The art of the twentieth century is characterized by the exploration of self and experimentation with form. It is quite natural that people who witnessed rapid progress in many spheres of life were eager to try new approaches to art. Fauvism was the manifestation of this focus on experimentation in art as artists were bold and seemed to be willing to break all rules. However, one of the characteristic features of that period was the dialogue with traditions (Arnason and Mansfield 92). Matisse and other Fauves did not reject rules and traditions but used the conventions as their starting points. They used traditional motifs and themes but introduced a new use of color and texture.
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Another peculiarity of the art of the beginning of the twentieth century was its connection with African traditions that were seen as pure and enigmatic. It is noteworthy that artists stressed that they did not recreate the material world but revealed their perceptions and views of this world (Arnason and Mansfield 98). Matisse and Brancusi questioned the relevance of old forms and attempted to create new ones. They stressed that it was time to focus on the form and explore the ways it can reflect artists’ perceptions and self-expression. Photography and cinematography were widely used by artists as they offered new paths and opportunities to articulate their ideas. Matisse and Brancusi, with their bold experiments and exploitation of diverse means, can be seen as the embodiment of the art of the beginning of the 20th century.
Arnason, H. H., and Elizabeth C. Mansfield. History of Modern Art. 7th ed., Pearson, 2012.