Western Art History
Since the beginning of human history, we have used various forms of expression to convey a message. This includes using soil, soft rocks, chalk or charcoal to make hands and faces on rocks or drawing animals to warn fellow tribe from dangers of getting attacked.
The beginning of The Western Art History was The Ancient Classical Art ( 1100 BC )
During this time the civilisation were dividing into groups and having territories among each other. They realized that by using these material on a harder surface they could exchange information to a larger crowd using symbols, forms and colours. They made figurines of animals and humans out of soft wood, stone and clay. By the Ancient Greek Art period, humans found more minerals from under the ground and became confident in using forms and shapes. Sculptors started using marble to create life-size, naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, mostly of nude male. By the Roman Art period, that is, 750 BC the confidence of using materials and the clarity of thought was seen prominently in sculptures, fine art paintings and decorative art.
Medieval Art (400-1500 BC) consisted of many movements because by then artists had realised the kind of effect their art had on the intellect and behaviour of the civilisation. These were: Early Christian, The Byzantine, The Carolingian, The Romanesque and The Gothic periods of art.
Renaissance period was in the 1400s..
Renaissance literally means “rebirth”. Interest in nature, humanistic learning and individualism were already present in the late medieval period and became dominant in the 15th and 16th century Italy. This movement brought forward the socio-economic changes in the society.
Renaissance to Neoclassicism the style of creating statues were more dramatic at the same time stresses on order and harmony. Compositions were emphasised by clean and crisp lines with depth in form.
Romanticism (1800-1850) was a fairytale era when art subjects varied widely from landscapes to religion to revolution to peaceful beauty. The brushwork was more relaxed and less rigid.
Romanticism to Modern Art: Romanticism stresses on the emotional side of expressing art whereas Modernism was free flowing, breaking the norms of tradition and replacing them with humanistic values.
Modern Art was created between late 19th and late 20th centuries. Modern art consists of abstract art and expressionism. Minimal Art, Pop Art, Surrealism, Cubism and Expressionism have evolved during this phase of our Ancient Art History.
Contemporary Art is the art we see around us today. Dynamic and bright combination of colours, forms, method, and materials. They challenge the norm and break free from traditions to voice opinions. Innovation is the key word to be different than the other.
Each phase of art has something beautiful in common. They all are various forms of free expression from going through the social and economic freedom or constraint. The very nature of the minds is always seen in that particular era. In my next column, we will break down each era and learn about the history of our art in further detail.