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Art History Final Project - Essay Example

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The value of art does not increase with time. In fact, most art fanatics treasure old paintings. The most expensive paintings were painted in between the 13th to 17th century. As such, measuring the quality of art while using an…
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Visual Arts and Film Studies Evolution of Art Introduction Many art fans value art from several periods. The value of art does not increase with time. In fact, most art fanatics treasure old paintings. The most expensive paintings were painted in between the 13th to 17th century. As such, measuring the quality of art while using an approach that involves reviewing the date it was painted is wrong. As such, it is good to love art created in various stages of the development. Creativity, development of new ideas, new ways of painting and different subjects define the development of art at different time periods.
Chapter One: Italian Renaissance
Going back in time to the beginning of European Renaissance, some of the best paintings were developed during the Italian Renaissance. The Italian Renaissance is one of the longest periods of art. The Italian renaissance started from the 14th century to the 16th century. Italian Renaissance marks the development of art from the medieval period to early European Modern paintings. Why then are there only a few paintings existing today that were painted during this period? Well, the answer is quite simple. Since the world had not yet experienced globalization during this era, only a few paintings were spared and saved during this era. However, there were many painters in this era but only a few of them became famous. Most painters during this period, and the art periods before this did not gain fame from their art. This also explains the reason that Italian Renaissance paintings are rare and very expensive when compared to newer paintings.
Italian Renaissance began in the city of Florence. Florence also developed the appreciation of art in value, when the rich people of Florence started viewing art as a valuable item. This then led to painters and artists viewing art as not only a hobby but also a way to make money (Benton & DiYanni 47). During this period of art, artists began viewing art as not only a part-time hobby but they made it a full-time job. This way, artists began to dedicate all their intellect, passion and time to painting thus improving the nature of their artworks from simple art forms to realist paintings. The Renaissance era also created a platform for genius painters to improve their skills, specializing more in art development. Innovative ideas and new ways of painting began to develop amongst many painters.
Another major characteristic about the era was the fact that it not only led to improvement of art, but also the development of a philosophy termed as humanism. Humanism made people to question the wisdom and knowledge they had acquired and became free-thinkers, who began living using their own ideas and not the ideas they had learnt from their parents and generations before them. As such, people began developing new paintings that were different from all paintings before this era. The subjects that these paintings portrayed and the medium used during paintings changed greatly. Nude paintings started being developed during this era. People began questioning the Medieval church and although before people were very religious, slowly people were separating themselves from religion. Most new paintings were not religion based. Individualistic portraits began to emerge as well. Instead of only painting what the church wanted people to paint, new ideas of painting were developed, such as people wanting to be painted. Architecture was not only similar to churches, but new ways of building and designing houses were developed. Sculptures were now new and they did not feature church icon. Italian Renaissance is thus origin of secular painting and thinking. Some of the most famous painters such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were from this era.
Italian Renaissance Painting Analysis

Raphael’s Marriage of the Virgin shows the subject matter of independent thinking. The painting shows a wedding taking place outside the church, whereas, weddings were mainly held within the churches. The great use of cool colors shows beauty. Cool colors were a main feature in Italian Renaissance paintings as illustrated in this painting. The use of perspective was also another characteristic that was introduced in the early Renaissance. Perspective has been widely used by the painter. The church dome in the background together with the sky, the floor in middle ground and the people in the foreground have been well represented in this painting. The painting is a realist appearance which makes the painting appear similar to a photograph taken at the same time.
Warm colors have been used economically in the painting and this thus shows the fact that cool colors make paintings appear more appealing to the eyes, while warm colors makes paintings appealing to the soul. Art was appreciated so much during the Italian Renaissance. Realism emerged in this period because painters began seeing painting as work which would make them money.
Chapter two: Greek civilization
The second destination of the time travel machine is the Greek civilization. The Greek civilization era is mainly characterized by the Athenian leadership suppressing the Persian invasion. Classical Greek culture is viewed as the influential culture that led to the birth of the contemporary western culture. Classical Greek painting era also featured a variety of largely appreciated paintings whose influence is still felt to date. The period made more than a way to keep memories and also made art entertaining. Greek civilization era was from the 8th Century to 4th Century BC. The paintings in this era are still extremely expensive in today’s market (Benton & DiYanni 65).
Unlike the preceding era, during this period, Polykleitos focused on an aspect that had been largely forgotten by most people in the generation before them, equilibrium and rhythm. Polykleitos art mainly focused on perfection that according to him comes about little by little. Perfection was one of the features of Polykleitos paintings. The second unique feature of Polykleitos paintings was the use of mathematical balance and proportion. This trend is well known as Pythagoras. Polykleitos paintings were very complex featuring simple subjects and themes. The use of color, combined with the subjects used all through the painting styles are all developed to be entertaining as well and very dramatic (Benton & DiYanni 69). Although Polykleitos paintings were momentarily meant to bring balance, clarity and completeness, they equally featured naked body of an athlete in his paintings. For instance, most paintings in Polykleitos style do not emphasize on holy features, but rather classical antiquity. This era also features a number of highly respected artists for instance, Skopas, Lysippus, Polykleitos the younger (Benton & DiYanni 70).
Greek Civilization painting analysis
Title: Spear bearer (Doryphoros)
Painter: Polykleitos
Year Painted: 1st Century BC
Media: Carrara Marble
Source: retrieved from
Featuring the discordant steadiness of proportion, The spear bearer ‘Doryphoros’, is a dramatic athletic painting developed by Polykleitos. The drama has been achieved both through the subject portrayed in the painting as well as the use of color. The painting is very colorful. It mainly emphasizes on the subject in foreground ‘balance and proportion’, who has been identified through the use of cool colors, combined with a concentration of non-dominant warm colors. Classical antiquity has been achieved through the bright lighting shining on the subject as a way to show equilibrium and rhythm. The man in the sculpture is in bright color to bring out the clear distinction of every segment of his body in asymmetrical manner the subject and theme are very simple but the complexity of the sculpture is beyond reprieve. The painting is largely dominated by the figure of a man to on a platform with the same color depicting beauty and harmony.
Chapter 3: Cubism
Away from ancient paintings, the time-travel journey of a painting fanatic shifts from the early 18th century to the 20th century. During this era, unrealistic painting were developed. One of the eras that brought about unrealistic paintings was the magical art era of cubism. Cubism was developed by two of the most celebrated contemporary painters, Picasso and Braques. Cubism paintings cannot be compared to the painting from the periods before. Though short, starting around 1907 and ending in the late 1930s, the era brought in a new way of painting. Cubism involves the combination of geometry and art to develop vividly identifiable features (Benton & DiYanni 422). Cubism is based around simple art technique that any creative individual can paint, even if they lack background in art. Most art fanatics believe that cubism was one of the worst things that ever happened to art since it destroyed the value of paintings. However, new art fans believe that cubism is by far the most innovative expression of beauty and innovation in painting.
Cubism is not purely western art. It was inspired by ancient African, Native American and Asian art pieces. As argued in the paragraph before, most critics viewed cubism as a simple style. Cubism is assumed to make art easy to paint, and making everyone believe that they could actually paint. Cubism also created an opportunity for the addition of art as a discipline in the school curriculum (Benton & DiYanni 400). The main features of cubist art include simplified forms, little use of color and the wide use of definite shapes to create, highlight and depict subjects identifiable to the real world. Cubist art also inspired the used collages in contemporary painting and photography.
The unreal approach adopted by Cubist painters also created opportunities for the development of urban painting styles such as graffiti. Illusion is an important area of assessment when it comes to cubist paintings, and through analyzing such features, the beauty of art from the cubist era can be appreciated and valued as greatly as a painting from any other era. Regardless, cubist fans view Cubism as a representation of realism, which is the depiction of the world in the way it is than the way it actually seems. Such an argument thus presents the argument that Cubism in general terms is a reduction of natural subjects, shapes or forms into their geometric equivalents.
Cubist Painting Analysis
This painting characterizes the use of geometry to show the realistic version of a factory on a beach. Small quantities of color have been used. There is a dominance of warm colors, which have been used to show the main features such as the rocky-sandy ground on which the factory is built. The central position of the painting and its good use of space also emphasize they key characteristics of cubist paintings. This painting has also used few cool colors to represent the sky and tree branches. Oval-like shapes represent the palm tree branches while cuboids and prisms have been used to represent the walls and the roof of the house respectively. The pillar behind the factory is also a dominant shape representing a chimney to the building. Besides the use of shapes, minimum use of color and the wide use of space, the simplicity showed in this painting is outstanding.
Work Cited
Benton, Janneta. &DiYanni, Robert. Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities, Fourth Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print. Read More
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