The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) is in possession of two paintings whose arresting presence is worth a journey of exploration into their times, and the motivations of their artists. They are: Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin by Gino Severini (1912) and Dance…
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Then the two works will be examined individually, seeking similarities and differences. Lastly, a summarizing conclusion will include this student’s impressions. Since the two paintings here were painted only three years apart, a look into the locations of their origin and influences is merited.
The lives and works of both these artists changed when they gained new insights on the use of color: Matisse when he met John Peter Russell1, and Severini when he met Boccioni 2. Both lived and worked at a time when the world was making new relationships with scientific progress. Invention of new modes of transport kicked up speed; technology was increasing, and an industrial explosion made employment, and affordability of consumer items, available to all (or almost all). There was conflict in world politics that would soon lead to two world wars. Established traditions, and the depiction of nature and natural things, started to be replaced by a general interest in mechanization and synthetic substance3. Until then, art was sentimental and - with the exception of some expressionists’ work - largely representational: that is, it depicted persons, places, and things more or less as they were seen by a normal eye. With the advent of photography in the late 1800s, the need for painters to portray people, objects and places precisely was gone.4 In 1909, Futurism was introduced in Europe. It was a movement, started in Italy, that attacked the general fear of technology in everyday life. It had a written manifesto about an ‘exciting new world’ that could be represented in art.5 Severini was one of the first artists to sign the manifesto.6 He had an ear to the ground and felt what was coming.
Matisse, on the other hand, was a friend of Picasso’s, an artist who greatly influenced modern art. They both moved in Parisian circles that questioned existing philosophy and established attitudes and beliefs: their art
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Date 20th Century Modern Art The two genres of art that emerged and became popular in the post WWII era were Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, while New York became the art capital of the world, allowing development and comparison of different art forms.
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