Archive for Romanticism

Exhibition: David Hancock ‘Time to Pretend’

Posted in ART, exhibitions with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2011 by echostains

Mikey as link, Pencil crayons on paper

David Hancock explores the space between physicality and psychological space using a  hyper-realist technique.  His exhibition Time to Pretend (The Hub, Manchester 3rd – 18th March 2011) elevates the ordinary to the  decidedly extraordinary.   Gaming and urban folklore are fused together in these intricate drawings.  This  realism was made even more extraordinary by the actual presence of his subjects (his friends) wandering round the exhibition on opening night, making their likenesses in these portaits all the more startling!

Daryl as Tifa Lockhart pencil crayon on paper

The work is escapist – yet it plays with reality –  a moment in time.  The artist  uses photographic images which he then translates into a narrative via little pixel like brushstrokes (or in this work, pencil crayon on paper).  The results are disconcerting – as the Gamers are simultaneously revealed, yet hide behind these roles, providing the viewer with flashes of revelation which are tantalising.

miriam as Lolita Pencil Crayon on paper

Hancock documents escapism in our youth subculture and whilst also referencing utopian vision.  The reality and unreality of these are what the artist plays with.  Escapism through computer gaming and role-playing meets utopia and in the Gaming portraits the individual is attached by an umbilical cord to their controller.  Hancock calls these works double portraits as in a sense he is simultaneously showing the two worlds of their personalities as they immerse their selves in their Game playing and their character roles. The work, though contemporary has its roots in Romanticism and the  utopian visions held by Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite.  The characters take on special powers, hints of which are shown in the portraits as they fly through time to become the hero’s of the now.  An interesting and thought-provoking exhibition by Hancock.  I shall look forward to seeing his other larger scale work.  To really appreciate these images please go to the artist website where larger versions of these works, including many others can be seen. 

David Hancock website here 

Images from  here and  here

More details of this exhibition here

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Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part Two

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by echostains

Continued from yesterday (part one HERE)

Rococo style depended on titillation.  It was elaborate, opulent and warm.  But now with the discoveries of Herculaneum in 1738 and Pompeii 1748, artists were becoming sober in their outlook – they wanted to educate.  Winklman said “Dip your brush in intellect“, he thought that artists should raise themselves up beyond craftsmen.

Sober messages emerged: abstinence, patriotism and sacrifice.  The virtuous widow had replaced the naked girl of Rococo and the tone of images had changed.  The French artist Jacques Louis David (1748 -1825)was determined to revive, in his paintings, the values of the ancients.  He was a student of Boucher (1780 -70) and the teacher of Ingres (1780 -1867).  He was a firm supporter of Napoleon and supported those who called for Louis XVI’s execution.

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Jean Marat, a leader of the revolution became an instant martyr to the cause when he was stabbed to death in his bath by fervent loyalist Charlotte Corday.  The letter he holds in his hands is the fake letter of introduction with which she fraudulently entered his home.  The work captures David’s grief and anguish over his friends death.

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

In this next painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’, David uses Classical figures with noble features to fire the viewer with patriotism.  Here we see David’s trademark, the open hand, – a symbol of supressed truth.  This particular painting uses the kinetic image of a wheel: the sort of shapes used in the Golden Means.  The spokes represent unity in the brothers: power in unity.  The upright solidarity of the brothers is contrasted with the soft fluidity of the women who cling together in a dejected mound.  They are painted in washed out shades.  The theatrical feel of the Roman, as opposed to the Doric pillars, symbolise a ‘back to basics’ attitude to morality.  David has faithfully copied the Roman toga’s, helmets and swords of the men, even their Roman noses!  Every gesture confirms total commitment to the solemn oath.  David is vey much aware that through a work of art, men can become conscious of moral responsibility, and he does not hesitate to make use of it.

More about Jacques Louis David HERE

Taken from an original essay by myself

Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part one

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, HISTORY with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by echostains

The art movement  known as Neo Classicism, made it’s appearance in the 1750s.  It was a reaction against Rococo: a lighter and more playful version of Baroque – associated with Louis XV of France.  It emerged in the 1750s and was established by the 1770s.  It was dedicated to static and harmonious revival in the arts.

valpincon_bather by Ingres

valpincon_bather by Ingres

Classicism or Neo-Classicism can also be seen as a state of mind within the arts.  It emphasises an ideal: power or reason over emotion.  It was seen to show restraint, moderation, clarity and respect for tradition which were attributes that were much admired.  It was opposed to the somewhat frivilous, emotional content of Rococo.  It was used to ‘instruct’ and relied on scholarship – so in this sense it was not for the working class.

Classicism and Romanticism are not opposed: one lends itself to the other.  It was hailed as ‘the true style’, – the revival of the arts.  It matured quickly and died quickly: a shortlived artistic phenomenon.  It’s roots sprang from the unrest between the French Crown and the French aristocrats, and the churches the crown wanted to tax.  The country had already seen the peasants revolt against the taxation of bread and grain, which had resulted in the storming of the Bastille (14th July 1789) and Versailles .  But now a revolt between all classes overlapped.

More information about Ingres HERE

Continued tomorrow

There’s Nothing Romantic about Romanticism, or is there? Conclusion Goya’s ‘The 3rd of May 1808’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by echostains

Part one

two

three

Conclusion

‘3rd of May 1808 ‘ by Francisco de Goya

The key belief of Romanticism was the value of individual experience and individualism.  What characterised the Romantic period was the heroic view of the human struggle.  Romanticism brought to the forefront the human struggle against the violent forces of nature.  The major difference between neo-Classicism and Romanticism is the fulfilment of the hearts desire, whilst Classicism puts faith in intellect.  Romanticism then, is a way of feeling, it gives way to full expression, whereas Classicism is a way of thought.

Aesthetically and historically, Goya’s painting, ‘The 3rd of May’ is the reverse of David’s ‘Oath of the Horatii’.  The latter sets up the hero, who is willing to die for the cause.

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

Goya gives us the anti hero: the victim whose death becomes almost by chance a rallying point for those struggling against oppression.  Goya’s style has few clear outlines and his soldiers echo the reverse of David’s.

The_Shootings_of_May_3_1808

The_Shootings_of_May_3_1808

The central figure raises his hands in surrender: the pose is that of crucifixion: a sacrifice.  The corpse lying in the foreground in a pool of blood, echoes the gesture of the central victim.  The artist has effected an ‘overkill’ by shortening the distance between the bayoneted guns and the victim.  The source of light comes from the lantern, which radiates light onto the white shirt of the victim, whilst emphasising the whites of the eyes in the terrified faces of the onlookers.

Taken from an original essay by Lynda Roberts and subject to copyright (Bibliography and notes not supplied online)

There’s nothing Romantic about Romanticism or is there? part three

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by echostains

Continuing from part one

part two

The English Landscape painter John Constable (1776 – 1837) also had a hard time with regards to his art being taken seriously.  He tried to gain respectability for Landscape painting,  trying to get it accepted as a proper subject matter.

Flatford Mill by John Constable

Flatford Mill by John Constable

 

“I should paint my own places best –  painting is but another word for feeling.”  John Constable

He believed that ‘God Almighty’s sunlight’ was as full of moral and spiritual values as a scene from ancient history.  He was about fifty years ahead of his time.  Although rejected in England, he was much admired in France.

Goya_witches sabbath, the great goat

Goya_witches sabbath, the great goat

The Spanish painter Francisco Goya (1746 – 1848), subordinated reason for feeling.  He was the first painter of the absurd.  His foremost influence was Velazquez.  In his painting ‘The Sabbath’ or ‘The Great Goat’, he showscross dressing men  engaging in a witches sabbath.  This was part of a group of paintings that came to be known as the ‘Black paintings’, paintings showing dark and horrific scenes of the degeneration of man,: a subject Goya was fascinated with.

detail from 'The Great Goat'

detail from 'The Great Goat'

William Blake (b. 1757 – 1827) was both a poet and an artist that strove for social and political freedom for all.  He used the visionary approach.  His work ranges form the religious ‘Ancient of Days’, that harks back to medieval beliefs of God as an architect,  –

William Blake 'The Ancient of Days'

William Blake 'The Ancient of Days'

– to the rather grotesque ‘Ghost of a Flea’, which owes something to Goya.

ghost of a flea by William Blake

ghost of a flea by William Blake

Henry Fuseli (b. Germany 1741 – 1825) taught John Constable, but later ridiculed him.  He infused classical structure with completely irrational thought.  His painting ‘Nightmare’ contains the stuff which bad dreams are made of…and is also a precursor to Surrealism.

fuseli-nightmare

fuseli-nightmare

Here’s an annotated view of this painting, explainting the various imagery Fuseli used. here

Lots of Goya’s work and information can be found here

Concluding tomorrow…

 

There’s Nothing Romantic about Romanticism…or is there? part 2

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by echostains

Continuing from part one

In Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People‘ 1830, we see an emotional approach.  One of the main differences between Classicism and Romanticism is that Romanticism shows a way of feeling and Classicism is a way of thought.

Liberty leading the people delacroix

Liberty leading the people delacroix

This painting is was used as part of a propaganda campaign regarding the Revolution.  I think that it is in some ways similiar to Jacques Louis David’s ‘Oath of the Horatii’, as it calls the country’s people to arms.  But the main difference between the way that the artist’s do this lies in David’s use of patriotism, duty and allegiance and the more emotional cry of hope and freedom from Delacroix: the possibility of overcoming injustice.

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

 

 

 

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

By the use of emotional messages in his paintings, Delacroix manages to unify the peasants with hope and stirs within them, the longing for freedom.

The-Sheepfold,-Moonlight,-1856-60 Millet

The-Sheepfold,-Moonlight,-1856-60 Millet

Jean Francois Millet, son of a peasant farmer (1814 – 1875) painted rustic scenes, endowing with majesty the often overlooked aspects of nature.  He never achieved popularity in his own lifetime.  He had a revulsion for frivolity and ‘told it like it was’.  Unfortunately for him, the public preferred the artiface of nature, not the nitty gritty: the wheelbarrows, peasants tending their flocks or field workers.  Millet’s emotional response seems to have come from his environment.  The abandoned plough in ‘Sheep Fold’ indicates the frustration that man feels when the seasons conspire against him, and also symbolises the life and death cycle that we are all part of.

Continued tomorrow

Millet galllery

 

 

There’s nothing Romantic about Romanticism or is there?

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , on June 20, 2009 by echostains

What is Romanticism?  Romanticism was a movement in the arts that flourished in the late 18th century to the mid 19th century and rebelled against Neo Classicism.  It was the first movement to involve all of Europe in art, architecture, literature and music.

The Barque of Dante by Delacroix

The Barque of Dante by Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix (1798 1863) sometimes incorporated a tiger in some of his paintings to depict energy, will, mood and wildness.  Delacroix was a born illustrator, combining animated gesture with graphic skill.  He painted in the tradition of Theodore Gericault (1791 – 1824), whose painting ‘The Raft of the Medusa’depicts an actual event that happened in the summer of 1816.  Gericault writes

‘Neither poetry or painting can ever do justice to the anguish and horror to the men on the raft.’

Gericault was right about this as the painting shows a group of well muscled robust men displaying dramatic gestures: gestures that the real victims would not have had the strength to make.  Gericault uses this opportunity to make a political statement about the State.  The captain of the frigate, being a nobleman escaped in one of the few lifeboats – leaving the poor crew (149 men and one woman) to built a makeshift raft.  The painting which incorporates a ‘pyramid of hope’. The triangles within the picture symbolises the progression from the depth of despair to a apex of hope (the man sighting a rescue ship) at the top of the picture.

gericault-raft_of_the_medusa

gericault-raft_of_the_medusa

But there’s a lot more to Romanticism than meets the eye……

To be continued tomorrow

The true story about the raft of the Medusa is here

There’s a smashing piece of informative writing on this blog