Modern Art: Shifting Ideals Essay

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After the age of Impressionism, artists began to be rebellious. Post-Impressionism was a type of revolt against the Impressionist movement, and from these movements, what we refer to as modern art began to announce itself. One style called Expressionism aimed to achieve emotional effects in artwork by using a variety of elements within the work. The painting Fate of the Animals by Franz Marc depicts the aspects of Expressionism quite well. On the other hand, a style called Formalism intended to express art through forms rather than emotion, which is the exact purpose of Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian. By viewing these two works side-by-side, we can see the great differences of not only the specific works of art but also the styles in which they were completed.
Expressionism sought to convey feelings and moods. Expressionist artists used appearance “not to express a sense of superiority, but love, or admiration, or fear”(Gombrich, 436). They also felt so strongly about certain things, such as the homeless or poor, that they thought “insistence on harmony and beauty in art” came from “a refusal to be honest”(Gombrich, 437). Showing true emotions had nothing to do with perfecting the images in the artwork. Franz Marc, an Expressionist artist, was extremely passionate about animals, nature, and the spirit itself, so he “sought to convey a spiritual message”(Gollek, par 4). He uses “prismatic structures of various colors” to allow the animals to stand out and to show what happens to the spirits in Fate of the Animals (Gollek, par 6). Marc also distorts the images of the animals in order to create a more dramatic effect used for conveying the passion he feels about this topic. Everything within the piece works towards the goal of allowing people to see what the artist was really feeling at the time the painting was completed, whether those feelings be happy, sad, or even angry. Expressionism laid the basis for “a new set of possibilities that became the foundation for all that is vital in later twentieth century art” (Duncan, 169).
Formalism, a different style that came about during the twentieth century, strived to return to the basics or what...

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