This image could be a representation of a new art period in the twenty first century that is just as popular as other styles such as the nineteenth century art. It may not be as serious, detailed, or meaningful as the historical European art but it is widely seen and created. Although the image is simple, silly, and childish and can not be compared to the grand paintings done by artists such as Michelangelo or Raphael, this cartoon picture can be seen by millions of computer users with just a click away. The ever-growing technology and the use of the internet, especially through social networking sites, help spread images such as this one rapidly and can raise the number of views in just seconds. With the popularity increasing, there should be a call for a style name of these types of pictures.
People most likely know historical European paintings due to the popularity, the techniques use, or the beauty of it but many people will also look at this image because it can give them something to laugh about or they can relate to it. Anyone can do stick figures and doodles but looking deeper, the artist of this image is expressing his/her thoughts and by posting it up, he/she can find similar people with the same attitude about it. This image could be one of just millions of other similar pictures found on the web. The image can stand for a totally different nontraditional art period where it can be viewed anywhere with Wi-Fi and is not taken seriously because it is just for fun. However, similar to nineteenth century European art and other art styles, this image is just as expressive.
In creating his meticulous photographic study of a horse’s gallop, Eadweard Muybridge played a pivotal role in paving the way for the future of motion pictures, cinematography, and scientific studies of motion. Muybridge began his series of stop-motion photographs, titled The Horse in Motion, in 1878 when California governor Leland Stanford enlisted the help of Muybridge to settle the debate of whether all four legs of a horse were elevated in mid-gallop, and to clarify the exact positioning of the horse’s legs. Historically, painters often rendered galloping horses with their front legs pushing forward and hind legs pushing back. It was Muybridge’s study which falsified this depiction by capturing the exact moment in which a horse is airborne, concluding that all four legs of a horse were in fact pushed backward under the body when galloping. As a result, the study provided significant insight into the physics of motion, and prompted artists to carefully consider and refine their depiction of movement.
Muybridge successfully struck a fine balance between science and art; while he strove for accuracy and pragmatism, he simultaneously took into account the lighting, composition, and framing of his series of photographs. Perhaps his most notable achievement in executing The Horse in Motion was capturing an action so detailed and rapid that it was unseeable to the human eye. Muybridge further invested himself in the study of dynamics and continued to develop his work over a period of years, moving from the study of horses onto other animal and human activity, and his photographic work ultimately became a key reference point for artists and scientists alike.
Typographic designs today are mostly influenced by the past. Many of these are brought about by the Industrial revolution.
Since the late 18th century, working with engraving and/or a steel pen, calligraphy masters created lavishly curved scripts as well as finally detailed roman capitals rendered in high contrast. These alphabets influenced typeface designs such as the ones we use today such as Bodoni, Baskerville & Didot. The rise of advertising in the 19th century encouraged the demand for large scale letters that could command attention. Many posters use a variety of different fonts to maximize the scale of letters in the space allotted. Even though the typefaces are richly different and fight against the grid of letterpress, I feel that it gives more personality and dynamism to the overall article and work cohesively to fill a space up appropriately. This was possible in part because typefounders, besides creating “distorted” versions, also developed larger sizes of types for use on posted bulletins and innovated new typefaces including slab serifs, and decorative designs. Posters printed with large wood types were used extensively to advertise and to “specialize” new models of manufactured goods. One example is the 19th century textile trade where fabric companies were required to stamp their cloth with a label which included the supplier’s identifying mark, cloth type and length. Hand-made wood and copper stamps were used for printing these unique marks. These stamps included a lot of ornamented lettering and frills.
However, Due to technological advances today, we can emulate those styles on the computer without the use traditional methods. Comparing both images, the similarities are copious. Today, ornamental typography is just merely one of the many design choices designers use to create a ‘feel’. This tradition of ornamental hand lettering has transitioned over the time to what we today have come to know and love as “vintage”.
Typographic example from the 19th Century.
Wedding Invitation from 2012.
Looking at the positive and negative slides, the historical significance of William Fox Talbot’s tree photograph becomes clear in the innovation as well as the composition of the print. Taken in 1840, Talbot was a leader in the revolutionary field of photography. An Englishman, Talbot used a camera obscura to aid him in drawing and painting, as was common at the time. Soon, however, he discovered that if one coated a piece of writing paper with silver salts, and inserted it into the back of the camera obscura, a negative could be created. Likewise, once a negative was complete, by exposing it to the sun, a positive image resulted. This process of exposing a negative to light to obtain a positive was influential in the way that photography developed as a field, and how it is portrayed in this world today. The same process is still relied upon to develop and create prints from film. Personally, I am at home in a darkroom, and my ambitions would have been completely different if I could not set up my film and create positive exposures using the basis of Talbot’s technique.
Likewise, Talbot was taking the drawing knowledge that he had, and transferred it to a photograph. Using a camera obscura to draw, Talbot created the illusion of a foreground as well as a background, defining the space he was in. In his image, he also uses this drawing technique of “bigger closer, farther smaller” to create depth between his one main tree, and the smaller trees beyond. The overall aesthetic of the print is eery and dark, created by the intertwined branches and clouded sky. The print speaks to hardship and darkness, a sign that holds a different meaning for each person. That versatility is what allows this print to be so intriguing. Not only was Talbot creating a piece that would technologically change the art world, but he was also creating emotion and turmoil, utilizing experimentation, but not losing captivation.
Paul Gauguin Self Portrait, 1889, National Gallery of Art
Like many of Gauguin’s paintings, the bold use of flat color and shape along with its evocative symbolism and broad brush strokes within his Self Portrait, 1889 differed greatly from the Impressionist art movement which gripped the art world during its creation and thereby paved the way for future movements.
The Impressionist stylistic imperatives which were popular within France and throughout the art world during the 19th century differed greatly from that of Paul Gaguin. Rather than bold shapes, colors, and brushstrokes, Impressionists created their images through many, many apparent feathery markings of delicate colors. In addition, the subject matter of Impressionist paintings centered around light and movement rather than form; artists sought to capture and portray the experience and atmosphere of light or of the passing of a day rather than render its appearance.
Gauguin’s paintings rarely featured any of these aspects. In his Self Portrait Gauguin places himself in a non-location, devoid of any atmosphere and composed entirely of a flat plane divided into red and yellow halves. Space and light are completely ignored, Gauguin’s hand is painted pink and flat, whereas his face is painted with a conception of directional light. This ethereal quality is further exemplified through the strange black hood and halo which adorn Gauguin’s head. Two apples hang beside his face and a snake coils around his fingers, creating a sense of moral allegory. Gaugin seems to be creating a portrait not only of his face, but of his human condition, referencing aspects of the Judeo-Christian Fall of Man as recorded in the book of Genesis. He suggestively identifies himself as both guilty and innocent, good and evil, sinner and saint through these symbols.
These counter-cultural artistic expressions that Gauguin embraced lead to the inspiration of many great artists including Picasso and Matisse. Such experiments contributed greatly to the formation of the Symbolist movement as well as the Synthetist style.
Paul Cézanne’s work in the 19th century was instrumental is leading the way to cubism and abstraction in the 20th century. Many of his still lifes including Still Life with Apples and Oranges seemed bizarre at the time and were commonly ridiculed but today he is recognized as the artist who began abstraction. Still Life with Apples and Oranges is the perfect depiction of Cézanne’s atypical style. Much of the artwork before the 19th century was focused on realism and how accurately an artist could convey a figure, a scene, or a narrative. When the impressionists came along, they threw realism out the window and focused on color and light. In Still Life with Apples and Oranges, Cézanne uses color similar to the impressionists but focuses on shape. There is no clear sense of weight or space in this painting. It is not realistic. This painting is based off axial studies. Line, shape, movement, and direction are so much apart of composition. This painting breaks the rules of realism and experiments with these ideas.
This unconventional arrangement inspired many artists that you can make beautiful works of art without being realistic. Even though Still Life with Apples and Oranges is not accurate perspective, the line and movement of the painting is done brilliantly. Cézanne discovers that axises are what draws the viewer’s eye through a painting. Therefore, with the correct arrangement of line, you can create movement. His studies lead to cubism and abstraction. Artists begin to experiment more with line and how to control a composition. Cézanne thought outside of what is right in front of him and with the painting Still Life with Apples and Oranges opened the eyes of artists who came after him to a world of abstraction.