Thursday, January 24, 2013

categorizing paintings ?

As I've been reviewing the paintings in chapters 18 and 19, it's become evident that it's difficult to place paintings into specific categories or to label them as a part of a specific movement. No painting is purely Romantic, Realist, Impressionist or Post-Impressionist. Each is a combination of characteristics from different time periods. The paintings overlap and seem to sort of cross fade into each other. If someone were to show me Turner's "Rain Steam and Speed" or "Slaves Overthrowing the Dead and Dying" 2 weeks ago, I would have guessed it was Impressionist based on the emphasis on color and feeling rather than shape and form. The book classifies it as Romantic, which makes me think in a way, Impressionism is Romanticism, advanced. Art evolves over time and builds upon the movements before it. Paintings cannot be defined with one movement or identifier. Each is unique based on it's respective artist, time of creation and personal history.

5 comments:

Austin Falk said...

I think it has part to do with the fact that different artists had different views on what was going on at the time. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing in the 1800s. Although there were different styles of artwork such as Romanticism and Realism, I feel like many artists were still trying to express the same subjects in there art just in different ways. Realism artists express there thoughts on the Industrial Revolution and changes in Europe differently from how Romantic artists express there thoughts, however many ideas still blend together to represent the common changing life in Europe at the time.

Michell D said...

I feel like that is always the case with art. Maybe it is because I am usually bad at classifying art :/. But really, I think that the best art is the kind that people cannot classify in only one way. Most of the time the more controversial a piece is, the more publicity it receives, the more art critics comment on it, and then everyone wants to see it. Maybe that isn't the incentive behind the ambiguity if artists, but I feel like they prefer to stir up some controversy and blend the lines between classifications. Especially because romanticism and realism are so close together in time, there must have been a combination of the two for many artists not attempting to be classified one way or the other.

Madeline Davis said...

I completely agree and often found it difficult to place several of the paintings into specific categories, particularly Romantic and Impressionist works. I found that it is very easy to identify stereotypical Impressionist paintings, such as Seurat's Sunday Afternoon, but I struggled to categorize other paintings just by looking at them.

TSHAH said...

I agree with your point Cassidy. It is clear that many of the later pieces that are defined as realist, or impressionist take from artwork from previous periods. I think this blending factor comes from the fact that some artist wanted to pick and choose the best parts of past history for the current age of triumph. For example, the pre-Raphaelites followed many of the same characteristics as realism, however they rejected the subject of many realist paintings given the fact they believed that realist art reinforced worldly things of spiritual things that actually had meaning. Another case where artist attempted to take the best of past generations can be seen in the work of many architects during the 19th Century who utilized bast Classical Greek and Roman styles mixed with current techniques to create magnificent buildings.

Ben Bonner said...

I think it's also interesting how dramatically some of the paintings stand out from the other art that was produced around the time they were. One example of this are the paintings by Goya. The book classifies Goya as a Romaticist painter but notes that the Surrealists later claimed him as one of their own. I side the with Surrealists on this one; stylistically, Goya's paintings don't seem anything like the other paintings that were being produced at that time. I think it's really intersting how anachronistic his paintings seem for the time he made them.