Modernism as the Rejection of Tradition: European Artworks 1860-1935

2865 words (11 pages) Essay

18th May 2020 Arts Reference this

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Modernism is typified by the rejection of tradition. Discuss this idea through the in-depth analysis of at least four European artworks from 1860-1935.

Intro

Modernism is a group of movements that started around the 1860’s and ended around the 1930’s. It can also be debated that modernism is still in progress to this day. Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism and Surrealism are all movements that fall under the modernism banner. Modernism movements are normally classified as modernism by their rejection of tradition.

Tom Nicholas, Modernism: WTF? An Introduction To Modernism In Art And Literature, video, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_pywMFS8G0.

By rejecting tradition, we can better explore our emotions and communicate deeper thoughts, feelings and meanings, as well as exploring the idea of reality.

Context

Before and during the time of modernism there were many wars and many advancements in the human world. One of the most influential events started in the early 1870’s, this was the Second Industrial Revolution. The Second Industrial Revolution brought about electricity, cars, phones and mass production of everything. This revolution can be thought of as dehumanising people by getting rid of their sense of individuality, but it can also connect people in ways of faster transport and communication, as allows for easy access to loved ones, in person or in just a voice.

“Second Industrial Revolution”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Industrial_Revolution.

“Timeline Of The 19Th Century”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_19th_century.

CrashCourse, Ford, Cars, And A New Revolution: Crash Course History of Science #28, video, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPvwpYeOJnI.

Another influential event is World War 1 (WW1). In 1913 WW1 began, this brought about lots of advancements of technology in the form of modern weaponry. This showed people how technology could not only be used to connect people but as a means to destroy them, and this bleak thought process can be reflected on to the art of modernism artists.

“Timeline Of The 19Th Century”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_19th_century.

Cubism

Cubism is modernism movement/art style that started in the early 20th century, around about 1907. Cubism was a form of realism, that rejected the traditional thought of what realism was. Their idea of realism, was not what they saw but what they thought or felt, summed up by Picasso as “I paint object as I think them, not as I see them” – Pablo Picasso. The idea of the works was to express what you felt or thought about an object, not about how the object looked.

“Pablo Picasso Quotes”, Brainyquote, accessed 13 August 2019, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/pablo_picasso_106029.

“Cubism”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism.

When Cubism first appeared, it was rejected as it was not real art. Real art at the time was more of a replica of life not an adaptation of it. When Cubism arose, they were nearing the end of the second industrial revolution and about to start WW1. So, in the mind of cubism artists, the world had no logic as it had drastically changed from what was depicted before and was about to go though an even more drastic change in the form of WW1, or for them The Great War. As the world no longer had any logic, they reflected that in art.

(Picasso, Pablo), Girl with Mandolin, 1910, Oil on Canvas, 100.3 X 73.6 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Futurism

Futurism is an Italian movement that first started in 1909 and later ended in 1914. The movement did start up again after WW1. The idea of futurism was focused around the technology built during the second industrial revolution. Futuristic artworks tried to portray movement in the form of ripples, strokes and, or other means. Futurism communicated the speed and the power of objects and people in this way, showing movement in a still image. This rejected the traditional idea that art should imitate life as close as possible, by instead showing something that can not be seen in a still image, movement.

(D’anna, Giulio), The Swimmer, 1930, tempera on cardboard, 9 X 13 Inches, Commendatore Stefano Acunto and Mrs. Carole Haarmann Acunto

As Futurism was brought about by the advancement of technology from the second industrial revolution, when that technology started to be used for harm in the WW1, people started to stray away from the movement as they saw the damage that came from the thing they were promoting.

“Futurism In Art – A Different Kind Of Vision For Our Today”, Widewalls, accessed 13 August 2019, https://www.widewalls.ch/futurism-art/.

“Futurism: Concepts And Imaginings”, Boca Raton Museum Of Art, 2014, https://www.bocamuseum.org/exhibitions/futurism-concepts-and-imaginings-0.

Dadaism

Dadaism is an international modernism movement that was popular in USA and France. It started approximately around 1916. Dadaism is a movement that questions what art itself is. It strays away from the traditional belief, that art is in imitation of life, that is as real as possible, and instead it accepts lots of different artworks, even the weird and strange, as artworks. An example of this is Marcel Duchamp’s artwork made in 1917, Fountain. Fountain is a urinal, this urinal was signed and placed on top of a pedestal, thus making it art.

“144. Fountain, Marcel Duchamp – AP Art History”, Sites.Google.Com, accessed 11 August 2019, https://sites.google.com/site/adairarthistory/iv-later-europe-and-americas/144-fountain-marcel-duchamp.

“Fountain (Duchamp)”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_(Duchamp).

(Duchamp, Marcel), Fountain, 1917, found object, 61 X 36 X 48 cm, original missing

Dadaism started near the end of WW1 and happened during a time of confusion and grief.

Dadaism is also described as a state of mind, a state of mind of chaos and confusion, and this brought to life many strange artworks, including many reimaged Mona Lisa’s and photo collages.

Dadaism seemed to mock or play with the old idea of traditional art, by grabbing existing artworks, they could easily make a bold statement or just be playing around with it. Some people hated this mockery while others embraced it and continued to make wackier and wackier art.

 

Surrealism

The Surrealism movement/art style started around 1920 and vastly spread. Surrealism is the art style of dream-like images, images that half make sense and half don’t. Also described as dream photography, surrealism tried to liberate the unconscious, though art.  A good example of this is, Bruno Pontiroli’s La Boucle d’or. In the image you can see a tiger, but this tiger is not normal as it has an extra-long torso that is curved in a way that it has done a loop t’ loop. This is not realistic, as that motion could not happen, but it is painted in such a way that it looks realistic.

(Pontiroli, Bruno), La Boucle d’or, 2019, oil on canvas, 21.25” X 28.75”, Corey Helford Gallery

Surrealism can be used to express deeper thought on different subjects. Surrealism has been used a lot to express a decline in animals. In such ways as making animals out of different materials, such as meatal and poacher items.

“Corey Helford Gallery – Shows – Show Detail”, Coreyhelfordgallery.Com, 2019, https://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/shows/lucky-13-anniversary-group-sho/la-boucle-dor/.

Bruno Pontiroli, La Boucle D’or, image, 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/BxkicQMHUme/?hl=en.

(Magritte, Rene), La Trahison des Images, 1929, oil on canvas, 60.33 cm X 81.12cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Surrealism also expresses the idea of what is real and what is not. An example of this is Rene Magritte work, La Trahison des Images, which translates to The Treachery of Images. In the painting is a pipe and underneath said pipe it states, “This is not a pipe”. This is because this is not a pipe but a drawing of a pipe, this statement is both true and false, as it is a pipe, but not a real pipe.

“The Treachery Of Images”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images.

Conclusion

By rejecting tradition, we can better explore our emotions and communicate deeper thoughts, feelings and meanings, as well as exploring the idea of reality.

To Conclude, modernism is a series of art movements that started around the 1860’s and can be debated that its ongoing to this day. The idea of modernism is to reject the tradition’s set by people from the past.

Cubism does this by thinking of a new reality that is a warped as our own. If the world is not perfect, why should art by?

Futurism does this by adding movement to a still image, in the form of waves and strokes. Life never stops moving, why should art?

Dadaism does this by asking “what is art, and what can be art?”. This playful movement also shows that art does not have to be serious.

Surrealism does this by tapping into the unconscious mind and showing something that is real and unreal at the same time.

All of these movements have come about because people wanted a new way to express them selves and the new world that has come about from the drastic changes to the world.

 

 

 

Reference List

  • Tom Nicholas, Modernism: WTF? An Introduction To Modernism In Art And Literature, video, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_pywMFS8G0.
  • “Second Industrial Revolution”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Industrial_Revolution.
  • “Timeline Of The 19Th Century”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_19th_century.
  • CrashCourse, Ford, Cars, And A New Revolution: Crash Course History of Science #28, video, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPvwpYeOJnI.
  • “Pablo Picasso Quotes”, Brainyquote, accessed 13 August 2019, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/pablo_picasso_106029.
  • “Cubism”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism.
  • “Futurism In Art – A Different Kind Of Vision For Our Today”, Widewalls, accessed 13 August 2019, https://www.widewalls.ch/futurism-art/.
  • “Futurism: Concepts And Imaginings”, Boca Raton Museum Of Art, 2014, https://www.bocamuseum.org/exhibitions/futurism-concepts-and-imaginings-0.
  • “144. Fountain, Marcel Duchamp – AP Art History”, Sites.Google.Com, accessed 11 August 2019, https://sites.google.com/site/adairarthistory/iv-later-europe-and-americas/144-fountain-marcel-duchamp.
  • “Fountain (Duchamp)”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_(Duchamp).
  • “Corey Helford Gallery – Shows – Show Detail”, Coreyhelfordgallery.Com, 2019, https://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/shows/lucky-13-anniversary-group-sho/la-boucle-dor/.
  • Bruno Pontiroli, La Boucle D’or, image, 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/BxkicQMHUme/?hl=en.
  • “The Treachery Of Images”, En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images.

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