Art history 1.

LEARN ABOUT EARLY ART PERIODS
Some people get PhDs in Art History; we're perfectly content to merely have you scam your way through centuries of artistry. So below, we provide you with the characteristics of the basic art periods. We warn you -- there's A LOT here. So feel free to skim or skip around. But don't forget to go to step 2 when you're done. ANTIQUITIES: before 500 years B.C. This refers to stuff that's so old, that it's usually appreciated more for its archeological value rather than its artistic expression. Dead giveaways: Everything's broken and half gone. What's left has been pieced back together with Krazy Glue. Pretentious comment to say: "Imagine the Herculean task of the sculptor-carving the hardest of rocks, in the hottest of climates, with the simplest of tools." GREEKS AND ROMANS: 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. These cultures appreciated the ideal: men looking beautiful and achieving great feats. The art of this period is particularly important because most of the ideals of Western civilization came from these artistic portrayals. They also carved a lot of naked marble statues, many of which are missing arms and/or heads. Dead giveaways: Missing Noses and other protrusions. Usually, the statues are made of white marble, while vases are black. Pretentious comment to say: "Note how the sculptor draws attention to his virtuosity by holding back. That is what classic means." MEDIEVAL: 500 to 1500 Medieval art can seem even more primitive than its predecessors; it's as if they were starting over from scratch (and in a sense they were, what with the Black Plague and all). Most of the stuff is religious, and that should factor into your (faked) appreciation. These relics were not just meant to be beautiful -- To the people of the Middle Ages, they held sacred power. Many of the artistic works of this period were created purely for religious purposes.

Dead giveaways: On the little placard next to the painting, look for "egg tempera on panel" in the media category and "Madonna" in the title. A flat, 2-dimensional perspective also abounded in this period. Pretentious comment to say: "Images of Hell gave the usually reserved monk-like artists an opportunity to explore their subconscious fears." RENAISSANCE: 1400 to 1520 The Renaissance was like the All-Star game of art history. During the Renaissance (literally meaning "rebirth," as in the rebirth of Greek and Roman artistic sensibilities), Europe experienced a cultural boom and great value was placed on art. As a result, a large number of extraordinary artists all appeared at once (especially in Italy) and produced revolutionary works of art. Four of the most famous artists of this period were Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael. Dead giveaways: People in robes and halos gesturing. Other characteristics include a rich 3-D perspective, human subjects in proportion, and the believable representation of spaces. It was during this period when artists tried to mimic reality as closely as possible. Pretentious comment to say: "Note how the perspective is more an allusion to space than an illusion of space." BAROQUE: 1600 to 1725 The Baroque period carried on the Renaissance forms but added a heavily melodramatic flair. The result? Baroque art, with its fat cherubs and gilded frippery. Landscapes and still lifes also sprouted in this period, giving motels around the world something to hang over their double beds. Look for works by Caravaggio and Bernini in Italy and Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer in Holland. Dead giveaways: Fat women, light rays and fruit bowls. Pretentious comment to say: "The way the bountiful figures spill over from darkness into light is so typical of the Baroque style." NEOCLASSICAL: 1700 to 1800 During the Neoclassical period, the work of the Greeks and Romans became hip again, but Neoclassicism took a more romantic look at classical subjects. Melodramatic paintings of historical subjects are

in vogue and robes are back in fashion. If you need to namedrop, casually mention Jacques Louis David (pronounced Jock Loo-wee Da-VEED). Dead giveaways: armor, spears and sandals. Pretentious comment to say: "I'm blown away by the precision of the composition, the accuracy of the costumes and the expressiveness of the gestures." REALISM: 1800 to 1880 Realism was a movement started Gustave Courbet (Goo-stov CorBAY), and it refers to the subject of the pictures, not the style. Realists preferred to paint images of thing that they could see, reacting against those who painted imaginary or idealized stuff. Dead giveaways: a big red signature that says "Courbet." Pretentious comment to say: "His journalistic approach to reproducing the facts of the real world gives me chills."

2. LEARN ABOUT MODERN ART PERIODS
The last two centuries have seen an exhilarating march of overlapping and blending movements. Don't worry too much about it; just realize that art that does not attempt directly reflect reality is usually considered to be "modern." The art movements below are all factions of modern art. MODERN ART: 1800 - present Modern Art entered around 1800, a century before Picasso and his buddies made it famous again. While traditional portrait painting was still being cranked out by the acre, there was a growing movement of artists who wanted to rebel against the stage-y art that people were hanging over their living room sofas. What makes a work "modern" is its purposeful breaking of the traditions of the past; those who broke the rules got the headlines. Modern art does not necessarily represent concrete objects (be it real, like a person, or imaginary, like a unicorn), but rather revels in its weirdness. Dead giveaways: the tourists around you are squinting and asking, "What is it?" Pretentious comment to say: "It is art."

IMPRESSIONISM: 1870 to 1900 Spun off from realism, Impressionism took the act of seeing to a new level, thanks to an obsession with light and color. Impressionists painted the light they could see, using countless little dabs of paint. Claude Monet was the founder of the movement and its most consistent practitioner. In short, impressionism is obsessed with tons of colors, and as the movie Clueless so eloquently put it, impressionist paintings look normal from far away, "but close up, it's a big ol' mess." Dead giveaways: the same image painted two or more times under different lighting conditions. Pretentious comment to say: "Look closely. All the colors in the painting are represented in every square inch of the canvas." POSTIMPRESSIONISM: 1880 to 1920 The Postimpressionism movement basically consists of a group of guys who have no other distinction than coming after the impressionists. They started out with the impressionist rules of painting light, but went in different directions. Postimpressionism also has a particular affinity for drawing attention to the physical act of painting, focusing on such features as thick swabs of paint (Van Gogh) or only painting with tiny dots of color (Seurat). Others include Gauguin and Cezanne. Dead giveaways: You see paint first, image second. Pretentious comment to say: "You know, his ear never had a chance to grow back." CUBISM: 1900 to 1920 Cubism has nothing to do with Cuba; rather, it was an intellectual approach to the figure/ground problem. For instance, Picasso and Braque used multi-facets (unrealistically portraying several perspectives at once) to break up the forms of the figures and blend them into the ground. Dead giveaways: It was painted by Picasso or Braque between 1906 and 1921. Pretentious comment to say: "In the collage phase, Picasso synthesizes his faceted abstractions with the new sound of Jazz."

ABSTRACT: 1912 to present Abstract art refers to works that have no literal subject at all. The artist strips the forms and colors of any trace of representation. The painting doesn't represent anything at all. It just is. Even in abstract art there's still the classic and romantic split. Kandinsky, for example, painted chaotic splotches of singing color that clearly set him in the emotional category. Mondrian's works, on the other hand, are classic calm. Dead giveaways: You say to yourself, "I could do that." Pretentious comment to say: Anything but, "I could do that." OTHER 20th CENTURY MOVEMENTS Style: De Stijl Artist: Mondrian Look for: Monopoly boards, the Partridge Family bus. Pretentious comment to say: "The asymmetrical balance is so simple, yet complex." Style: Surrealism Artists: Dali, Magritte Look for: Melting clocks, floating bowler hats Pretentious comment to say: Anything with the words "existential" and "gestalt." Style: Abstract Expressionism Artist: Pollock Look for: Dribbling, drippy paint splattered on the canvas. Pretentious comment to say: "The enormous canvas envelopes your perception and draws you into the network of drips like an insect into a web." Style: Pop Art Artist: Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein Look for: Campbell's Soup cans. Pretentious comment to say: "His original reproductions of mass produced objects are an ironic commentary on the modern preoccupation with materialism."

ANCIENT ART(ANTIQUITIES): before 500 years B.C. The artifacts found are usually so old, that it's usually appreciated more for its archeological value rather than its artistic expression. Many of the artifacts found are broken and damaged due to the test of time. However, they provide us with an understanding of the culture and civlisation of the time Some of the items found are things like tools, pottery, stone carvings and jewellery. If you are more interested in ancient art, you can read up more on the ancient civilisation like the Ice Age Humans, Mesopotamias, Ancient China and Ancient Egyptians. Some of the famous ancient artifacts are "The Cave of Lascaux" in France and the "Tell Asmar Statues".

GREEKS AND ROMANS: 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. The Greeks and Romans appreciated the ideal, imagine beautiful men and women and a culture so into achieving great feats. The art of this period is particularly important because most of the ideals of Western civilization came from these artistic portrayals. The art is represented by life-like marble statues, many of which have missing arms and/or heads. Usually, the statues are made of white marble, while vases are black. You may want to read up more on the Archaic Greek, Greek Classicism and Hellenism and The Roman Republic.

Antinoös

Alexander the great

MEDIEVAL: 500 to 1500

Medieval art seems more primitive than its predecessors. Artists in this era seems to be reinventing and recreating their art forms, instead of improving on its predecessor. The art in this era are created for religious purposes and they were believed to hold sacred powers. This is known as the Middle Ages. The period of European history between the last Roman emperor and the Renaissance (476 A.D. to 1453 A.D.). The Roman Catholic Church was the most powerful authority during this period and new ideas and scientific observations which challenged the views of the Church were not encouraged or accepted. Most paintings depicted scenes holy figures and people important in the Christian religion. Even the most talented painters of the Middle Ages paid little attention to making humans and animals look lifelike, creating natural looking landscapes, or creating a sense of depth and space in their paintings. You may have visited some of the famous architecture of the time, for example The Notre Dame of Paris. Most people should be familiar with Gregorian Chant which is a form of sacred music of that time. I am sure you have read about the story of Joan of Arc...yes, she is one of the famous character of the time RENAISSANCE: 1400 to 1520 The Renaissance was like the superstar of art history. Renaissance means "rebirth," as in the rebirth of Greek and Roman artistic sensibilities. The People of the Renaissance saw themselves as witnessing the rebirth of what was the best of culture after a long period of darkness that so famously cahracterised the Middle Ages. Europe experienced a cultural boom and great value was placed on art. During this period, many extraordinary artists surfaced and produced revolutionary works of art, many were Italians. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael are some of the most famous artist of this era. The characteristics of the art in Renaissance are a rich 3-D perspective, human subjects in proportion, and the believable representation of spaces. The art tends to be realistic and mimics the actual subject.

The Baroque period carried on the Renaissance forms but added a heavily melodramatic flair with a sense of realism, colour and grandeur. Baroque art can be easily identified with its fat cherubs and gilded frippery. Landscapes and still lifes also sufaced. Some of the prominent artists of the era are Caravaggio and Bernini in Italy and Rembrandt and Vermeer in Holland. Purcell, Vivaldi, Handel and Bach are some of the most influential musicians and composers of the time

The Syndics of the Clothmaker's Guild (The Staalmeesters) 1662

NEOCLASSICAL: 1700 to 1800 During the Neoclassical period, the work of the Greeks and Romans became fashionable again. The period is also known as "The Enlightenment". Neoclassicism reflect a more romantic look at classical subjects. Melodramatic paintings of historical subjects are in vogue and robes are back in fashion. One of the famous artist of this era is Jacques Louis David (pronounced Jock Loo-wee Da-VEED). The characteristics of the art duing this time are the precision of the composition, the accuracy of the costumes and the expressiveness of the gestures. Mozart and Beethoven are one of the prominent composers and musicians of the time.

Napoleon at St. Bernard 1800

REALISM: 1800 to 1880 Realism was a movement started Gustave Courbet (Goo-stov Cor-BAY). This is prevalent during the Age of Romanticism. It represents the subject of the pictures, not the style. Realists preferred to paint images of thing that they could see, reacting against those who painted imaginary or idealized stuff.

A Thicket of Deer at the Stream of Plaisir-Fontaine 1866

IMPRESSIONISM: 1870 to 1900 This is a spun off from realism. Impressionism is obsessed with tons of colors. YOu can figure out the subject of the painting faraway but it looks a mess close-up. Impressionists painted the light they could see, using countless little dabs of paint. Claude Monet was the founder of the movement and its most consistent practitioner.

Claude Monert "Impression, Sunrise", 1873, oil on canvas, Musée Marmottan, Paris

CUBISM: 1900 to 1920 Cubism has nothing to do with Cuba; rather, it was an intellectual approach to the figure/ground problem. For instance, Picasso and Braque used multi-facets (unrealistically portraying several perspectives at once) to break up the forms of the figures and blend them into the ground.

Artillery, 1911 Roger de La Fresnaye (French, 1885–1925)

ABSTRACT: 1912 to present Abstract art refers to works that have no literal subject at all. The artist strips the forms and colors of any trace of representation. The painting doesn't represent anything at all. It just is. Kandinsky and Mondrian are some of the prominent artists.

Homage to the Square: With Rays, 1959 Josef Albers (American, born Germany, 1888–1976)

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