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Art history - Essay Example

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18 March 2011 The evolution of art in terms of concept and definition over the past 200 years. The relationship between aesthetics and contemporary art. Art is the pure expression of all the transformations that our society experiences. Therefore, as history takes its course, dealing with numerous changes in economic paradigms, political movements and intellectual thought, art and aesthetics evolve as well, transcending to a different level of human perception…
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Art history
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Download file to see previous pages Each of them had a specific view on the role of art within society, as well as its purpose and techniques. This is why, in my paper, I will study the most important artistic movements, starting with the 1800s and leading my analysis up to nowadays in order to understand how the definition of art has changed over the past 200 years and how can the term “aesthetic” be used in relation to contemporary art. The late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century were intellectually and culturally defined by the virtuous and rational Enlightenment movement. The ideas that it advocated were fueled from a renewed admiration for antiquity that sprung among intellectuals and artists at the time. This also triggered the development of the artistic movement called Neoclassicism, “which incorporated the subjects and styles of ancient art” (Kleiner 766). For Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first modern art historian, the “discovery of the beauty of Greek art was not of merely antiquarian interest: it was of vital importance to the creation of new beauty in the present and future” (Prettejohn 32). ...
Representative artists for this period are Jacques-Louis David and Angelica Kauffmann who favored subjects inspired from the Roman ancient history. However, towards the middle of the 19th century, beauty in art slips from its neoclassical simplicity and rational purity towards mystic and subjective grounds. Even David’s students, Antoine-Jean Gros, Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, although pursuing the study of ancient Greek and Roman art, started to manifest interest in new, unexplored subjects that were a deviation from the neoclassicist principles: “the realm of the exotic and the erotic” as well as “fictional narratives for the subjects of their paintings” (Kleiner 781). These artists eased in the transition from Neoclassicism to a new artistic movement, known as the Romantic movement. Romanticism promoted the freedom of imagination and shifted art towards a strong emphasis on feeling, intuition and emotion. While neoclassical artists were concerned to transmit an idea in a simple, yet perfect form, the romantic artists aimed to convey dramatic emotion through powerful images. For romantics, beauty was not to be found at the surface of forms, but in the deep human imagination; they were driven towards the occult, the fantastic and the deep, unexplored craters of human unconsciousness. If Neoclassicism found its inspiration in Antiquity, Romanticism found it in the Middle Ages, also known as, the Dark Ages. Important romantic artists are William Blake, Eugene Delacroix and Francisco Goya who depicted historical, heroic or extraordinary characters that were living an almost theatrical experience on the canvas. This Romantic explosion in emotion and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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