19th Century Art Essay

1244 words - 5 pages

19th Century Art

During the 19th century, a great number of revolutionary changes altered forever the face of art and those that produced it. Compared to earlier artistic periods, the art produced in the 19th century was a mixture of restlessness, obsession with progress and novelty, and a ceaseless questioning, testing and challenging of all authority. Old certainties about art gave way to new ones and all traditional values, systems and institutions were subjected to relentless critical analysis. At the same time, discovery and invention proceeded at an astonishing rate and made the once-impossible both possible and actual. But most importantly, old ideas rapidly became obsolete which created an entirely new artistic world highlighted by such extraordinary talents as Vincent Van Gogh, Eugene Delacroix, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Claude Monet. American painting and sculpture came around the age of 19th century. Art originated in Paris and other different European cities. However, it became more popular in United States around 19th century.
Painting in the 19th century, still highly influenced by the spirit of Romanticism, proved to be a far more sensitive medium for the kind of personal expression one should expect from the romantic subjectivity of the time. At the very beginning of the “modern period” stands the imposing figure of Francisco Goya (1746-1828), the great independent painter from Spain. With much indebtedness to Velazquez, Rembrandt and the wonders of the natural world, Goya occupies the status of an artistic giant. His artistic range goes from the late Venetian Baroque through the brilliant impressionistic realism of his own to a late expressionism in which dark and powerful distortions anticipate much of the violence, pain and suffering in the art of the 20th century.
The history of 19th century painting in its first sixty years has often been interpreted as a contest between Eugene Delacroix and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1781-1867) who broke away from David on matters of artistic style, for he believed that David’s art was too realistic and based far too much on Greek influences. For Ingres, painting encompassed flat and linear figures, a manner that was severely criticized as being “primitive” and Gothic. However, Ingres soon became the leader of the academic forces in their battle against Delacroix and his contemporaries. Ingres’ best-known work, Grande Odalisque (1814, oil on canvas) illustrates his rather strange mixture of artistic allegiances. His subject, a reclining nude figure, is traditional, but by converting her into an odalisque, a woman of a Turkish harem, Ingres made a strong concession to the contemporary Romantic taste for the exotic.
Another artistic development was occurring in England, especially in relation to landscape painting by such men as J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and John Constable (1776-1837). These two artists were highly influenced by the Romantic Movement,...

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