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Impressionism and Cubism | Comparison

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1240 words Published: 11th Jul 2018

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The art and painting in the human history started contemporary to the primitive age and progressed with the flow of time. Then human societies, possibly tried to record their most important events in the form of art and paintings. As found in Egyptian art, Native American’s, cave paintings of Ajanta and Elora, in Srilanka and many different places all over the world. This kind of paintings got refined in their presentation, technique, context and concept. But the valued subject matter up till late 19th century was historical, religious theme, architectural and portraits of the elite class. Landscape and still life were not getting any credentials. The same was the case with the Academie des Beaux-Art, Paris during the period of Emperor Napoleon III. And until then, art was purely an indoor event of recreating the subject matter with carefully finished images that mirrored really even on close observation. But the young artist from Barbizon school and may other started to think out of the box and started panting outdoors, mainly about landscape, still life and their perception of moments, emphasizing on the play of natural light. They used short broken brush strokes of various color without blending the color or creating a clear and sharp image of the object regard. The blending was left to be done by the viewer and feel the essence of the subject. They were trying to give a snap shot from a big picture, only about the portion. They felt and the way they perceived it. This giving a scope of artist wise variation in paintings of same object matter. They played the color storks in such lucid manner that the color reflection from object to object been depicted very effectively. Wet paints placed on over the other without letting it dry in order to give softer edge also created the vibrant color scheme. They painted in a lighter and brighter manner unlike the previous artisans. They captured the momentary of the contemporary life with the transient variations of the sunlight. And to make it more precious, they even painted in the evening to get proper shadow effects on the canvas. Mostly shadows were painted boldly. But they avoided use of pure black tone and using complementary colors made gray to dark shades and shadows were painted as the blue sky is been reflected on to the surface, which made the paintings more lively and fresh. The open arena also came up very effectively.

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These paintings when come to the Academie Des Beaux-Art Paris, they faced a strong criticism and rejected by the jury several times. Of this category paintings, by Claude Monet, with name Impression, Sunrise, drew a Humorous criticism from Louis Leroy who called the artist an impressionist. Soon the term gained popularity among the artists and critics. But they were facing continuous rejection from the Academie. In 1863, seeing these works rejected, the Emperor felt, public themselves should judge them. And the salon of the refused or salon des refused was created to display the works. Gradually the openness and capture of a contemporary daily life in the vibrant colorfulness of these paintings that allowed the viewers to sense and feel the picture rather just seeing it, become popular and the art variety got a foothold as impressionism. This opened the door to think freely and more independently and allowed the artist to express their feeling and perception rather than recreating just a replica of the reality. impressionism movement existed at around 1860-1880s in France and spread to other parts of Europe and US through exhibitions.

Artist of the later period started to apply their thoughts in every possible way and more freely in successive time frame. The impressionist’s way inspired the artists of later period to think more independently and innovatively. Artists started using their ability to try different things in all aspects of painting. Whether it is technique, material, or presentation there were many new move. As a result some more art variety came into existence. Prominent among them were Fauvism (1900AD. And lasted beyond 1910AD.), peak years being 1905-1907, Expressionism also came into existence.

The unique ability of artist Paul Cézanne to simplify natural forms into basic geometrical shapes like spheres, cylindrical, and cones, gave a new dimension in form presentation. He also tried to break painted surface into multifaceted area points and created a sense of multiple viewpoints available at the same time, same plane.

Around this era only (late 19th to early 20th century), the European artists got acquainted with other art forms from Native America, Africa, and Micronesia. These foreign art forms and their style inspired artist like Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Matisse and many others. Picasso, a less famous artist at that time, inspired with Iberian sculpture, African masks and African art; painted in anew style that was actually taking Paul Cézanne’s idea to a further plane. Since 1907 to 1919, artists like Picasso, Braque, Juan Gris and many others worked on this new form, which later was recognized as Cubism. These cubist artist had revolutionized the visualization method altogether. They were able to put almost all surfaces or view point of a subject matter onto the canvas at the same time, that to arranged in a random geometrical shapes.

Initially, during 1908 to 1912, the cubist “analyzed” the subject matter and reframed them onto the two dimensional plane. They used mostly blue, gray, and ochre, but in a monochromatic scheme, in contrast to the colorful impressionist. Their emphasize was on geometrical forms rather on color scheme to present their subject matter. Picasso and Braque presented the natural world in such a way on canvas that the visual language triggered a complicated meditation to understand and feel. They carried the viewer’s thinking ability to a much higher plane and a viewer was able to reframe and analyze the picture though multiple viewpoint. Because of the presentation and understanding pattern these works are grouped as Analytical Cubism.

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Later, the cubists started using different texture, collage material, surface to present a large variety of subject matter. This in turn gave birth to Synthetic Cubism. In Picasso’s work, the still life with chair-canning in 1911-12, he represented chair-canning by using printed oil cloth. He used oval canvas and a rope framing in it. Pieces of newspaper, sheet music and other items were used as collage to enhance the illusion. This kind of artistic approach was much different than in the period of impressionism when artist were more with the color scheme, light variation, and preferably mono viewpoint capture.

And in time frame both Impressionism and Cubism influenced other media as well like music, sculpture, and architecture. Cubism found a better strong hold on the sculpture and architecture whose examples are well distributed in Czech Republic and other part of the world.

Thus Impressionism and Cubism, although representing two eminent phases in the European art culture, are very different in their technique, presentation and concept. Yet both the categories are highly influential and revolutionary in the field of art culture that has brought many new possibilities to the artist to express in unique and more meaningful way, till today.


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