Art Discussion

1. (Courbet’s painting depicts a harsh reality of hard labor and Monet’s seascape represents light upon water as well as leisure.)
After looking at many hundreds of years of Biblical and allegorical (symbolic) or mythological (gods and goddesses) and sometimes historical (politics and wars) subjects in painting and sculpture, now we have seen that during the Enlightenment there was a new interest (like that which inspired Renaissance Humanism) in studying the reality of our natural, scientific, modern world. “Realism” of the nineteenth century is an art that tells it like it IS, which, during the Industrial Revolution, sometimes meant painting “ugly” realities like hard laborers, poverty (research Degas “Laundress” subjects”), prostitutes, alcoholics,(see Toulouse Lautrec or Picasso’s bar scenes) and even modern things in people’s daily, lives like trains and train stations. To some people in the 19th century, painting “modern reality” was a terrible idea! They wanted to see things that would help them forget prostitutes, poverty, trains, pollution- they wanted to stick with the lovely, dreamy traditional mythologies, and in a way this is understandable. (After all, for example, sometimes we like a movie that is about someone having a “romantic” adventure in the countryside or in another country altogether, and we don’t want to watch a movie about how hard or ugly real life can be! We know this as “escapism”.) “IMPRESSIONISM” is different from “REALISM” – but Impressionism also bothered some people at the time- why? People that did not approve of Impressionistic painting didn’t like the fact that it was made up of so many visible little dots and brushstrokes- they wanted to see paintings continue to look more smooth and “real” as they traditionally had for centuries. (Look, for example, at Claude Lorraine or Poussin from the 18th century) Impressionism was a STYLE or a WAY (manner) of painting which did not HIDE the fact that it was paint, coming off a brush onto a canvas, and this made it harder for people to pretend they were looking into a “real” scene. Impressionism also did not necessarily use color in the traditional way, did it? Impressionist painters also painted modern life scenes, but they tend to be nice ones, like leisurely weekend activities, not the harsh realities that “Realism” represented. These are elements of Impressionism that made it modern and even startling to contemporaries (the people of the time).

write just a short discussion reply that shares your thoughts on these modern developments, Realism and Impressionism. Pick one art example you like – I just want to see that the class understands what is beginning to make art “modern” in different ways (compared to the art we have studied so far) and how you respond to these new qualities personally. This is a short Discussion; ONE short paragraph is fine.

2. Early twentieth-century Modernism was Western arts response to a rapidly changing world.
Discuss some of those changes and describe arts response to them- ie. What were the various political and social upheavals and what were the various artistic movements that respond to or reflect those upheavals/changes in modern life and the world stage?
In simple terms, from Ch. 15:

-choose three twentieth-century art movements as your examples
-identify one work of art from each movement
-state what that movement was for/against, concerned with, responding to, etc.

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