An Artist and A Scientist
The story of the Mona Lisa’s evolution helps illustrate why the painting itself is so dazzling. Da Vinci wasn’t just a painter; he found himself being drawn to engineering and scientific discovery as well. After completing the portrait, he spent time in both Milan and Rome, where he studied anatomy and served as an architectural advisor, before leaving Italy for good in 1516.
He moved to rural France and abandoned the art of painting for the most part. Instead, he spent time with King Francis I, making sketches of landscapes and festivals for the royal family. After Da Vinci died unexpectedly of a stroke in 1519, the French crown took possession of the Mona Lisa. It remained in the royal family and out of the public eye for several centuries.
When Napoléon Bonaparte, leader of the French Revolution, came to power, he took an interest in the work. He had the portrait hung in the Louvre – where it still lives to this day – in 1804.
Despite its public unveiling, the Mona Lisa didn’t receive much attention or praise at the time. The works of Michaelangelo and Raphael, for instance, were far more popular.
Fast forward a half century, when France’s symbolist poets sparked a renewed fascination with the work and connected it with Renaissance. Much of their poetry revolved around the “femme fatale,” a woman believed to be as seductively dangerous as she was beautiful.
The Subject of a Global Investigation
The painting became the emblem of drama and intrigue after it went missing in 1911. A group of young Italian men, led by a former museum employee, snuck into the museum and walked out on a Sunday afternoon with the work in tow, according to Smithsonian Mag. It’s wasn’t until a museum visitor alerted the Louvre more than a day later that the spot on the wall where the painting should have hung was empty.
The heist made headlines around the world. Visitors flocked to the museum to see the empty spot on the wall where the work once hung. The mystery surrounding the work’s whereabouts turned into a massive international search, culminating in 1913 when the thief, Vincenzo Perugia, tried to sell it to a Florentine art dealer. It indisputably became the most famous piece of art in the world.
Why is Mona Lisa Painting Famous? – Five Interesting Specialties
One of the extremely well known and most admired masterpieces and has always considered as one of the best known, the most valued, the most visited and the most written about work of art in the world
Da Vinci invented a technique called – SFUMATO – where he applied different tones, colors, and shades to build the overall boundaries of the work, rather than using outlines to define the base illustration of the subject. For a painter, it is one of the toughest challenges that one would undertake, but can leave a high sense of satisfaction if the technique goes well
Many debates and theories exist on the absence of eyebrows as some suggest it is a fashion statement of the period, while others argued that it is an unfinished work. There is an alternative theory suggests that the eyebrows were there, but disappeared during the course of time.
When the painting went missing in 1911, the event generated much hype and the heist made headlines around the world, where the people flocked to the museum to see the empty wall where the work once hung
It is definitely enigmatic – A grin that was brought to life by Da Vinci through his SFUMATO technique, which researchers have concluded that it was achieved by applying more than forty layers of very thin lacquer.
The painting’s subject is Lisa Gherardini, whose wealthy husband Francesco Del Giocondo commissioned the work. The name ‘Mona Lisa’, roughly translates to ‘My Lady Lisa’ is a polite form of addressing ‘my dear lady’, thus became the most relevant name in the art world
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]The muted color scheme, sfumato technique, well blended and transitioned gradients applied by Da Vinci, combined with an aerial perspective of the subject, enigmatic smile, mysterious posture and a surreal touch toward the background landscape exemplifies Da Vinci’s mastery as an artist[/quote_colored]
It's Beloved for a Reason
Appreciation for the artistic wonders of the painting increased over time. In this case, it took more than 300 years for the painting to begin receiving the recognition it deserved. And there’s nothing wrong with a little infamy in order to gain the mass appreciation for a work of art, right?
Of the many reasons the Mona Lisa painting became famous, we are particularly in awe of the unique technique used. Da Vinci used a new brushstroke to paint his subject. He would paint one layer and then have to wait for it to dry before beginning on the next layer. It’s actually the reason why the colors in the work are so dark – he hadn’t yet perfected the technique.
The Louvre fought for years to treat the Mona Lisa painting like any other work in the building. Ultimately, they caved to the demands of museumgoers who were coming in droves to gaze into Lisa’s eyes. It now hangs in its exhibit space within a climate-controlled, bulletproof enclosure.
Not too shabby for a run-of-the-mill portrait painted by a man famous for never finishing anything.
Street is authentic. Street Art is Super Authentic
Some street artists might unapologetically say that street art is the greatest art movement of our time and others could care less what the art community thinks. It’s not for the gallery – it’s for the masses – to entertain, to move, to bring about thought and change.
Either way, it likely is the most provocative movement of our time. Whether the art is whimsical, or if it grounds itself in anger, images of the art go viral or are seen offline in person by thousands daily. Its messages of beauty or of truth reach people of all demographics.
The meanings and messages it leaves behind are thought bending.
Good things aren’t always beautiful. Beautiful things aren’t always good. Ugly can be made beautiful. Beautiful can be revealed as ugly.
Street Art sends strong messages from the sidewalk to the world at large
Using iconic imagery that is often recognizable regardless of language, the street artist is able to speak his opinions and solutions to a global audience, making this a rapidly advancing form of art the world over. Fans of particular artists have made a movement of uploading pictures of the artist’s work on social media as he trips around the world leaving his mark in several countries. In the case of mobile street art – such as on trains and vehicles – the art itself travels. Major print and television media outlets follow high profile or subversive street artists and broadcast their art to large audiences.
Street art isn’t limited to the street itself. It grows up and around walls, on the sides of buses and subway cars, the trunks of trees, and even on traffic signs and lights. Any kind of outdoor public medium can be morphed to express a message through the artist’s vision.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]A lot of street art has an obvious, or sometimes very subtle, anti-establishment hint in it. The very mediums it uses, owned by states or corporations, are protected by law from the artist but are used without regard or in spite of it. That illegality is often a part of the message.[/quote_colored]
For millennia, people have been desecrating public buildings and spaces with their written or drawn opinions of authority figures, celebrities, and even their own friends and lovers. Archaeologists have found Roman inscriptions that mirror what’s written on the wall in our modern bathrooms.
[caption id="attachment_4148" width="579"] Street Art[/caption]
In more recent ,mmtimes, the hobos of the early 20th century made a language of images and symbols to communicate with each other. This language was most often found on trains, in rail yards, and on buildings near train tracks. It was from this that modern Graffiti was born.
Graffiti is, according to art historians, the direct predecessor of street art. In the 1950s and early 60s, subversive youth took the train car hobo’s medium and began to use it to relay their own messages, opinions, and to establish group territories. By the mid 60’s, an element arose that began to evolve a movement through it to speak about the current political and social turmoil of the time. Often the art spread anti-establishment messages through comic and satirical images.
Since the 1960s, street artists have grown in their passion and the resulting work has bloomed in its visual aesthetics. Early graffiti was limited to three or four basic colors of spray paint and had to be executed quickly to avoid the authorities. Modern street artists use an array of colors – or even gray scale - and don’t always limit themselves to spray paint.
Street Art Draws Culture to the City
Street art is so much a part of its environment that it not only becomes a part of the city landscape, but is born out of it symbolically and in its composition. The meaning of the work is often anchored in the place it is found in, as a commentary on the social balance of a neighbourhood or business district. The lines, angles, and brushstrokes form naturally around or in concert with the objects they are made on.
[caption id="attachment_4150" width="639"] Berlin Street Art by BLU[/caption]
A crack in a wall becomes a river of division in a painting visualizing the separation of rich and poor, a crumbling wall is filled in with Lego bricks, or a natural vine or bush becomes the hair on a portrait painted on the wall beneath it.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]Outside of the symbolic meaning of a piece, the art adds beauty or comic relief to areas of a city that are often either cold and characterless, or poor and unmaintained. By providing a visual break from the reality of depressed neighbourhoods or depressing industrial and business areas, street art gives its audience a moment of amusement, reflection, or validation.[/quote_colored]
The sudden appearance of some street art can even bring about change by spurring action in a society that has grown complacent, or by calling for a change of perspective from an establishment such as the government or a business that hasn’t recognised or acknowledged the needs of the people. Street art also inspires people to beautify the environment and draws in people that might not otherwise visit the area. This can lead to economic shift and cultural change.
Street Art offers mystery and exploration as reward
Inquisitive urban explorers are often the first to find new street art.
A subset of street artists like to hide their art in secret places. This could be as simple as painting a piece on a staircase that can only be seen from one angle to as difficult as gaining access to the basement of a long abandoned factory. The artist himself gets a taste of forbidden thrill and the subsequent explorer gets the ultimate reward of visual treasure.
Rather than falling back on the taste and judgement of a gallery or museum curator, the art explorer becomes a participant in the culture of street art, taking the active role of seeking and discovery upon herself.
Street art connects with everyone
Coming off the back of postmodernism, street artists have the ability to influence thought and restructure ideals without the limits of space and material. It lacks the desperate need to be heard and pretentious intellectual exclusivity of prior art movements. Street art can communicate ideas in an original piece that another artist may respond to or expand on with another nearby work or an addition to the one already existing. Public spaces grow and change and so then does the art on them. New artists respond to the change so that street art is ever evolving. A single piece of street art can grow in any endless direction, both metaphorically and physically.
[caption id="attachment_4146" width="721"] Bansky's street art work[/caption]
This freedom allowed the artist and the viewer the mental space to think about the meaning of the work and the physical space for the artist to expound on the thought or for another to respond to it. A complete visual conversation can go on and on. Puzzles, trickery, satire, hidden humor, and other mind benders are often worked into the art, making it a delight to see over and over.
Street art’s former graffiti reputation as destructive vandalism has mostly disappeared. As the art form gains the notice of the art world elite, and more importantly, the masses, there is hope of success for the artist in his life and even the immediate future.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]Artists are now recording the art as they execute it and play the performance on the web, thus generating cash flow. Some street art is only viewable by inserting a credit card in a structure in the wall that covers the art work. The audience pays to play and the artwork is revealed. Yes, technology has entered into art scene [/quote_colored]
There is an argument here that paying a cover charge to view what was subversive in its infancy takes something vital away from the experience. The opposing thought would be that the great artists of the past didn’t live to reap the millions of dollars their pieces are worth now, but rather scraped by penniless until their deaths and that it is only fair for the artist to receive something back for the gifts he has given to many.
Street Art is not vandalism anymore. Street Art is attitude
Street art has proven itself to be a true expressive art form. It is not an inferior form of political outcry nor is it the indifferent rebellion of a disaffected youth. Street art thinks, feels, and evokes thought and emotions in the people that view it with an open mind. Street art is executed with purpose and design with technique and intention. Street art heightens our experience of the visual landscape outside museum walls.
(Below is a short excerpt from This is Street Art Untitled III by Carpet Bombing Culture)
Street is cool.
Street is sharp. It’s being in control.
Attitude, individuality, EDGE.
Street is city blocks humming hip hop corner beats harmonizing defeat and victory.
Street is black, yellow, white, red and purple.
Worry, financial mishaps, and credit cards.
Street is struggling and juggling two jobs - rolling high, earning dirt.
Street is vampires sucking blood from the weak.
Clean, dirty – smelling of trash and posh cologne.
Street is frustration - living from one man’s hand to his neighbour’s mouth.
Expensive and dangerous. Soft drinks and hard liquor.
Warring for truth, uniting in adversity.
Street art is art.
After a sterling crusade in the late 20th century that spearheaded the feminist movement, women became more enamored and involved in the world of art. Both as a collector of art and as an artist as well, this emergence started giving credence to the women’s increasing role in both art historical discourse and artistic production.
This article covers 25 paintings about the theme of Women in Art. Throughout the centuries, women have been involved in many art forms that include creating artwork, as a critic and contributor. Many artists like Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Titian, and Leonardo da Vinci made many famous paintings depicting Women in Art.
Madame Moitessier by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
[caption id="attachment_6623" width="300"] Madame Moitessier by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres[/caption]
Madame Moitessier is a painting produced by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1856. The French painter painted first versions of Madame Moitessier in 1851 in which she's shown standing. When Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was approached for a portrait of Madame Moitessier, he was off struck by the beauty of her.
The Sistine Madonna by Raphael
[caption id="attachment_6624" width="300"] The Sistine Madonna by Raphael[/caption]
The Sistine Madonna is a painting produced by Raphael in 1512. Giorgio Vasari was quoted saying that this painting is a truly rare and extraordinary work of Raphael. The dimension of the painting were 265 cm by 196 cm.
Portrait of Princesse de Broglie by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
[caption id="attachment_6625" width="300"] Portrait of Princesse de Broglie by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres[/caption]
Portrait of Princesse de Broglie is a painting produced by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1853. Pauline Eleonore de Broglie represents Princesse de Broglie which was painted by the french painter in this painting and she was Viscountess Haussonville's beautiful sister.
Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
[caption id="attachment_6626" width="300"] Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres[/caption]
Grande Odalisque is a painting produced by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1814. This painting by the french artist was widely criticized by the public and critics when it was first exhibited. Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque were other well known names of this painting.
Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci
[caption id="attachment_6627" width="300"] Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci[/caption]
Virgin of the Rocks is a painting produced by Leonardo da Vinci between 1483 and 1486. Madonna of the Rocks was also a similar painting but with several significant details being different. This painting can be viewed at The Louvre in Paris.
Venus of Urbino by Titian
[caption id="attachment_6628" width="300"] Venus of Urbino by Titian[/caption]
Venus of Urbino is a painting produced by Titian in 1538. This painting was commissioned by Guidobaldo II della Rovere who was the Duke of Urbino. He wanted to gift this painting to his wife to celebrate his marriage.
Annunciation by Leonardo Da vinci
[caption id="attachment_6629" width="300"] Annunciation by Leonardo Da vinci[/caption]
Annunciation is a painting produced by Leonardo Da vinci between 1472 and 1475. This painting is well known painting by Vinci who executed this painting with his own hand after the workshop of his master Andrea del Verrocchio.
Diana and Actaeon by Titian
[caption id="attachment_6630" width="300"] Diana and Actaeon by Titian[/caption]
Diana and Actaeon is a painting produced by Titian between 1556 and 1559. This painting was acquired from The Bridgewater Collection by The National Gallery of London and The National Gallery of Scotland for 50 million Euros. This painting can be viewed at National Gallery in London.
Assumption of Virgin by Titian
[caption id="attachment_6632" width="300"] Assumption of Virgin by Titian[/caption]
Assumption of Virgin is a large painting produced by Titian between 1516 and 1518. This painting is the largest work that could be found in the whole city of Venice. This painting can be viewed at Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.
A bar at the Folies Bergere by Edouard Manet
[caption id="attachment_6633" width="300"] A bar at the Folies Bergere by Edouard Manet[/caption]
A bar at the Folies Bergere is a painting produced by Edouard Manet in 1882. This painting is the last major work of Eduard Manet and he exhibited this painting in 1882 at Paris Salon. Emmanuel Chabrier was neighbour of Manet and it is believed that this painting represents her.
Nana by Edouard Manet
[caption id="attachment_6634" width="300"] Nana by Edouard Manet[/caption]
Nana is a painting produced by Edouard Manet in 1877. The french painter sent this painting for exhibition in 1877 but the jury of the exhibition refused to exhibit it. This painting can be viewed at Kunsthalle Hamburg in Hamburg.
Woman Reading by Edouard Manet
[caption id="attachment_6635" width="300"] Woman Reading by Edouard Manet[/caption]
Woman Reading is a painting produced by Edouard Manet in 1879. This painting depicts a woman who is seating in a cafe which may be outside while she was dressed fashionably. The Art Institute of Chicago acquired this painting in 2000.
In the Conservatory by Edouard Manet
[caption id="attachment_6636" width="300"] In the Conservatory by Edouard Manet[/caption]
In the Conservatory is a painting produced by Edouard Manet between 1878 and 1879. This painting was purchased by The Nationalgalerie in Berlin and was the first to do so. This painting can be viewed at Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Little Machine Constructed by Minimax Dadamax in Person by Max Ernst
[caption id="attachment_6637" width="191"] Little Machine Constructed by Minimax Dadamax in Person by Max Ernst[/caption]
Little Machine Constructed by Minimax Dadamax in Person is a painting produced by Max Ernst between 1919 and 1920. This painting by the German artist is based on the diagrams of scientific instruments. This painting can be viewed at Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.
Cabaret Scene by Salvador Dali
[caption id="attachment_6638" width="237"] Cabaret Scene by Salvador Dali[/caption]
Cabaret Scene is a painting produced by Salvador Dali in 1922. This painting has a cubical influence and because of this, the painting was known as the most famous work of Salvador Dali. This painting is owned by a private collection at Francois Petit in Paris.
The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dali
[caption id="attachment_6639" width="300"] The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dali[/caption]
The Great Masturbator is a painting produced by Salvador Dali in 1929. The Spanish painter wanted that this painting should be kept in this museum as a personal collection. This painting can be viewed at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
The Gleaners by Jean François Millet
[caption id="attachment_6640" width="300"] The Gleaners by Jean François Millet[/caption]
The Gleaners is a painting produced by Jean François Millet in 1857. The Gleaners was a manufacturing company and it is believed that the name was derived from it. The scene depicts three women gleaning the grains of wheat.
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
[caption id="attachment_6643" width="280"] Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer[/caption]
Girl With a Pearl Earring is a painting produced by Johannes Vermeer around 1665. One of the most famous works by the Dutch artist and was widely known as the Girl with a Turban. This painting can be viewed at Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands.
When Will You Marry by Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin
[caption id="attachment_6644" width="220"] When Will You Marry by Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin[/caption]
When Will You Marry is a painting produced by Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin in 1892. Well known paintings of the french painter and this painting was sold to Emirate of Qatar for 300 million dollars. This painting can be viewed at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
[caption id="attachment_6645" width="300"] The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli[/caption]
The Birth of Venus is a painting produced by Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli around 1480s. This painting is regarded as the first non-religious nude and the most famous painting by Sandro Botticelli.
The Wheat Sifters by Gustave Courbet
[caption id="attachment_6646" width="300"] The Wheat Sifters by Gustave Courbet[/caption]
The Wheat Sifters is a painting produced by Gustave Courbet in 1854. The Young Ladies of the Village was another painting with similar theme and scene. This painting can be viewed at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes in Nantes.
The Railway by Edouard Manet
[caption id="attachment_6647" width="300"] The Railway by Edouard Manet[/caption]
The Railway is a painting produced by Edouard Manet in 1873. Victorine Meurent was the first choice model of Edouard Manet and this painting was her last depiction by Manet. Olympia and The Luncheon on the Grass were Victorine Meurent previous works.
Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci
[caption id="attachment_6648" width="300"] Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci[/caption]
Ginevra de’ Benci is a portrait painting produced by Leonardo da Vinci between 1474 and 1478. In this US, paintings of Leonardo da vinci are rare and this painting is one of the paintings that are publicly shown. This painting can be viewed at National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian
[caption id="attachment_6649" width="300"] Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian[/caption]
Bacchus and Ariadne is a painting produced by Titian between 1522 and 1523. This painting is well known as one of the prominent masterpieces of Titian. This painting tells the story of Ariadne and Crete and this painting could be viewed at The National Gallery in London.
Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico
[caption id="attachment_6650" width="300"] Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico[/caption]
Coronation of the Virgin is a painting produced by Fra Angelico in 1432. The subject of this painting was one of the most common subjects during 14th to 18th century. This painting can be viewed at Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Because we live in a fortunate time of history when women can now freely participate and become creators of art, we should further appreciate and celebrate their continuous contributions by being more supportive and constantly on the lookout for that next great woman artist.
Art and design - both involve compositions, using physical and visual means. Both share a base of knowledge and skill. Both involve applying imagination and creativity to the concepts they address. And yet they are not the same – obviously, you might think, of course, they are not the same. Difference between art and design is a continuing debate - So, Is there a difference?
As both fields have developed over the years, people have tried to separate the two. This is more difficult than one might think.
Design is no longer following cut and dried rules, and art is no longer just pictures in a gallery.
What if the architect that creates a building with curved, sloped sides, so that it looks like a continuation of the landscape – is this design or art? And what of the artist who uses typography and stencils as their medium – is this art or design?
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]
The first argument one can make is that design is, in fact, a kind of art in its own right and that the attempt to separate them is meaningless. The other is that they are completely distinct practices that happen to share some attributes[/quote_colored]
Yet what each of these ideas seems to end up doing is arguing both sides. By pointing out the places where they diverge, we must also show the places where they fit together and vice versa. One of the recent researches has arrived a table to illustrate the differences between art and design, but in doing so had to find points of contrast that fit together.
[caption id="attachment_7288" width="452"] Difference between art and design[/caption]
Art, for example, was said to be an abstraction of the concrete, while the design was a concretization of the abstract. Art was said to act on the mind, while design acted on reality, and so on.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]One cannot deny the differences between art and design. Yet the two still remain inextricably linked; in a gracious harmony with one another.[/quote_colored]
How far does this relationship go?
Art Questions, Design Answers
The typical approach to a piece of art is not to ask “what is its purpose?” but rather “what does it mean?” – a question that, invariably, leads to more questions. Arguably, the success of a piece of art might be measured by its ability to make people ask questions of themselves and the world around them. It exists to serve no purpose but its own existence – to be art. To challenge, or set people on a path of reflection.
Design, on the other hand, is intended to answer questions, beginning with “what is its purpose?” It does not challenge; it assists. It exists to solve problems. The problem could be anything from “how do I get more customers to notice my storefront?” to “how can we make the face of our watch easier to read?” or even “how can we make this safety belt more comfortable?”
Think of art you might see every day, street art, for example. Those huge, colorful murals one finds on city walls, designed to make passers-by think about the nature of society, or government, or themselves, even as they go about their daily commute.
This is art.
[caption id="attachment_4635" width="781"] Bohumil-Hrabal-Mural[/caption]
But what about the sign which tells them where the bathroom is, or the colorful poster informing them of an upcoming event, or the easily understood markings on the road which show the pedestrian crossing?
These involve shapes, and colors, and lines, but they are not forcing people to ask questions – they are answering them before they even arise. This is design.
Art Inspires, Design Motivates
Both art and design might be said to be about communication. Both aim to create a reaction. They even use some of the same methods in which to achieve these goals. The reactions, however, are where we can find another major difference: art, generally, aims to make those who view it have an emotional experience, to be inspired to think a certain way or to consider a certain topic.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]The artist shares their emotions and views through choices of color, shape, and content. Design aims to motivate. To make the people who view it actually do something – also using color, shape, and content.[/quote_colored]
One of the most famous paintings in the world is the Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. It shows a surrealist scene of clocks melting in the foreground of an open landscape. It brings to mind thoughts of decay, of dreaming, of the chaotic nature of the universe, of whether we can ever correctly perceive our own reality; the clocks create strange shapes, lying next to a monstrous half-face, cast in shade, while a pale yellow horizon gives the scene depth by drawing the eye to the background and contrasting with the shadows.
[caption id="attachment_4622" width="500"] Persistence of Memory[/caption]
Similarly, one of the best design inventions in POST-IT notes
That particular shade of yellow, by the way, is one you may well see every day. It is the color of a post-it note.
Post-it notes have one of the most famous design stories out there: Dr. Spenser Silver, trying to create an extra-strong adhesive, accidentally made one so weak that it could be removed and reapplied over and over again. After some development, the post-it note was born.
The most common color is that light yellow, not chosen because the designer wanted us to consider eternity, but because it is eye catching and contrasts well with anything written on it in darker ink. Same color, same principle, same effect – and vastly different reactions.
Art is Interpreted, Design is Understood
“I don't understand it,” complains the disgruntled tourist in the gallery. “What's it supposed to be?”
“You're not supposed to understand it,” soothes the friend that dragged them here instead of the cheese festival, “that's the point.”
And, one might say, that really is one of the main points of art. All those questions it forces us to ask ourselves lead us to an interpretation. Yet no-one will have quite the same interpretation as anyone else; they will be affected by their own perceptions, history, and worldview. Again, this may well be the point, that each person will have a different answer to the question asked.
Design, on the other hand, seeks to provide a single answer. The same answer for everyone, and the more easily understood, the better. It would not do, after all, for every person who looks at a street sign to come up with their own personal interpretation of it. “Sorry, officer, it's just that orange is such an indecisive color, don't you agree, that I simply felt like the sign might also have meant that you didn't have to turn there, you know, that it was up to how you felt in the moment... you're fining me how much?”
And yet, design so often relies on artistic principles, and art can, in fact, seek to communicate a single message to everyone. Again and again, we see these factors overlap.
Take, for example, the art which represents a specific culture. Sometimes, it can be the only way a person from one culture can begin to understand another – and the fact that it results in this understanding means that it has, in fact, managed to convey a specific message.
We still cannot separate the two.
Art is a Talent, Design is a Skill
To be successful in either art or design involves talent and skill.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]Talent is an innate ability; it cannot be taught. Skill, on the other hand, must be taught. The rules and practices that will be used in the creating process must be learned methodically.[/quote_colored]
But is it the same for each? If design is truly about using known reactions to create predictable results, then perhaps an innate talent is not all that necessary. You know that using a particular shape, color or texture will elicit a certain response, and you design accordingly. And whether you are designing shoes, kitchens, or car doors, you can learn what is required for each.
[caption id="attachment_5317" width="300"] What is art? Why is art important?[/caption]
An artist, on the other hand, can become an expert in every artistic skill there is, but still be unable to create a piece that truly effects those that see it. They might be able to perfectly recreate a still life, or draw a straight line without a ruler, or knead, sculpt and bake a clay figure without any assistance. Without talent, however, without the ability to make personal choices, is it really art?
Again, each of these arguments can be taken the other way. A designer may know all the rules of their trade, but will require the talent for true innovation. An artist may have the perfect image ever conceived tucked away in their head, but without the skills to put it on the page or canvas, that is where it will stay.
Art is Imagination. Design is Imagination+Intelligence
Sometimes, a piece of art and a designed work will share an aim. Not just something basic, like knowing that yellow draws the eye, but a deeper reaction than this.
We may say that art is more emotional than design. Yet design can also be based on emotional reactions; an excellent example is the seating plans at Planned Parenthood offices. Some sections of seating are placed close together for people sitting in intimate groups, others are more open, so people can speak to others they meet, and some sections have seats facing away from each other to allow isolation.
Emotional needs are being met through furniture, through design.
Art often seeks to elicit specific reactions as well, as the artist will know that certain images will often be met with certain responses. This is one of the places where the separation becomes the most difficult: each uses a knowledge of human behavior, and each uses this knowledge to meet its goals. In seeking a difference, perhaps we might look at how the knowledge is used.
Think of any of the famous pieces of art which feature death. The concept is an unpleasant one; the viewer experiences a jolt of sadness or fear. This is predictable, but the art itself is not. Then consider a famous poster brought out recently which featured the striking image of babies' cots laid out, interspersed with tiny coffins. Again, we experience a jolt. But this time, the reason is clear: the poster uses this image to remind viewers to practice good hygiene around infants, preventing the spread of disease.
Art is a Journey, Design is a Process
Perhaps, in the end, one of the few lines that can be drawn between art and design is that one has an ending, and the other does not.
Design is about meeting goals. There is a problem, and the solution must be developed. The idea for the solution will require creativity and imagination, but the goal itself with be reached through a disciplined process of rules, research, and the application of knowledge.
[caption id="attachment_4677" width="300"] What is Art[/caption]
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]Art begins in the mind of the artist.[/quote_colored] It may be planned, or it may be started from the faintest inkling of an idea with no guidance but a blank canvas. The artist may think that they have finished, then come back to the piece in a day, a week, or a month's time, and take it in an entirely new direction.
And even once they have declared themselves to be done, the journey continues with each person who experiences the art after this point. It never ends; it cannot have a goal because the goal would be forever moving.
With our world progressing as rapidly as it is, we find the lines that previous generations may have drawn between art and design becoming increasingly blurred. They share goals. They share methods. They share skills and knowledge.
And, as new innovations and discoveries are made in each, their overlaps allow a cross-pollination of sorts, with each being enriched by the other. Yet we cannot ignore what separates the two, as their very division allows us to understand each one with more depth.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]Design reaches out to people; art draws them in. Art challenges; design assists.[/quote_colored]
Design solves problems, it belongs to the way the world needs to function. Art points out problems and invites people to consider ideas beyond reality. Design changes the world; art changes the people in it.
We will always find them hand in hand. Design shows you where to cross the road, and art makes you wonder why you were headed that way in the first place. Despite their differences, neither can be considered without the other; nor should they be.
The word “culture” is used in different ways by different people. To some, it might mean a string quartet and the use of multiple utensils at dinner. To others, it might be used in a vague way when planning a holiday overseas. If you are a scientist it means a petri dish full of microorganisms.
But to an anthropologist, it means the patterns of human behaviour, and all that that entails.
This is something every human experience and the way you experience it can define your life. It is shared. It is learned. It is not biological; rather, it might be said that it is developed as we seek to satisfy our biological needs.
It belongs to us, to our families, our peers, our art and institutions.
What is Culture?
Culture, as a term, almost eludes absolute definition. Because it is something intrinsic to our humanity, perhaps, and humans, as a rule, also elude definition. That has not stopped some of history's brightest minds from attempting to define it, however.
[caption id="attachment_5183" width="507"] Islamic Art New York Culture[/caption]
The first person to use the term “culture” in the way we currently understand it was Edward B. Tylor, an anthropologist, He explained culture as "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." ( Primitive Culture, 1871).
Definitions of Culture - The Famous Ones
“Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.” – Geert Hofstede
"A culture is a configuration of learned behaviours and results of behaviour whose component elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society" – Linton
"Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another." – National cultures and corporate cultures. In L.A. Samovar & R.E. Porter (Eds.), Communication Between Cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
“Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organization's view of its self and its environment.” – Edgar Schein
Do you have your own definition?
Fundamental – and Fleeting
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]The culture of a society pervades it to its very roots.[/quote_colored]
[caption id="attachment_7219" width="368"] The Burial of the Count of Orgaz by El Greco[/caption]
It affects the way people live, the way they interact, the art they make, the jobs they hold, their beliefs and relationships. And yet an archaeologist digging up an ancient site, finding wall stubs and pottery fragments, could never say that they have dug up “culture”. The results of the culture are there for all to see: the patterns on the pottery, the places of worship, the way a family home was set up. But they are remains, nothing more.
Culture belongs to life itself.
Culture or Society?
It can be a little difficult to draw the lines between culture and society. Both involve the way we live, both involve beliefs and systems, both are formed by groups of people.
[caption id="attachment_4865" width="189"] Virgin of the Rocks Painting by Leonardo da Vinci.[/caption]
A society is a group of organisms which interact with one another. This might mean a school of fish, a flock of birds, a beehive, and so on. Human societies are similar, as they are groups of individuals who interact with one another, though not always directly. In human societies, however, the behaviour of the group is not just determined by survival, but by history, tradition, and expectation.
Yet people living in a single society can have different cultures. So society and culture are not the same things – but they are linked.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]If culture is a pattern of people's behaviour, and if people live in societies, then, of course, they are going to be tied together at multiple points. [/quote_colored]
And culture cannot exist without society, without people coming together and exchanging ideas and experiences. Without groups of people living together, why would we ever have needed to develop language or politics? You cannot have one without the other.
Culture is not something that we are born knowing. No baby is born being able to understand art, or speaking the language of its parents. Yet what it does possess is a desire to communicate and be understood – a desire it generally seeks to fill by screaming, which works out just fine, to begin with. But then, it learns that different noises mean different things, and so language begins to be learned.
[caption id="attachment_6424" width="237"] Rosetta Stone[/caption]
Because of this, culture is also something that accumulates. It is built on over time. It's not as though a group of people in 1000BC sat down and discussed whether they were going to use forks or chopsticks, or whether they were going to teach math in school. These things developed slowly – and now, millennia later, schoolchildren are learning mathematical concepts developed by ancient Greeks.
Art and Culture - A soulful connection
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]“Art speaks the soul of its culture” – Abby Willowroot[/quote_colored]
Art is yet another concept that is very difficult to define. But when it comes to a shared understanding of art within a group of people, one could say that art is the physical manifestation of the culture to which it belongs – to the point that sometimes it almost seems impossible to separate the culture from its art.
[caption id="attachment_7262" width="500"] Indian Paintings[/caption]
If you pass a wedding venue and see it crowded with paper swans, it doesn’t matter if you are in Texas, Perth or Abu Dhabi, you will immediately recognize the sight as belonging to the culture of Japan. Geometric patterns with bright colours and striking contrast might bring to mind traditional Kenyan textiles, even if seen in a window in Prague. “Scandinavian interior design” could be found in a desert.
In addition to this, there is a reason great art movements tend to find their momentum in cities. That's where you can find the most people, packed in closely together – and, as a result, that's where the cultures to which they belong become the richest, the densest, the most likely to turn into something new. And sometimes, finding themselves so close to other cultures, they find themselves rubbing together and creating sparks.
An Adaptive Mechanism
When we look at the human experience in all its needs and forms, culture can sometimes seem like something of an extra. True, humans create art, and language, and politics. But these things, while adding to the richness, complexity or possibilities of our lives, do not seem to be necessary for survival. After all, a person could live in a hut on a hill for their entire lives and never see another human being. They might never learn a language, create art, or develop an understanding of authority; as long as they can hunt and gather, they will do just fine.
And yet, if you look at cultures across the world, there seem to be very obvious differences between them which have sprung from a need to adapt. For example: humans are warm-blooded creatures, which was fine when we were all living in subtropical conditions a few million years ago, but when you look further afield and forward in time, you see the mechanisms humans have put in place to survive the environments they moved to. Thus we have architecture and communal planning.
Unlike other organisms, we did not wait for evolutionary adaptation to allow us to thrive in these new climates. Instead, we invented things to help us – things which became a part of the cultures which developed them. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, to the shape of our roofs, we can see how each culture was affected by humanity's need for survival. And, let's be honest, it worked – we have dominated the planet with our technology and subsequent population growth. (Whether that is a good thing or not is quite another matter.)
Other Examples in Nature
Depending on the way we have defined culture, it can be argued that humans are not the only species to have developed it. Not that we're going to find any other animals that create paper cranes for their weddings, but using the broad and relatively simplistic definition of a complex pattern of learned behaviour, we can see examples of culture in other species.
Chimpanzees, along with other intelligent primates, seem to be the closest contenders for this. The young chimpanzees learn from the older ones – whether hunting or gathering skills, communication, or sexual education.
This is a fascinating addition to any discussions one might have regarding culture. It opens up the possibility that culture is not strictly something that belongs to humans, but perhaps that it is the skill we have developed above all other animals. We can be outrun, out-swam or out-fought by any number of other species. But our patterns of behaviour, in terms of complexity and possibility, leave them all behind.
Culture is inherent.
It is developed as we seek to fill our basic needs. It is learned, taught from one generation to the next, picked up when you had no idea that you were paying attention. It is cumulative, ideas and behaviours collected as by each society as though they were debris being picked up and carried along by a river.
It is not programmed, it is not automatic, but it is not something that we can avoid becoming part of. It is ingrained into every human on earth, connecting us to each other, within our own culture; and cross-culturally, allowing us to reach each other across what sometimes seem to be unfathomable distances.
It is art, music, dance, the way we decorate our pottery. It is our governmental systems, it is our leisure time, it is the places of worship we build. It is the way we speak to one another, whether we take our shoes off before we come into the house. It is shared behaviour; the result of humanity trying to negotiate the world it finds itself in and thriving as it does.
Paintings are often referred to as windows into another dimension, defined by the purpose for which they were created and the skill of their makers’ hand. The artists of Indian royal courts in Rajasthan and the Punjab hills accessed divinity through their craft, providing objects for the personal devotion technique known as Bhakti.
The paintings created between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries in this area are characterized by their brilliant colors and vivid depictions of Hindu epic narratives, as well as magisterial courtly life. They illustrated gods and demons in spiritual battle, fantastical creatures of mysterious origin and great power. Using symbols that are central to Indian literature and worship, these craftsmen celebrated the diverse stylistic choices of their unique tradition.
[caption id="attachment_7258" width="800"] indian paintings and mythology[/caption]
Largely born from India’s ancient texts, poems, and songs, these mystical stories of good and evil were kept alive in the artwork housed within temples and other places of worship.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]The remarkable evolution of style and treatment of materials can be seen in the medieval Hindu sculpture of cave reliefs and frescoes, which led to the handheld court paintings that occupied a space somewhere in between image and icon.[/quote_colored]
Careful details like a burnished gold leaf and crisp line quality were used to illuminate the mythological beginnings of these meaningful narratives, emphasizing their spiritual importance with a painstakingly intentional process.
Indian Paintings - Springs of Divinity
Like many of the artifacts that survive in present-day India, the tradition of making these court paintings originates in the leadership of Mughal emperor Akbar. A man of compelling historical importance, he reigned from 1556-1605 and commissioned a staggering number of artworks that help us to understand the culture of an empire that he worked tirelessly to establish.
The crumbling of the Mughal Empire in 1858 resulted in a period of unfortunate decline for the practice of Rajput court painting. However, in the glow of its cultural relevance, these works were highly respected for their intimate nature and poignant subject matter.
The private experience of holding a small tablet in one’s hands suggested that the image was made for that individual alone, providing a confidential opportunity to interact with who or what the painting depicted. They were meant to examine at close range, one at a time, like the pages of some mystical book holding the answers to spiritual enlightenment.
The images were painted with a kind of opaque watercolor, made up of vegetable and mineral pigments, delicately applied to several laminations of thin paper. The color was added with a small, soft brush over a carefully rendered sketch and a thin layer of ground. A whole series was then framed with similar materials so as to suggest a continuous narrative, which was inscribed on its border or attached flyleaf. The finishing touch was to burnish the frame with an agate or smooth stone, resulting in a smooth, polished edge that contained one scene of a longer story.
This method of production seems to have originated during the Mughal Empire, Indian Court Paintings and continued for centuries under various rulers after Akbar’s reign had ended. The stylistic amalgam that served as inspiration for Rajput court painting was developed slowly during the Mughal reign, beginning with one of Akbar’s first great projects in 1557. Throughout the following fifteen years, he commissioned the creation of 1,400 paintings illustrating the Hamzanama. This ancient and well-known Persian romance told the story of Hamza in fourteen separate volumes and helped the artists to hone their skills over the course of its completion.
A Gracious Mix of Talent and Skill
Two of the most exquisite panels that are typical of the series as a whole is titled, “Assad Ibn Kariba Launches a Night Attack on the Camp of Malik Iraj” and “Umar Walks Around the Fulad Castle, Meets a Foot Soldier, and Kicks Him to the Ground”.
[caption id="attachment_7257" width="300"] Assad Ibn Kariba Launches a Night Attack on the Camp of Malik Iraj[/caption]
The composition of both scenes, like most early Mughal paintings, are busy with the flattened silhouettes and patterned surfaces of Persian influence. Building upon these previous techniques, the Indian artists shaded many figures and objects, giving them a physicality that was not present before. Developments were also made upon the Hindu tradition of incorporating bright reds and yellows, as well as the heavy-limbed depiction of female characters.
Passionate Humanity is one core theme of many works
The final paintings of the Hamzanama show the further complexity of artistic technique in their utilization of facial expression, dynamic positioning of the body, and the suggestion of space in deep vistas surrounding living, breathing people. These later works are imbued with an emotional power and dynamism that emphasize the artists’ departure from a Persian style that was now stale and static in comparison.
Upon studying images such as “Umar Walks Around the Fulad Castle”, it is apparent that Akbar’s army of painters had learned to empathize with their subjects, projecting their own human feelings onto the faces of those they depicted.
[caption id="attachment_7255" width="504"] Umar Walks Around the Fulad Castle[/caption]
Akbar’s encouragement of direct emotional expression initiated what is now arguably the most distinctive characteristic of Indian court painting as a tradition. While it is rarely discussed, this quality is present in the vast majority of miniature paintings, whether they were made by the courts or not.
A prime example of this mature Akbari style of painting is the Metropolitan Museum’s “Hamid Bhakra is Punished by Akbar”, created in 1597. As a single chapter in the official history of his reign, the emperor is depicted riding a horse during the final moments of an imperial hunt that had taken place more than thirty years earlier.
[caption id="attachment_7256" width="496"] Indian-Paintings-Hamid-Bhakra-is-Punished-by-Akbar[/caption]
In the foreground of the picture, Hamid’s face is full of shame as he sits backward astride a donkey, his head shaven in penance.
Suffused with the powerful imagery of its mythological past, Indian painting expressed a new way of seeking the divine through personal devotion, or Bhakti.
The combination of painstaking technique and burning passion helped the emperor’s artists to grow in skill as well as purpose, providing their leaders with a more intimate method of spiritual practice.
Art has a habit of growing with necessity, and it was through this need for contact with a higher power that the Indian people were able to access their emotions on a more personal level than ever before. The passionate dedication to the origins of their culture is immortalized in the masterpieces that began with the reign of Akbar Mughal and will last for centuries to come.
All images used from Metropolitan Museum Kronos Collection
Being one of the most creative ways of expressing human experience, we have used art as a means of telling stories. Why we make art? - We make art to tell stories. May it be the story of a single person, of a community, or of a nation, art has in many ways contributed to the beautiful way these stories are told.
[quote_colored name="" icon_quote="no"]"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” – Pablo Picasso[/quote_colored]
Definition of Art: 25 Diverse Perspectives To Understand Art Better
In the same way, art can also be used to convey an experience that's so common that many people can relate to it. Take Adolf Menzel's The Balcony Room, for example. This piece shows a space with strong light pouring into a typical room while a breeze blows into the white curtains. Instead of making something revolutionary or innovative, Adolf Menzel took the very common scenario - a room in an ordinary house - and turned it into a masterpiece. Through art, Adolf was able to enhance what otherwise was a common experience and turned it into a serene, emotionally charged story that everyone can appreciate.
Why we make art?
The purposes, motivations, intentions, and inspirations behind art are endless. Below are just some of the reasons why we make art:
To form part of a ritual, ceremony, or cultural tradition
Whether you refer to the finely crafted instruments of the different ethnic tribes in the Philippines or look at the creative mascots of different sports teams, we use art to creatively represent practices that have been part of our lives for years. Just look at how beautiful the modern day weddings are - every item is planned to be a work of art! One of the most comprehensive events depicted in the history is "The Last Supper" by Da Vinci
[caption id="attachment_7200" width="350"] The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci[/caption]
To practice faith in a more tangible way
Believing in a higher being can be a unique experience, and art is used to make those beliefs much easier to grasp and feel. Look at how the Sistine Chapel paintings by Michelangelo or the Christ the Redeemer statue or Indian Paintings from Rajput. Just looking at these world-renowned works can strengthen or renew a person's faith. A theme that has the most answers to - Why we make art
[caption id="attachment_7172" width="250"] Sri Krishna as Envoy by Raja Ravi Varma[/caption]
To record history
Another reason people make art to record a moment of past. More specifically called History Painting, we use art to capture the most significant scenes in history. Some notable examples include Benjamin West's the Death of Benjamin Wolfe and Jacques-Louis David's Oath of the Horatii. These paintings and other art forms have a special way of making history a point of interest to otherwise disinterested people. They spark discussion, commemoration, and appreciation of important historical events.
[caption id="attachment_6865" width="500"] The Knotted Gun by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd[/caption]
To teach something as an alternative to verbal or written methods
The changing generations have made it much harder to attract the attention of our young learners. The question - Why we make art - is becoming less relevant these days. With the help of art, people who would otherwise ignore books can be taught concepts more effectively using visual arts. These can be seen in the form of visual Public Service Announcements and awareness campaigns in the form of films. In some cases, artists make art with great imagery that can also complement written messages
[caption id="attachment_5831" width="400"] The Berlin Wall 1963 Postwar European Art[/caption]
To tell a story from literature, myths, religion, and poetry
Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings inspired by Christian history. There are also a lot of many famous paintings that depict significant parts of a famous literature. Sometimes visualizing a story is the best way to appreciate it. That's why we use art and why people make art - to elaborate the myths and religious aspects of an event or a period
[caption id="attachment_6362" width="400"] The School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio[/caption]
To create someone's portrait
It's not just about someone getting his or her portrait painted. It's about how the artist sees that person. The most famous example, of course, is Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, whose smile has captivated the world throughout history. There's also Van Gogh's portrait of Dr. Gachet, who happens to be the artist's close friend. The faces of these people, their expressions, and the painting itself have the power to show you what these people mean to the artists who made them
[caption id="attachment_4293" width="274"] Monalisa painting[/caption]
To allow the artist to express oneself.
One of the most adopted reasons about people making art is to allow themselves to represent their thoughts and life. When Edward Munch painted The Scream, he was thinking about the orange sky he just recently saw which, to him, it looked like nature was screaming. This is how he used art to effectively convey his idea or opinion about something. Similarly, Frida Kahlo documented her lust for life through her deep and surreal works, and those were a true depiction of Frida's life and thoughts
[caption id="attachment_5593" width="300"] The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo[/caption]
To reflect the beauty of nature, a landscape, or city.
When Vincent Van Gogh was spending time in the sanatorium, he created the view outside his window, which is now the famous Starry Night. While beautiful scenes are sights to behold themselves, they become a new creation altogether when turned into art. Similarly, Edward Hopper who has documented every flavor of nature in his numerous works. Most of the people make art to document a nature, a landscape or a city
[caption id="attachment_6760" width="350"] Lighthouse at Two Lights by Edward Hopper[/caption]
Claude Monet's famous paintings are a classic example of experimentation of using interchangeable nature of light and shadow by repeatedly producing same visuals of nature multiple time to discover more than one angle of nature's light to shine on one image
To illustrate a narrative or a diagram.
Why we make art - To teach people. Art can be quite educational too, especially when it is used not only to provide aesthetics but also serve as an aid to educational materials. Oftentimes people make art or infographics about certain things that are much easier to understand and digest than their strictly written counterparts, making the artistic version more effective as it is appreciable.
[caption id="attachment_6465" width="422"] Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso[/caption]
To depict reality and ideals.
Often referred to as realism and idealism, art can either be used to capture a perfectly undistorted image of reality (i.e. a natural landscape or the image of society) or portray the artist's aspirations or ideals for those realities. In other words, art is a way for an artist to say "this is how I see the world," and then sometimes say "this is how I think it should be."
[caption id="attachment_6245" width="350"] Illumined Pleasures[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_6244" width="309"] The Burning Giraffe[/caption]
To provoke thinking and discourse.
Whether it's a painting that dramatizes the horrors of war or a dark depiction of domestic violence, art can shock one's senses to force a person to think deeply about a real social issue. It can spark debates and even cause revolutions.
[caption id="attachment_6175" width="452"] Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David[/caption]
To illustrate their dreams.
Perhaps one of the richest sources of inspiration is a person's dreams. Many notable works of the likes of William Blake and Salvador Dali have been inspired by their own dreams. Many artists gained inspiration from dreams and depicted to a great level of details.
[caption id="attachment_6234" width="400"] The Persistence of Memory[/caption]
To experiment with different elements.
Sure, you've got your ordinary colored paint and brushes, but did you know that painters have also tried to use sand, straw, or even wood to make their creations? The variety in the elements also gives rise to a new artistic perspective on the same subject. For instance, a painting of a flower would look totally different, if not more intriguing when depicted in sand art.
[caption id="attachment_4879" width="700"] Tyulkina Watercolor Paintings[/caption]
To experiment qualities of a particular medium.
Even with the same elements, artists tend to get creative with their own creativity. That's how concepts such as pointillism and cubism came to be. As artists grow, they use their own art to outdo their own creativity, allowing their works to become more diverse
[caption id="attachment_5226" width="400"] Violence in art - Philippe Perrin Gun Art[/caption]
Closing thoughts - Why we make art? What motivates artists to create art?
In fact, art is the only way we can relay our experiences effectively to others. Good stories have to be able to convey thought, reflection, and meaning to a person who was never part of any of those experiences. The challenge is to creatively bring together reality, imagination, medium, and technique to produce something that will make the audience feel like they are part of that story.