Page 1


A study about ism in the early 1900’s




POST-IMPRESSIONISM Van Gogh Ear and other parts

FAUVISM The wild beasts


19 IM

FUTURISM The racing cars


And Picasso’s Friends




ABSTRACT Mire’s Pets

Flowing like Gaudi

37 DADAism 2

Post-Impressionism Vincent Van Gogh was the most important painter of the postimpressionist era. He is well known for his self-portraits and also as one of the most tormented artists in history. His work was not appreciated at the time and it was not known either. He struggled with mental and physical illnesses all his life. He is the father and most prominent figure of post-impressionism, an art movement that began in 1910. The term was coined by Roger Fry to describe French art after Manet. The common characteristics of postimpressionism are the use of unnatural colors and geometric shapes. In addition, impressionist techniques were taken one step further (e.g. pointillism).


This painting features a simple still life of Van Gogh’s brown suede shoes. The color palette is composed of earthy tones, mainly browns, beige and ochre, a palette that was used a lot by Van Gogh in his early years. This gives a calm mood, but also nostalgic and lonely, that reflects the life Van Gogh had. The shoes are alone in the center of the canvas, but they only fill half the space. This leaves a lot of background and negative space in the painting, but because of the simple color palette there is a lot of unity in this still life. The composition is fairly interesting in this piece. It has a triangular composition; the piece is divided into three triangles, one with the shoes and two empty ones surrounding them. This piece has a lot of artificial texture, thanks to the thin long brushstrokes.

Also these same brushstrokes create movements around the shoes, as if the person just took them off and they have just fallen to the floor. The line that the eye follows when looking at this painting goes from the top part of the left shoe, then to the right shoe; from the shoelace back to the left shoe. Then the eye is free to wander around the floor tiles, around the painting. These lines accentuate the use of unnatural geometric shapes in the painting. The shoes form an almost perfect triangle, and by themselves they have the shape of an ellipsis that does not really correspond to the reality of the subject. Given the fact that the camera had been invented, the purpose of the artist was no longer to be realistic and true to life, but to represent how he or she saw the world.

Vincent Van Gogh Shoes, 1888 Oil on canvas 46 x 55 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


1 2

Vincent Van Gogh Vase with 12 Sunflowers, 1888 Oil on canvas 91 Ă— 72 cm Neue Pinakothek Munich

This painting features a vase with twelve sunflowers in various states, from blossoming to dying. The most striking feature of this painting is the color palette, mostly bright yellows with hints of yellow, green and brown. There is not much contrast in this piece; all the colors are light tints. This color palette makes the mood longing and nostalgic, which is supported by the various states of the flowers. The movement also encourages this mood; it is light and slow. The flowers look as if they are reaching for the sun, moving slowly towards a nearby window. The composition in the painting also creates movement. The flowers are arranged to form the golden spiral

(from the top right corner to down left). The almost monochromatic color palette and the fact that the figure is centered creates balance and unity in this painting. The line that the eye follows while looking at this painting goes from the top left corner flower, and follows the spiral to the vase, helping the eye wander throughout the painting. The texture in this painting is the same as most of the impressionist and post-impressionist paintings; it is created by visible small brushstrokes. This painting can be said to represent the fluctuations of Van Gogh’s health from blossoming, active and healthy, to sick in an asylum and going through the various states of his mental illness. 6

“A Starry Night,” this painting depicts a night landscape. It appears to be a town and an olive tree next to it under a starry night. The first thing that is striking about this painting is the mood, which is lonely, sad and melancholic. The color palette reinforces this; it is composed mostly of blues with hints of yellow and green. It is an almost monochromatic palette, with only one contrasting element, which is the tree. This makes the mood appear solitary and gloomy. Another reason why this painting is famous is because of the whimsical movement. The whirls in the sky and the lines in the mountain and forest make it appear as if there is a breeze over the town. The balance is tilted towards the left by the weight created by the tree, because of its dark color. This balance also changes the composition; the composition is based on the “Rule of Thirds.”

The tree is in the focal line along with the city. Also, most of the stars are in the focal points and focal zones of the painting. The lines in this painting are created by thin brushstrokes. The line follows the swirls to the moon and then to the clouds over the mountains, the city, and lastly the tree, almost creating a spiral. Another remarkable characteristic of this painting is the use of shapes. All of them look organic and integrated totally in nature. Even the shapes that are geometrical, like the houses and church of the city, have some organic feature to them, adding to the whimsical characteristics created by the swirls. Lastly the main reason why this painting is so interesting to analyze is the fact that the more one looks at it, the more things appear and the more involving the experience is.

Vincent Van Gogh The Starry Night 1889 Oil on canvas 93 × 72 cm Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York,


Post-Impressionism is such an important movement because of the breaking-ground aspect of it. The artist wanted, more than ever before, to make a connection with the viewer and to transmit his or her feelings. The paintings did not have to be realistic; they had to convey a message. Of the postimpressionists, I chose Van Gogh to study because of the emotional power his paintings have. The fact that “The Starry Night� was done from within an asylum really comes across, thanks to all the emotional investment that is in the painting. Another reason why I picked Van Gogh is because of the fact he is a perfect example of the artist as a tormented creature whose work is worth money only after his death. This I find extremely interesting.



LES FAUVES Fauvism was started in 1905 by Henri Matisse in France. He was inspired by the use of colors and the creative process of the impressionists. After he saw his first Van Gogh painting, he declared that he loved Van Gogh as much as he loved his father. During the first Fauvist exhibit, the public was offended and called the artists beasts and Fauves. After this, Matisse and his fellow Fauves had to stay in his house and couldn’t go out for fear of a violent public reaction. The public and the art critics did not understand such paintings with vivid bright colors and without any depth or realism. The fauves believed that color should depict the artists’ feelings and not the reality of the object. 11

How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion. Paul Sérurier

1 2

Henry Matisse The Dance 1910 Oil on canvas 260 × 391 cm The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

This painting by Matisse depicts a group of men dancing in a circle. What is strange about the painting is the way that the humans are depicted, deformed and unreal. Also the colors used by Matisse are totally unreal and so vivid that they create a tension. This is encouraged by the lack of contrast; the colors are all pure. This lack of contrast and almost exaggerated use of pure colors creates a violent but playful mood. It seems as if something magical and outrageous is about to happen. The movement contributes to this, due to the placement of the figures. They seem as if they are in the middle of an energetic dance. The position of the figures creates the line that the eye

follows. It is almost a spiral from the top left corner to the right bottom corner, and then inwards to the middle of the circle. The composition also follows the spiral line with all of the figures’ faces near the focal lines, according to the “Rule of Thirds.” The balance is tilted to the bottom right, where the figures are closer, making the painting appear heavier in that area. The unity in this picture is given by the bright pure colors, and is also helped by the similar organic shapes of the subjects. A striking feature of this painting is the lack of texture; one of the reasons the public found it so shocking, is the fact that Matisse did not aim to do a realistic painting, but wanted to express his feelings 13

1 2

In this painting Matisse depicts a sculpture next to a bowl with goldfish near a window. The mood in this painting is melancholic and sad, due to the color palette used. This painting has a pastel color palette with a lot of blues, light turquoise and pinks. This painting shows more contrast than other Matisse paintings, having different color tints, instead of only a pure vibrant color. This creates unity in the painting, but the balance is tilted towards the front where the fishbowl and the flowers are; this is caused by their size. This is why the line go from the fishbowl to the flower, then to the sculpture, and ends in the curtains. Then the line

goes back to the flowers and the fishbowl; this creates almost a perfect spiral. The composition also follows this spiral and the “Rule of Thirds,” having a triangular composition made by the lady, the bowl and the flowers, with the goldfish and the sculpture in the focal zone. These fish are the ones creating the movement, helped by the visible thick brushstrokes of the water. These brushstrokes are also responsible for creating an artificial texture. But this texture is not part of the scene; it is the artist’s creative choice, and probably was not part of reality. Once again in this painting you can feel Matisse’s emotions. He was probably sad and missing someone when he created this piece.

Henry Matisse Goldfish and Sculpture (Les Poissons) 1911 Oil on canvas 115 × 100 cm The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York


1 2

Henry Matisse Red Interior, Still Life in a Blue 1947 Oil on canvas 116 × 89 cm The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York

This painting by Matisse depicts a still life on a blue table inside of a red room with a yellow window looking into a garden. This painting looks really eclectic because of the mix of textures and patterns, like the wallpaper lines and the garden plants that create a different texture. This eclectic mix is also created by the color because of the clash of bright and pure colors. The color palette is composed of bright red, blue, green and yellow. This creates a violent mood, especially because of the dominance of the bright primary red. The wallpaper lines create a violent and frantic 15

movement that encourages the violent mood, in contrast to the plants, that appear to be swaying slightly. This eclectic mix creates a lot of contrast in the piece having almost no unity, due to the different colors and textures. This is encouraged by the way the piece is composed. All of the elements are slightly off the focal points according to the “Rule of Thirds.” Another reason why this painting is eclectic and shocking at first is because of the lack of different values. All of the elements are flat, and there is no shading to emphasize depth. Everything is flat from the room itself to the fruits and the vase.

Through out the paintings the color is the main aspect of them, inspiring and evoking feelings in the viewer. In these paintings we start seeing more directly the artists thoughts and feeling and not only an aesthetically pleasing piece. It can be seen how the artist has gone away from just producing for the aesthetic value and more towards the expression of his feelings. In these three paintings I saw different moods of Matisse as well as his develop in his career as an artist an that is why I found them extremely interesting, as well as thought provoking. What is also interesting about the Fauvism is the fact that it is for me a transitional period, you can see all the influences that impressionism had in this current and it can also be seen what will later inspire cubism and futurism



FUTURISM Futurism started as an ideological and art movement in Italy in 1909 when Filippo Marinetti published his “Futurist Manifesto” in a French newspaper. The art movement is based in a total rupture with the past and love for modernity; the futurist declared that a racing car is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. The Manifesto proposes “We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed”, the futurist admired, the modern cars and above all the new fast way of living. That was what thy tried to get across through his paintings and sculptures.


Umberto Boccioni Elasticity 1912 Oil on canvas 100 Ă— 100 cm Collection Dr. Riccardo Jucker, Milan

This painting depicts a man riding a red horse, probably in the middle of a race. The color palette is similar to that used by the fauves, bright primary colors, mostly red, yellow and green. But it is different from the faves because of the use of different tints and shades instead of the pure color, creating more contrast. This use of different tints and shades of the same color to deconstruct the horse and the man give the painting a dynamic nature and it gives a lot of movement and speed to the painting, also this movement is encouraged by the way the horse is depicted, without parts of his head nor tail, as if the horse was so fast the painter couldn’t capture it on time. This gives the painting a dynamic and slightly violent mood. This painting gives the impression of chaos because of all the different deconstructions of the figure but inside that chaos there is some unity and that creates the man and the horse while moving.

All these deconstruction makes up the line that the eye follows, the main one goes from the horse head to the tail and then to the human. Creating a circle that helps the eye perceive the whole image instead of just focusing on a specific point, they wander. The composition of the painting encourages this creating a triangular composition from the men head to the horse legs. And the other two smaller triangles create the foreground and add details to the painting. Also while staring at the painting the postimpressionist influence can be seen in the technique that captures a moment in time, an action in this case instead of the idea of one. Also another post-impressionist technique appears the use of pointillism that gives this painting a grainy look giving it an artificial and unnatural texture to the subject matter.


1 2

This painting depicts a moving human body while moving, it can be seen different legs and different arms location while they figure was moving. This multiple representation of the extremities creates a repetition and a rhythm within the painting. This gives the picture a lot of dynamism and gives it a violent mood. But because of the color palette of mostly ochre, black and whites it has a dramatic, exasperated mood. Thanks to this limited color palette the piece has a lot of contrast used to shade and define each body port on its own. The fact that this painting is not totally unified also gives this effect of violence and softness, thanks to the contrast in colors found on the picture. This makes the picture chaotic but intriguing to the viewer that tries to figure out the subject matter, not obvious at first. All this rhythm and repetition in the composition of the figure help to create dynamism as well as the use of a triangular

composition. The subject matter is located in the center and it creates a triangular shape. Without an apparent background but the human figure fills the entire page with the movement. This lack of background gives the geometrical shapes that create the foreground more importance. Most of these shapes are circular portions. With arches united by a line creating sharp and acute vertices most of the time. The repetition of the shapes makes the lines between the pictures harder to find, and because this shapes are a juxtaposed the lines become thicker. The lines goes from the right top corner going through the arm, chest the head, left arm, left leg, and finish almost again in the start with the right length, these lines help the eye wander all through the picture and the focus on little details like the right foot or the torso of the figure. Here the postimpressionism influence can be seen again with the use of the brushstrokes thick and short.

Umberto Boccioni Dynamism of the Human Body 1913 Tempera, pen and black ink on paper

Private Collection


1 2

Umberto Boccioni The Charge of the Lancers 1915 Collage (oil on cardboard) 50 Ă— 332 cm Collection of Riccardo and Magda Jucker Milan

This painting depicts a horse being attacked by various human figures with riffles and guns. The mood in this painting is violent and aggressive. The mood is caused by the movement mainly is dynamic and quick created by the rhythmic repletion of the horse body, as well of the soldiers with the riffles and guns. This creates a dynamic fast movement. The color in this piece is giving by the medium that appears to be an old newspaper with yellow tones. Boccioni used mostly black and white in the creations with hints of brown. The used of a reduced color palette with mostly black and white create a lot of contrast that encourages the violent, aggressive mood and helps to create the dynamic movement found. Composition is similar to other Bocciono paintings where the main figure is within a central triangle and there are two triangles for the background. The biggest triangle

goes following the horse face line to the edge, then down to the behind leg, and then back again to the head. This first triangle is the darker one of the whole painting and also where a lot of the movement is occurring. The second triangle in the bottom left includes the soldier and has far lest movement and dynamism, it could be said to be the complete opposite from the bigger one. The triangle at the right the smaller one is filled with the repetition of the horse legs and it helps create the overall movement and mood of the painting. Also when navigating through the painting the eyes follow this triangles from the horse face to the legs and then to the figures holding the riffle. This arrangement of the piece causes it to be balanced towards the left side that appears heavier than rest and draws the eye toward that side. The shapes here in contrast to the last picture are more straight lines and fewer arches, again with hard edges and acute angles. 21

Futurism goal was to stop looking backwards in art and start moving forwards. In the “Futurist Manifesto” Marinetti even talks about destroying museums, because the past should not be referenced, to create for the now and the drive of the moment. Boccioni being part of the movement shared his love with the new and modern as we can see in his artwork, filled with violence, speed and aggressively, to demonstrate the new fast paced that the society lived. I only wish futurist could see what technology has allowed us to do and how the life is even more fast and aggressive now a days than what it was back then.

“Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character.” 22


CUBISM Cubism was a groundbreaking art movement in the early 20th century. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque started this movement. Picasso was a child prodigy and it was admitted in School of Fine Arts in Barcelona at the early age of 14 and left it later because of his discontent with the rules. Picasso went through three major artistic phases: the blue, the pink, and the cubist. The first is characterized by a blue tone to all his painting and more classical art than he would later produce, this was a consequence of depression. Then he went through a pink period, when he first moved to Paris and fell in love with a model; again the paintings were mostly using pink and orange tones. Then in 1907 Picasso produced a never seen before painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon “and started the cubist movement. This painting was characterized by the semi-abstraction and deconstruction of the figures.


1 2

Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907 Oil on Canvas 244 Ă— 234 cm Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

This painting features 5 nude female prostitutes in front of what appears to be draping. This painting impact the art world when it first came out because of how distorted and geometrical appears to be the female nudes. This use of the shapes has never been seen in nudes. Especially the type used in the two models in the far right, they are so deconstructed and geometricized that knowing the pose they were in is hard. These geometric figures would be one of the main characteristics of the cubism. Another key feature of cubism will be the use of the form and space seen here, having a union between the foreground and background. Without having sense of depth in the picture will be used later on by the entire cubism. These geometrical shapes can be really seen thanks t the value and shading given to the edges of them and the sharp lines that outlined them. Another reason this painting was so impacting and revolutionizing is the use of colors, having them as blocks instead

of gradients, a block of a lighter pink indicates light and a darker one indicates shadow. This creates a picture with sharp contrast between the figures, instead of a flowing use of the light. The mood is also encouraged by the use of color and the contrast, is menacing and terrifying, looks like the seductive mermaids that kill sailor. It is said this represent the fear that Picasso had of catching syphilis in a brothel, but at the same time his desire for these women. The composition accentuate that seductive and sexual emotion, all the genitals and breasts of the models are in the focal lines of the “Rule of Thirds� and are also larger than their heads. Because of the different style in the way the woman are depicted there is no true unity through out the painting. Having the central figures almost realistic, while the other three figures appear completely deconstructed in the cubist style. And at last the painting do not gives the illusion of movement, but the appearance of stiff models. 26

This painting depicts a woman that appears to be naked, playing the mandolin against a sepia background. These painting has the typical cubist use of the form an space where the figure ground and the background mix and blend together that creates a two dimensional view and eliminating all depth. Another typical characteristic of the cubism is the use of the geometric shapes within the picture, they are been used to break apart the figure and create that omniscient view from all angles of the figure. This creates an n eerie mood but thanks to the color palette it turns into a calm but a little bit depressed mood. The color palette is composed of sepia tones exclusively, making this piece a monochromatic paining, that creates a sharp contrast be within the shadow and light of the painting. The dark shadow surrounding the figure of the girl helps to create the lines; they go from the figure’s head to the left shoulder down the arms to the mandolin up again to the chest, making a small loop. These is a classical line in portraits, another classical characteristic is the wway it is composed, this painting has a triangular composition and the eyes of the female figure are located in the focal line according to the “Rule of Thirds”, almost every portrait is composed these way since “The Mona Lisa”. This composition gives the painting a balanced look. Because of the symmetry between the left and right of the canvas, this creates union within the painting. And at last this painting does not gives the impression of movement because of the geometrical and

Pablo Picasso Woman with a Mandolin 1910 Oil on Canvas 100 × 73 cm Nelson Rockefeller Collection, New York


1 2

This painting depicts three figures the first on the left wearing a white and blue suit and playing the clarinet, the one in the middle with harlequin pattern attire and playing the guitar and in the right there is another figure that appears to be singing holding a music sheet. In front of them there is a table with a pipe and other objects and beneath the table there is a dog. Even though this painting has a lot going on it does not seem busy or overcrowded thanks to the use of the geometrical shapes to create the figures, this simplified and geometrical look help o create painting with an interesting scene but without looking busy. This is helped by the lines from the left figure face through the blue shape to the middle face then to the right figure down through his robe until the table, the use of big geometrical figures makes it

easier for the eye to wander around the piece. The color palette being mostly dark brown and blues with touches of yellow, white and orange helps this. Because of this reduced color palette there is not much contrast given the fact that most of the colors are dark. This creates unity within the picture and the fact that the painting has symmetry between the sides helps create that unity and balance. The color palette also contributes to the mood that is playful and relaxed because of the way the figures are portrayed and the vibrant and dark colors used. The composition is pretty simple and classic the faces are in the focal line according to the “Rule of Thirds� as well as the table and the music sheet. The way that is composed and because of the lack of shading creates a static figure without movement, this is quite common in the Picasso cubist paintings.

Pablo Picasso The Three Musicians 1921 Oil on Canvas 200 Ă— 222 cm Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York


Picasso is one of the best artists of the Modern Era, he created his whole life always improving and moving forward. Thanks to ground breaking art pieces like “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” the Modern and Post-Modern art is they way it is. Modern artists will say that Picasso inspires their work. I personally chose Picasso for this research because even though he created and was a major figure of the Cubism he kept changing his artwork through out his career making experimenting with almost every medium and style making masterpieces and without losing his essence.



Art Nouveau Art Nouveau was an art style in applied arts (design, architecture and furniture) at the beginning of the 20th century. This art style was inspired by the nature, having intricate organic looking designs. It can be described as the modern version of Baroque. One of the major exponents of this period was Antonio Gaudi a Spanish architect responsible for the G端ell Park in Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia his unfinished masterpiece due to the Spain Civil War and WWI WWII. Nearly all-modern day architects look up to this building.


1 2

This piece is a circular mosaic adorning the ceiling in the Park G端ell in Barcelona. The piece represents the sun with blue skies as a background and with some sort of red and yellow lines in the middle. The most important aspect of this piece is the vibrant and saturated colors. The color palette is basically composed of primary and secondary colors, using blues, yellows, red, and green. This color palette seems to represent nature having color that is easy to find in nature. This shows how Gaudi took inspiration from the nature. Because of the use of vibrant pure colors there is not much contrast piece, another nature like characteristic, when looking at a garden all the plants blend together with almost no contrast. This lack of contrast gives the piece unity in itself and also with the room that is located. Because of the brightness and lightness the colors are it

becomes an accent piece in the room. This relief is almost perfectly symmetrical this composition reminds of the symmetricity of nature. This nature aspect gives the piece a soothing mood, relaxed and happy. The shape that reassembles the sun or a sunflower helps this, both normally associated with happiness and joy. Also the form and relief used with the central part sticking out specially the red and orange lines of the center, gives the sense of space and background and foreground making the star shaped form look closer to the viewer. This piece has almost no movement in the foreground, but in the background thanks to the use of pieces of different values, tints and shades it looks as is the wind is blowing mixing everything together

Antonio Gaudi Ceiling Tile Mosaic. Tiles Hypostyle Room Park G端ell, Barcelona


1 2

Antonio Gaudi El Drac Fountain With mosaic

Entrance Stairs Park G端ell, Barcelona

This piece is a fountain in the shape of a lizard or dragon and water flows out of mouth; this sculpture is adorned with mosaic tiles. They form wavy lines in different colors along the body, creating the illusion of a reptile skin. The lines are primary colors, mostly blue and yellow with hints of orange, turquoise and green. The use of that color palette makes the body flow like the water and appear more organic. This continuous appearance of flow and water create unity with the functionality of the piece and purpose of the piece. The color palette helps the unity, and the low contrast between the colors. This creates a happy and calm mood, encouraged by the fact the lizards seem like it is smiling, welcoming the visitors to the park. The form that the fountain takes follows the concept of water and organic features, how the body is composed of arches and soft


curves and not hard edges or angles, but instead it all gets tied up together through curvatures. This also creates the lines that follow the eye, this depends of the angle the vieqwer gazes at the piece, if it is seen from the front the eye will follw the darker blue or the orange and yellow line on top of the head of the lizard all the way to the back. Having a natural flow without any unspected turns, as if it was a river. The way it is composed also follows the same idea. The way the crest is toped with wavy lines instead of spikes as most reptiles have, also the way the torso lays with flowy curves instead of sharpe lines to represent the muscles. All of these characterictics help to create a flowing movement all across the sculpture to make it look as if it was made out of a river. These of course shows how Gaudi inspired his work in the nature.

This is the façade of Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain. Originally the building was built in 1860, but then between 1904 and 1906 was refurbished by Guadi. He ordered for the façade to be plastered to create a wavy pattern and to and the mosaic tiles and glass spheres. The latest two adds an unexpected vibrant color palette composed mostly of pastels primary colors and secondary colors (blue, red, yellow, green, orange) in an unexpected place. Giving the building a whimsical and mysterious mood, making it look as if is straight out of a fairy tale. This is reinforced by the shape mentioned before the wavy pattern of the wall and also the columns in the balconies that also have an organic shape and appear to be like bones. This combination of pastel colors and organic shapes create unity because it reminds the viewer of a garden or flowers growing in some hills. In this façade there are two main textures, the first one the one created by the mosaic titles in the walls and these create an artificial texture because of the use of the color and how they interact with one another. The other texture is present on the balconies where there are no titles. Here there is a smooth and soft surface and therefore texture. This art piece also has some movement but it is subtle and it only can be seen in the mosaic titles. Where once again because of the way the colors are put together it makes it seems as if they were small fishes swimming in a river. This adds to the organic nature of the piece.

Antonio Gaudi Façade Casa Batlló Plastered Mortar, Glass, Ceramic 1904 Passeig de Gràcia Barcelona, Spain


Art Nouveau is a different from the other movements and that makes it interesting to investigate. How this movement influenced mainly furniture, design and architecture (applied arts), instead of fine arts. This in my opinion makes it more impressive, when the place you live stops being just a house and it starts being an artwork, it really brings arts to a whole new and different dimension. Also to me it can be appreciated more vastly. Another interesting feature it is the way the Baroque influenced it, and it has been called the Baroque of Modernity. What really is striking and makes different this movement against the previous ones is the organic inspiration that can be seen in each and every piece. How Gaudi took patterns, colors and shapes from the nature and created beautiful artwork with a calming and soothing mood.



Abstract Abstract art started in the early 1910’s. The goal of abstract art was to use color, composition and line; along with their association, to express the artist view. It was describe as “Pure Art” 1912 by Appollinaire. He praised the pure use of lines, colors and shapes to get a message across. One of the founders of this style was Wassily Kandinsky. A Russian painter that saw art as a combination of drawing, color and shape to express human emotions in an universal language that transcends the physical boundaries. Kandisnky saw himself as a prophet; his ideals were to spread his ideas to improve the society and human race


1 2

Wassily Kandinsky Composition VIII (1923) 140 x 201 cm Oil on canvas Guggenheim Museum, New York

lines give the piece immense direction and movement, as we can see from the major directional line protruding from the top right corner. Also, two lines in the center create a triangle to guide the eye upwards. Kandinsky also put grid-like structures of lines throughout the work that show the viewer where to go next. Besides directional line, there are half-spheres near the bottom of the piece, showing a flow and other direction not seen in the rest of the piece. Contrasting forms now provide the dynamic balance of the work; the large circle in the upper left plays against the network of precise lines in the right portion of the canvas. Note also how Kandinsky uses different colors within the forms to energize their geometry: a yellow circle with blue halo versus blue circle with yellow halo; a right angle filled with blue and an acute angle colored pink. The background also works to enhance the dynamism of the composition.

This work is composed of random geometrical shapes and lines placed upon a white canvas. The rational, geometric order of Composition VIII is a polar opposite of the operatic composition of Composition VII (1913). By combining aspects of other movements, he arrived at the flat planes of color and the clear, linear quality seen in this work. Here the form, as opposed to color, structured the painting in a dynamic balance that pulses throughout the canvas. This work is an expression of Kandinsky's clarified ideas about modern, non-objective art, particularly the significance of shapes like triangles, circles, and the checkerboard. The work flows with color, line and form. This implied line draws your eye around the piece, and it seems as through most of them point toward the center of the piece. If a viewer looks, they can see that the physical lines in the piece begin in the top right corner of the painting, and extend out towards the middle. These


1 2

Created as part of his experimentation with a linear style of painting, this work shows his interest in the form of the circle. The circle," claimed Kandinsky, "is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric and the eccentric in a single form and in equilibrium. Of the three primary forms, it points most clearly to the fourth dimension." Having the same shape repeated over and over again. It seems like an eye looking into the unknown or a group of planet and stars in space. This repetition of shapes creates unity within the picture. He relied upon the varied possibilities of interpretation for the circle to create a sense of spiritual and emotional harmony in this work,

this gives the painting an eerie mood. The diverse dimensions and bright hues of each circle bubble up through the canvas and are balanced through careful juxtapositions of proportion and color. These create a line that goes from the top left corner where the pink circle is to the purple one beneath it, then to the bigger one almost in the center and to the bottom light corner. The dynamic movement of the round forms evokes their universality. The color used reassembles the color of the night sky (dark navy blues), as well as the planets (red, yellow, orange, pink), with low contrast this can be traced back to the universal message that Kandinsky wanted to deliver.

Wassily Kandinsky Several Circles (1926) 140 x 140 cm Oil on canvas Guggenheim Museum, New York


1 2

Wassily Kandinsky Composition X (1939) 140 x 201 cm Oil on canvas Guggenheim Museum, New York

Five years before his death in 1944, Kandinsky completed the final work in the series. The outstanding characteristic of Composition X is obviously the stark, black ground. The colors (red, purple, orange, green, pink) and forms appear particularly sharp against the black background. The brilliance of the colored shapes brings to mind the cutouts done by Matisse over a decade later. This picture contains three main organic shapes accompanied by wavy lines. The maroon shape in the top left appears to be a planet with a green moon. The pink shape beneath it looks like a fish moving upwards, surrounded by streams of water. And then to the right it looks like a hot air balloon surrounded by air currents, also moving upwards about of the painting. Lastly in the center of the piece there is a book looking shape similar to another one in the bottom right corner. The movement of the forms is distinctly

upward and outward from both sides of a central axis, diving the painting almost symmetrically, running through the book-like form near the top of the canvas. This movement enhances the evocation of hot-air balloon forms rising into an infinite space. The round form between the book shape and the brown balloon shape has a lunar feel to it that even conveys a feeling of literal "outer space". Kandinsky had always expressed a strong dislike for the color black and it is significant that he chose it as the dominating color of his last major artistic statement. Because of the use of black the painting has a hopeful, and joyful mood thanks to the color palette and the ascending lines on the “hot air balloon�. The line that is created in this painting goes from the maroon organic shape in the top left to the pink fish looking shape, then to the hot air balloon to finish in the book in the middle top.


Kandinsky’s art was revolutionary. For the first time ever the painter stop having a defined subject matter. Instead thanks to the use of shapes and colors he could get his message across to the audience. This makes the message more universal. The viewer does not have to be familiar with the scene or the place to understand the message. It uses a basic visual element shapes and colors, making the art universal. I think this new way of creating art is interesting. With multiple meanings and layers instead of a flat picture with one story. Also it makes the viewer more involved, instead of just showing something, it creates a dialogue.



1 2

DA d a Ism

Dada is starte an art mov d e respo in 1916 as ment a n War I se of the W .D o reaso ada reject rld n e nonse and logic, d pr n and in se, irration izing al tu the na ition. The ity origin m o some e Dada is uncle f believ ar; e that nonse it n maint sical word. is a ai O from t n that it ori thers g h Trista e Romanian inates n Janco Tzara and M artists 's freq uent u arcel s e of t he


ni ng a e m , a a, d n words d n the Romania ry si yes, ye . Another theo " e a languag the name "Dad f t o says tha ing a meeting ur p er a p a came d n p w he u cho r n g e r e F th a ck into y u t s e f i kn onar i t c i d n Germa int to o p o t r ed happen rench word fo aF read p 'dada', s t I . e f hor s 'hobby ch to the rest o ri form Zu his movement ;t Europe es poetry, ag encour d anti-art an graffiti

1 2

M an


Cade a (1921 u ) Iron and n a ils Sculp ture Smith Ame sonian rica Muse n Art um Wash ingto , n D .C .

ay an R k M by too ade re he ical m rt He ure ulpt object. in a ve nails c s a s was y-made 14 nail s to the ular s i h T re g I t read d glued . Thank a a ct. as n an middle s from s obje ect, o r i j e es rm an in th transfo ic, usel xual ob the , w t e s s ro g iron sadi s a xposin y the the t to a seen a e b d c ied olent. n e e n j a a b b p o i g also com thes nd v can ng clo This ac surd a reatenin y b i . ripp d body ake it a ning, th used b e y e e m t nak “Gift� a frigh mmonl ains th t o m n , title creates ood, c ject re any pai o m t ls ob This violent his , withou ood. A lar T . ts m u rs and artis ic colo g the nd ang the a d l n a l i , a Da met ncourag mmetry is unity ject y e r e y g it, e s t there . This ob ors, h t r e f l c v o se o e obje alanced llic co u a c a be e of th s is b met n i p a y a e h m r s ct re e g obje ins th a re m


witho u grey t any p a crea and sh int over tes arpn ess it. This u a v threa i o se o olen t t, fr f the f move ening o i m g b m h j o e t e o e c n d t ning sharp t be . T c h impo shapes ause th ere is and e g s i no e of th ing obje n the o bjec ometrica ct th e ob t. It at sit l ject said s is an is b crea efore. T angular still. The te h f over s a patte e repetit and shar orm i all te p rn, th on o , as xt f smoo a th su ure of th t conflict the nails e sc diffe sw rface re of th ulpture. ith the crea nt form The e i ti t piec ng an in he spike ron is to flat e. te s in tally lot o This sc resting t h e u c f n diffe times b lpture w ontrast i ails n rent a y s the re muse Man R ay a created ums. nd a a That lso b y

1 2

M an


O Inde bjet struc (1923 tible Metr onom ) e w it h 215x Eye 110x 115 m m Getty M Los A useum, ngel es

This w a as a r s a sculptu eadyre ma m d metro nome ade object e by Man R with t a black he pic lso. There ay and w t i u come sa hite a re o f a s t dictat with a se tached to n eye in e t it lover to attach th of instruc . It also tions and th e pict that ure of hamm e n sm a e a eye g r. The use sh the obje former i c make ves it an of the pict t with a ure o s the absur f an d stalke v d, h iewer fee meaning a l a dange nd ving watch r triang ous mood. a menac ed and in u T objec lar comp his is help g and ed by ositio t app n m ear triang aking the taller. u th cours lar form e is .The This uses e move move cause a ment of the d by th ment of side e to the me influe other, tronome fr actual nced om o this by th e size movemen ne t is of the pictur e,


he much t w o h t as The nterpre rmer lover. i e b n the fo triangle that ca s e e s h t s i m of ce person cal aspect the pie n i y i t i r t . n symme alance and u y the picture b b creates ly disrupted e colors used n th o a rown being ed by c b r o f d n i n a e r the te, This is s, whi palette for y a r g mostly st. The color a r t n e o v i c t a f conserv ithout much ical shapes o w r t e e , r object of the geom organic natu t e s the contras nome with th nd give ing a o h r s t a e l ac mix the m creates ture, e a y n e e with a h of t t Dad aight lines a h t t str objec site. sharp r e h t ly oppo e e t e l tog p ing com someth

1 2

M an


Le V io d’Ing lon re (1924 s ) Phot ogra p


Getty M Los A useum, ngel es

This w a Ray. I s a photo graph t can b Grand t e Od e said to b aken by M alisqu Ingre e moc a ss, be e” by king “ n c simila La ause Jean r o A with h subject m f the title, uguste a e turban r back turn tter, a nud and the e wom ed to . Al so the ar becau an t h i s t i s s t an id e in French itle create t, with a io s said t m for a h “violon d’I a pun, obby. o mea ngres ” n that S and m of the wome o this can is eant y r t e m to be n are encou be sym the a ra p by the couraged by ly d e the ba ged by w layed with hobby, t a on en a is cre c . d also ving contrast n A can b k of the gi y it is com This is . e r nd. posed rl e se e pictu sed. Ha the backgrou l u e , in l music n, ma the violin a c layfu and “ al ins gray s k he girl at first is p res. t trume ing it loo F-holes” playe n e e nt d k like figu betw re move . Also bec only wo od he ition of reated o s a o m p a t e r ment x ause th wh u c Th ho of the j as if o er it is being it was w static th f the lack en ecause nalyzed furth n b e music f woma . The a o en a h e g w a t s al inst n object, girl is it lo of u s B by man oks rumen re btle me t meta inforcing y the su ts to be used c and create b th phor. jec ani e The u e only ob sed here org ges. Th a m i nity o u shapes position of tw hen create a ta t t that jux a violin tha e of the lines d us e to girl an essage. The the ey an g n m i c l for wom sexua ed this oking at the g a r u o enc m e lo more ti e. d n e p s ac 46 an his f back th

Thi s m o conte vement us xt es differ to create a objects ou en t j Like s t contradic uxtapositio of o n to and d ftness and v ry images of es . i What truction, to olence, lov is e n move truly differ ame a few m . e was n ent is the fa nt about th ot is c pleas to create a t that the g art in o e viewe g images b sthetically al r u assoc through th t to shock t e ia he move tions. I foun use of oppo m d site becau ent extrem this e s prede e I think tha ly interestin c t g Wher essor of co it was the e nc the fin the import eptual art. an a behin l product b t aspect is d it a n n u d how t the mean ot t o it . in t he p u blic re g acts




An Art HIstory Magazine