Lecture I The Origins of Modern Art


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ARH 359: Later Twentieth Century Art

Part I of an introductionto the influential movements that led to the birth of modern art. This portion of the presentation begins with Neo-Classicism and Romanticism and includes artists David, Ingres, Delacroix, Friedrich, and American Neo-Classical architecture of Thomas Jefferson.

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Lecture I The Origins of Modern Art

  1. 1. A Brief History of Modern Art Lecture I: The Origins of Modern Art
  2. 2. Neo-Classicism (18 th-early 19th century)• Reaction to the opulence of the Baroque and Rococo periods• Coincides with the 18th century’s Age of Enlightenment• Neo-Classicism is recognizable in all media-the decorative arts, literature, painting, sculpture, theatre, and music.• It dominates Europe and America in the second half Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, of the 18th century. 1784. Oil on canvas 10’10” x 14’. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785.
  3. 3. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)Characteristics of Neo-Classicism:• Neo-Classicism revives antiquity.• Artists are inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, aesthetics, and style.• Art is cerebral, not Jacques-Louis David, The Intervention of the sensual. Sabine Women, 1799. Oil on canvas, 12’ 8 “ x 17’ ¾” Musée du Louvre, Paris.
  4. 4. Neo-Classicism (18 th-early 19th century)• Neo-Classical artists look to certain predecessors, Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) in particular, because of his clarity, sculptural treatment of the form, and rich colors.• Modern artists who favor this style are often called Poussinistes. Nicolas Poussin, Holy Family on the Steps, 1648. Oil on canvas, 28”x44”. Cleveland Museum o Art.
  5. 5. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)Characteristics of Neo-Classicism:• Neo-Classicism is a revival of classicism.• Neo-Classical painters favored a finished and polished look- crisp lines, strongly delineated forms, clear drawing and modeling.• They believed good draughtsmanship (strong drawing) was Jacques-Louis David, Death of Socrates, 1787. rational, thus morally Oil on canvas, 51” x 77 ¼”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
  6. 6. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)• A student of David, Jean- Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), inherits his teacher’s Neo-Classical style and vows to defend the Davidian classical style from the influence of Romanticism. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808. Oil on canvas, 6.9” x 5.4”. The National Gallery, London.
  7. 7. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)• Perhaps more than his predecessor, Ingres was heavily influenced by the Renaissance tradition of Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael (1483- 1520).• His Apotheosis of Homer, exhibited in the 1827 Salon, is his greatest expression of the classical ideal. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Apotheosis of Homer, 1827. Oil on canvas, 152” x 202”. Louvre, Paris
  8. 8. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)• Ingres’ Apotheosis is modern homage to Raphael’s School of Athens. Raphael, Philosophy (School of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Athens), 1509–1511. Fresco, 26’ x 18’. Papal Ingres, Apotheosis of Homer, 1827. Oil on apartment, Vatican, Rome. canvas, 152” x 202”. Louvre, Paris
  9. 9. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)• Although deeply committed to the Davidian style, Ingres did flirt with Romanticism.• In Le Grande Odalisque, Ingres uses a brilliant, yet delicate palette and sensuous line to marry the color of Romanticism and the clarity of Neo- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Le Grande Classicism. Odalisque, 1814. Oil on canvas, 36” x 64”. Louvre, Paris.
  10. 10. Neo-Classicism (18th-early 19th century)Neo-Classical Sculpture• The Neo-Classical style remained dominant in sculpture well into the 19th century.• Neo-Classical sculptors modeled their work primarily from the Roman copies of ancient Greek sculpture available.• Neo-Classical sculpture, especially public sculpture, was meant to educate the viewer and inspire the audience for nobility. Antonio Canova, Cupid and Psyche, 1796. Marble, 61” high. Louvre, Paris.
  11. 11. Neo-Classicism and America (1750- 1900) • In America, Neo- Classical sculpture is represented best in the works of Hiram Powers (1805- 1873) and Horatio Greenough (1805-1852). Horatio Greenough, George Hiram Powers, The GreekWashington, 1832. Marble, 1136 ” Slave, 1851. Marble. 165.7 × 53.3 × × 63 ½”. National Museum of 46.4 cm. New American History. Haven, Connecticut, Yale University
  12. 12. Neo-Classicism and America (1750- 1900)• The Neo-Classical style shaped early American sculpture and architecture.• Americans embraced Neo- Classicism for 150 years.• Neo-Classicism became the style that shaped a burgeoning nation, representative of its democratic ideals.• A transatlantic phenomenon, American Neo- Classicism was originally a byproduct of America’s close cultural ties to London. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, 1770-1806.
  13. 13. Neo-Classicism and America (1750- 1900)• This Neo-Classicism style became closely associated with America’s Federal Period (1789-1901).• The style came to represent democracy and as a result became the dominant style of many public American buildings including banks, state houses, univerisities, and Alexander Jackson Davis, 1827 drawing of the courts. Massachusetts State House, built 1798. Pencil on paper, dimensions unpublished.
  14. 14. Neo-Classicism and America (1750- 1900)• Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia also takes its architectural style from Neo-Classicism.• Inspired by the Pantheon (125 CE) in Rome, The Rotunda represents "authority of nature and power of reason" Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, 1822-1826. Charlottesville, VA.
  15. 15. Neo-Classicism and America (1750- 1900)• Jefferson designed the university’s rotunda in the style of his own home, Monticello, which was based on the Palladian model. The three buildings look strikingly similar. Andrea Palladio, Villa Capra (La Rotonda), 1566- 1571, Vicenza, Italy. ThomasJefferson, Monticello, 1770- Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, 1822- 1806. Charlottesville, VA. 1826. Charlottesville, VA.
  16. 16. Romanticism (1800-1880)• Romanticism is essentially a reaction to Neo-Classicism.• As a style it is highly individualistic, emotionally charged, exotic, and aesthetically poetic.• European artists closely associated with the movement include J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, John Constable, and William Blake. – These artists shared an Joseph Mallord William Turner, Slavers interest in the sublime and Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — man’s relationship with Typhon coming on or The Slave Ship, 1840. Oil nature. on canvas 35 3/4 x 48 ¼”. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  17. 17. Romanticism (1800-1880)Characteristics of Romanticism:• Elevation of the artist, emphasis on artistic imagination and individuality.• Awe of nature and the sublime. – It permitted the evocation of strong emotion, including trepidation, awe, and horror, as legitimate aesthetic experiences.• Interest in the common man.• Strong senses, emotion, and feelings.• Interest in the exotic.• Celebration of the individual.• Successors of Romanticism include the Pre-Raphaelite movement and the Symbolists.• But Impressionism, and through it almost all of 20th century art, is also firmly rooted in the Romantic tradition.
  18. 18. Romanticism (1800-1880)Characteristics of Romanticism:• Stylistically, artists begin to loosen control of the brush; the artist’s hand becomes evident.• Artists introduce new and innovative subject matter or re- William Blake, The spiritual form of Nelson guiding Leviathan, in whose conceptualize old themes wreathings are infolded the Nations of the Earth, c. 1805-9. Tempera on canvas 30" x 24”. Tate Britain, London.
  19. 19. Romanticism (1800-1880)• In the United States, the leading Romantic movement was the Hudson River School of dramatic landscape painting.• Romanticism is heavily associated with Manifest Destiny. Thomas Cole, The Oxbow, 1836. Oil on canvas, 51 ½” x 76”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
  20. 20. Romanticism (1800-1880)• In France, Romanticism is dominated by the French painter, Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863).• In opposition to the Davidian style inherited by Ingres, Delacroix promoted the influence and styling of Baroque artist, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). – Rubenism vs. Poussinisme • In contrast to Poussinisme, Rubenism views color to be equally important to drawing for a successful Eugène Delacroix, Odalisque, 1825-1827. Oil painting on canvas, 14.9” x 18.3”. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.
  21. 21. Rubenism vs. Poussinisme• Painted approximately 11 years apart, take note of the stylistic variations of Delacroix’s Odalisque in comparison to Ingres’ Odalisque.• Delacroix’s rejection of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Le Grande Odalisque, 1814. Oil on canvas, academic standards 36” x 64”. Louvre, Paris. represented in the work of Ingres earned him the moniker “apostle of ugliness” given to him by Ingres.• His style also won him swift rejection by the art establishment. Eugène Delacroix, Odalisque, 1825-1827. Oil on canvas, 14.9” x 18.3”. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.
  22. 22. Romanticism (1800-1880)• Romantics artists begin to capture the contemporary moment.• Delacroixs iconic painting represents the mounting civil unrest in France. Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830. Oil on canvas, 128”x102.4”. Musée du Louvre, Paris
  23. 23. Romanticism (1800-1880)• Delacroix’s legacy, however, lie in his application of paint- specifically his juxtaposition of colors in blocks of charged and complimentary color.• His strokes were sometimes longer, resonating chords and other times quick, independent brushstrokes. – his style of painting would influence the Impressionists Eugène Delacroix, The Lion Hunt, 1861. Oil on and Post-Impressionists of canvas, 30 1/8” x 38 ¾”. Art Institute of the late 19th century. Chicago.
  24. 24. Romanticism (1800-1880)• Romanticism in Germany explored landscape’s facility to communicate the natural sublime, spiritual and cultural values.• His paintings reject Renaissance order as demonstrated here in the unconventional application of the 1:1.6 ratio (golden ratio) of the monk in relationship to his natural Casper David Friedrich, Monk by the environment. Sea, 1808. Oil on canvas 43.31" x 67.52". Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.
  25. 25. • Friedrich drew on the natural world around him, often returning to the same area again and again.• Here, man is dwarfed by the remains of Gothic architecture and the frame of nature. Casper David Friedrich, Cloister Graveyard in the Snow, 1819. Oil on canvas 48”x67”. Formerly Nationalgalerie, Berlin (destroyed WWII).
  26. 26. Romanticism and its Legacy• Friedrich’s work, with its interest in the sublime, would go on to interest the most modern of artists including Abstract Expressionist Barnet Newman. Casper David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, Barnett Newman, Onement I, 1948. Oil 1808. Oil on canvas 43.31" x 67.52". Alte on canvas, 27 ¼” x 16 ¼”. Museum of Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Modern Art, NY.