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Free Art Movements Essay Examples & Topics

Free Art Movements Essay Examples & Topics

In your art history class, you will most definitely have to write about artists, artworks, as well as art movements, and periods. The difference between the last two can be very subtle. Art periods are more about the time when it happens. Art movements are about the intent or a shared goal. While historians define the former, the latter is formed by artists.

The significance of art movements to an artist is hard to overestimate. Individuals get inspired by different trends and incorporate various characteristics into their works.

Artists group an art movement with a set goal, particular style, and common agenda. They create publications and manifestos that declare their values and principles. They share their dreams of what their craft should be. In a way, it is a critique of what art currently is or was.

In this article, our experts have gathered key art periods and movements. You can analyze any of them in your assignment. Besides, you will learn the concepts and terminology that are significant to art movements and see free essay samples below.

Essential Art Periods

As we’ve already mentioned, art periods are defined by historians retrospectively. We’ve gathered information about them in this section. Any of the periods can become a foundation for your art movements essay. As for the idea to write about, you can let our topic generator create one for you.

Here’s how the evolution of art looks like from a linear historical perspective:

  1. Ancient Period (before 800BC)

Everything that is dated before 800 BC and before the rise of Greece is considered ancient. Yet, the cultures of the time were entirely separated. That is why ancient art usually gets categorized geographically. Each culture has its look and character. Celtic, Egyptian, African, Asian, Mesopotamian, and Pre-Columbian art is included in the ancient period.

  1. Greek/Roman Period (800BC – 400AD)

This period in the Greek and Roman Empires focused on beauty and harmony. Most of the artworks centered around religion and human perfection. Among the prominent pieces of art are mosaics, vases, architecture, paintings, sculptures.

  1. Medieval Period (400s-1350s)

Medieval Art can be characterized by Christianity. Elaborate patterns and the use of metals and gems are its prevalent features. Art historians can break the period into several smaller ones:

  • Early Christian,
  • Migration,
  • Byzantine,
  • Insular,
  • Romanesque,
  • Gothic.
  1. Renaissance Period (1350s-1600s)

During this period, artists used linear perspective and Classical ideals to depict nature and beauty. Faith in the nobility of man underpinned paintings, literature, and theater. Naturally, the Renaissance period contains several art movements.

  1. Baroque Period (17th century)

Baroque art in Western tradition coincides with the 17th century. It tried to represent infinity and had an emphasis on light and effects. It was apparent through architecture in particular. The rococo style emerged in the late Baroque period and was characterized by exaggerated ornaments and details.

  1. Neoclassicism (17th century until the 1850s)

The neoclassical period in painting and visual arts began in the 17th century and lasted until the 1840s and 1850s. Artworks were based on simplicity, precision, and symmetry. In some countries, such as France, it is characterized by austere classical settings and artificial light. It is also can be seen as a return to Greek and Roman ideas of logic.

  1. Romanticism (first half of the 19th century)

It’s a period when artists honored nature, emotion, and individualism. Romantic art focused on spirituality, mystery, imagination. In painting, the brushwork was less precise. It was very often depicting landscape, peaceful beauty, church, and revolution.

  1. Realism (19th century)

Realism emerged in France around the time of the Revolution. Realists rejected Romanticism and wanted to depict life as it is. The paintings are drawn photographically, and even unpleasant aspects of everyday life are represented.

  1. Modern Period (1860s-1970s)

During the period, new artists experimented with the traditions of the past. Modern art begins with Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Pablo Picasso. Numerous movements emerged during this time.

Key Modern Art Movements

What is called modern art involves dozens of art movements as this period lasted for over a century. These are so different and versatile that students almost always pick one of them for their works. In this section, you’ll see critical modern art movements that you can discuss. To argue your position and elaborate on the topic properly, check how to write a 5-paragraph essay.

The key modern art movements are as follows:

  • Impressionism (the 1870s, 1880s) is an art movement characterized by small but visible brush strokes in painting with light. This motion is a crucial element of the drawings. The group originated in Paris, and the name derives from Claude Monet’s painting Impression.
  • Post-Impressionism (1886 and 1905) emerged as a reaction against Impressionists in France. It attacked the naturalistic depiction of light. Post-Impressionists use vivid colors and thick paint strokes. This movement was created by Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh.
  • Art Nouveau (around 1890 and 1910) is a style of art, applied art, and architecture that flourished in Europe and the US. The artists tried to create an entirely new style that will be free from any imitation. One of the most prominent representatives was Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
  • Fauvism (around 1905) was started in Paris by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw Andre Derain and Henri Matisse. The artists emphasized color over realistic representations. The subject matter used abstraction and oversimplification.
  • Cubism (around 1907) is an avant-garde art movement that changed European painting and sculpture. It revolutionized music, performing arts, literature, and architecture. In Cubism, the artworks are broken up and reassembled. The artist depicts the object from a multitude of viewpoints.
  • Futurism (around 1909) was launched in Italy by Filippo Marinetti when he published his Founding and Manifesto of Futurism. It was trendy in Italy and Russia. The Futurists produced paintings, ceramics, graphic and urban design. Besides, they impacted theatre, music, literature, and fashion.
  • Expressionism (the start of the 20th century) is a movement that originated in Germany. Expressionists represented the world from a subject point of view to invoke emotions and ideas.
  • Dadaism (from 1916 to roughly 1924) is a movement of the European avant-garde in the 20th century. It was developed due to World War I and rejected logic, reason, and capitalist society. Instead, it focused on nonsense and irrationality. Dadaists created artworks in visual, literary, poetry, painting, and sculpture.
  • Surrealism (from the late 1910s and early ‘20s) appeared in Europe after World War I. The trend is most known for visual works and writings. Artists created illogical works with photographic precision to allow the unconscious to manifest itself. Andre Breton, the leader of the art movement, expressed the aim of creating super-reality or surreality.
  • Pop Art (the mid-1950s) was established in Britain and the US. It was a response to the optimism during the post-war consumer boom. Artists drew inspiration from popular cultures and new trends in arts such as comics, ads, and television. Andy Warhol, an American artist, and film director, was the leading figure in this movement.
  • Feminist Art (the 1960s) emerged to provide female representation in art and the world. Feminist artists try to represent feminine experiences highlighting vaginal imagery and naked female body.

Thank you so much for reading our article till the end! Much more can be said and added about art movements and periods. Yet, we hope the information was enough for you to start working on your paper. Read the essays on art movements below to draw inspiration and ideas.

99 Best Essay Examples on Art Movements

Expressionism as a Starting Point in Art Changes

Although the Renaissance period brought tremendous changes in the artistic approaches based upon the traditional art of Greek and Roman statuary, the Expressionist movement of the 1900s instituted a profound rejection of all the traditional [...]
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Expressionism: A Shift in the Art Approaches

Although as a movement, Expressionism lasted for only a decade, up to 1920, it has been accredited with the explosion of all the innovative ideas of the mid-twentieth century, and the concepts introduced by the [...]
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De Stijl Art Definition

To relate with the third congress of the International association of Art Critics, the Museum of Stedelijk in Amsterdam formed a comprehensive exhibit of the work of the artists in the Stijl Group.
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British Romanticism and Its Origins

It was partially a rebellion against aristocratic social and political standards of the Age of Enlightenment and a response against the scientific explanation of nature and was exemplified most powerfully in the visual arts, music, [...]
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Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism

Minimal art developed mainly in the USA rather than Europe and its impersonality is seen as a reaction against the emotionalism of Abstract Expressionism.
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Art Planning and Process

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Modern Art Directions Analysis

The new art of the 20th century is a variety of sections and directions. The creativity of separate representatives of the avant-garde does not fit at all in the frameworks of any art currents.
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Artistic Development Analysis

His paintings are characterized by use of light and shade, conveyance of emotional depth and religious background in his works and portraits.
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Religious Influence on Art and Architecture

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American Pop Art Culture Review

Pop art depicts the details of everyday life in which people derive most of their visual language in what they perceive to be the real world of entertainment, leisure, and media advertisements.
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The Question of Globalization, Power and Representation

However, as everybody else feel the impact of Chinese products penetrating even the poorest and most remote areas of third world countries and English become the language that must, power and representation seem to still [...]
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Kandinsky’s and Mondrian’s Abstraction Works

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German Expressionism and Fauvism

The paintings portraying the mores and morals of pre-war Berlin are the exciting script of a soul fascinated by the temptations of the metropolis, and each stroke of the brush conveys nervous tension and emotional [...]
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Dada and Surrealism Movement

The events of the 20th century have created a platform for the rapid development of various artistic styles and approaches. One of the most notorious branches of art was the Dada movement and the spreading [...]
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Abstract Expressionism Critique

To sum everything up, both Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko are essential for the modern art development of the 20th century.
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Mid-Century Modern Style

However, the key focus of the style is the combination of function and a unique design that is appealing to the eye.
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Neoclassicism and Romanticism: Comparison

They were the two poles of architectural thinking on the side of Neoclassicism was a rational, objective, almost scientific method of thought, which put reason in the first place among human abilities.
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The Age of the Baroque

Peter Paul Rubens was one of the key figures of the Baroque and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Jesus Christ is the central character of The Descent from the Cross and draws the viewer's attention from the [...]
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Mexican Muralists and African-American Modernists

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Russian Avant-Garde in History of Modern Art

The Russian avant-garde is a massive wave of non-traditional, experimental, and innovative art that covers the period from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century in Russia.
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Cubism in History of Modern Art

Cubism has become one of the iconic art movements of the twentieth century that had a profound effect on the development of art.
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Fauvism: New Forms in the New Century

The art of the twentieth century is characterized by the exploration of self and experimentation with form. Another peculiarity of the art of the beginning of the twentieth century was its connection with African traditions [...]
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Modern Art in Actions, Events, Performances

The relationship between the audience and a work of art was drastically transformed from observation to involvement as for the first time the viewer was placed in the art context.
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Baroque and Rococo: Imagination, Values, Emotions

The church chose the style so that it could communicate religious themes in emotional involvement during the time of the Council of Trent. The style dynamically reflected the growth of absolutist monarchies, and in power [...]
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Renaissance and Baroque Periods Comparison

The Italian Baroque and the Italian Renaissance are those periods in the history of art that attract the attention of both artists and representatives of the general public.
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Modernist Revolution in Art History

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Impact of Art on Society

In an oppressive and discriminative society as was the England of that time, art in the form of puppetry was used to impart a sense of freedom in individuals.
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Postmodernism Era: Body and Popular Culture

To understand how the body is constructed and deconstructed in modern western society, it is important to analyze the significance of the corporeal factor in the culture of postmodernism.
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Ideas in Neo-Expressionism and Contemporary Art

The insights of identity can be seen in the artworks of many contemporary artists. The majority of them try to reveal their philosophical views and attract the public's attention to those issues they consider to [...]
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Artistic Representation of Nature

One of the main qualities of visual art is that it allows people to get in touch with the surrounding physical reality through the perceptual lenses of another person's mind hence, making it possible for [...]
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Western and Eastern Pop Art Differences

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Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia

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Renaissance and Realism Art Periods

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Contemporary Art Practices

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Rasquache as an Art Philosophy

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The Latin American Art Collection

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Modernism and the Feminine Voice

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Aesthetics Art: Theory and Philosophy

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British Art & Crafts Movement and German Bauhaus

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Decoloniality in Art and Artist as Ethnographer

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Globalization, Art and Capitalism

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The Renaissance Period

The Renaissance Period became the greatest period of human creativity since Athens in the 5th century. The Florentines therefore "wanted to flow in the footsteps of these Greek thinkers".
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Art Definition and Development

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Islamic Art in Africa

The question of what it entails to be Hausa is briefly addressed to uncover the dynamic nature of Hausa culture and the religion that plays the main role. The study of the Hausa art offers [...]
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Artistic Activism and Tactics

3 The outbreak of violent protests in the capital city of France in mid-1968 was because of the Student dissatisfaction at the Sorbonne University and the University of Paris. 9 Accordingly, the right to the [...]
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African Art and Lega’s People Legacy

As Bravmann explains, the culture of the Lega society blends the elements of the colonial Bwamis and the elements of other African cultures: "it is through initiation into Bwami, and through the gradual movement through [...]
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Expressionism Art’ Concept

The given way to look at expressionist art both broadens the definition and narrows it down in that it stretches the concept to the idea of art being used as a tool for creating the [...]
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What Is Modernism?

Historically, the very beginning of the modern period in art and design is assigned to the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s.
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Artistic Modernism and Art Nouveau

The opposition of mass production to the handmade artistic work can also be regarded as the opposition of the inhuman and soulless to the infinite and spiritual that is comprised of beauty.
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Art in Modern Times

The element of satisfaction and its relation to commodity exchange in the art market is explored by the author. Fried's article is a deep analysis of the form of photographs in relation to art.
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Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Technique Evolution

A different approach can be observed in Van Gogh's painting; the artist uses energetic brushstrokes with tones of thick paint, and, unlike the Impressionistic method, the artist emphasizes the geometric forms of the objects with [...]
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Serenissima Trend: Spring-Summer 2016

The purpose of this trend is to represent the new side of beauty. The combination of purple and silver may be realized in closing and accessories.
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Can art change how we think about refugees?

The group had identified that the refugees used art to negotiate their way of becoming part and parcel of the indigenous people of the new home, despite the varying degrees of prejudice and exclusion that [...]
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History paintings

3 It is against this scope that this paper aims to explore the aspect of romanticism in the history of painting by considering the works of artists such as Kauffmann, David, Delacroix and Gros.
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  • Words: 2297

The Aesthetic Movement

The cult of beauty on the other hand is an exhibition that is one of its kind which hopes to showcase the various types of artistic nature in various parts of the world and also [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1401

Orientalism in Western Art

It is easier to explore the impact of Orientalism on human perception of the East through the works of art produced in the 19th and 20th centuries, since they reflect the vision that critical thinkers [...]
  • Pages: 7
  • Words: 1903

The Theory of Art Development by Nikolaus Pevsner

Because of the considerable pause in the art development in the Victorian period, Pevsner assumes that such artists as Morris, Gropius, etc.were called to put an end to the period of cultural "stagnation" of the [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1362

How do groups affect individuality

The kawaii movement as a group wants to send out a message of happiness in the face of adversity. On the other hand, art may actually do the opposite; it can be used to spread [...]
  • Pages: 8
  • Words: 2445

Renaissance versus Baroque

The era of baroque was an outcome of the struggle of the artists who denied a chance to exhibit their talents in the renaissance period.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1315

Goals and Achievements of Impressionism

The painters applying impressionism intended to focus the direct impressions of color and light that a person sees and feels when interacting with the environment.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 586

The Aesthetic Movement in the 19th Century

One of the brightest events of that period was the creation of the Aesthetic Movement. The Aesthetic Movement started as a reaction against the Victorian style, which was characterized by the use of jewellery in [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1434

Visual and Performing Arts in Canada

This paper discusses not only the essence of visual and performing arts but also focuses on the activities of popular Canadian artists and their ideas, evaluates the history of the Canadian art, and explains the [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 557

History of Romanticism

Romanticism refers to the period of intellectual, artistic and literary movement in Europe in the first half of nineteenth century. The supporters of the Romantic Movement point to the spontaneous and irrational display of powerful [...]
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 847

Imaginations, Values, and Emotions

In addition, other art works were as a result of an influence from the features and styles used during previous periods and were a reaction or continuation to the artistic styles.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 816

Export to World

In export to world, the form of the virtual object is of the main importance. In export to world, the real life object is usually forced to correspond point to point to the virtual object.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 612

Romantic and Neo-classic Art

This paper will highlight the differences between Watteau's painting of the storm from the neoclassical era and Delacroix's storm painting from the Romantic era.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 808

The Concept of High Renaissance

The three geniuses of the Renaissance, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rafael, were the cornerstones of the new era, the era when the boundaries between the art and life began to vanish.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 555

Concept and History of Cubism

Cubism reflected all that had gone before in art, but also reflected the 'interesting' technological and social trends of its era, as attested by each of the commentators in Section IIB.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 757

The Renaissance in Europe

The whole reason behind the renaissance artists was the representation of nature in their work where the standards were however deviated into the reflection of the human beings as the central focus.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 555

Goals and Achievements of Impressionism

For an artist's work to be exhibited at the salon it had to be evaluated by the salon officials to establish if it conformed to the elements of art and design and those that were [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 638

Parthenon in Athens

The damage of the temple made some people to steal the artifacts that used to be housed in the temple. Frieze was used to decorate the exterior walls of the temple and also illustrate the [...]
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 881

Post Modern Art

Numerous happenings in the fields of art, philosophy, science, music, and critical theory explain the meaning of post-modernism. Post-modernism is the same as modern art due to the production of new pieces.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1145

La Grande Odalisque by Ingres analysis

The subject matter of the painting is the odalisque, a concubine of a rich man in the East. Wallowing in luxury and waiting for her master to come is the only sense of her life.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1112

Postmodern and Modern Art

Harrison and Wood observe that "The history of art is that of a long series of attacks upon social and aesthetic values held to be moribund, although the avant-garde position is frequently nostalgic and absolute".[1] [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 2975

Byzantine Art by Robin Cormack

The location of the Byzantine empire both in the east and in the west provided for the specific marriage of different traditions in Byzantine art.
  • Pages: 24
  • Words: 6668

Formal Analysis: Empress Theodora and Her Attendants

The focal point of the composition is the figure of the empress, highlighted through color and light. The mosaic 'Empress Theodora and Her Attendants' provides a glaring example of how formal elements of design work [...]
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 562

Surrealism Development

The text, which was written with a great deal of absurdist humor, has references to several precursors of Surrealism that represented the Surrealist spirit before the declaration of the manifesto and the works of other [...]
  • Pages: 8
  • Words: 2209

Modern and Postmodern Art

Naum Gabo in his essay on neoplasticism and constructivism published in the book Theories of modern art tries to analyze the changes that have taken in the art world in modern years.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 852

Relational Aesthetics

The meaning of a certain piece of art is shared collectively by the society in relational aesthetics, and it is not limited to the space of individual perception and idea.
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  • Words: 1379

Classical and Renaissance Humanities Art

This can be explained by the fact that Greco-Roman artists of the era were convinced of the existence of dialectical relationship between the concepts of aesthetic/intellectual finesse, civil virtuousness and the notion of physical health, [...]
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1148

Chinese art (Zhang Hongth: Studio visit and Artist talk)

In a wide-ranging discussion, he touched on humor, the cathartic value of defacing the iconic image of a dictator, China's imperiled environment, the dangers of political art in that country, and his feelings as a [...]
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  • Words: 1344

Theory of Modern Art Institutions

His proposals fit into a continuum of detachment from the real and the concrete that has been evident in the art and the writing on art in the 20th century.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 927

Impressionist Music and Art

The natural light appears in a variety of types which gives the impressionist artist much freedom to alter the details of the objects in the painting using the natural light in different types.
  • Pages: 7
  • Words: 1899

Islamic Art: Early Medieval Period

In the following paper I will examine the example of the mina'i ware Ewer in order show how these aspects are presented in the ewer of the 12th century which is a perfect example of [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1377

Theory of modern art : theory of realism

The proper use of art, according to this declaration, was to document "a true picture of the {Revolutionary} events" and shape the mind towards the revolutionary ideal[7].
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 1866

Positive Impact of Islamic Art on Society

Its impact of social and cultural development of the Islamic World and other cultures can be considered to be positive because it has introduced uniqueness, originality, and unity of Islamic culture, architecture, media and politics.
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 832

Theory of modern art: Rationalization

Buchloh observes the cyclical appearance of action and reaction in art since the advent of Cubism, and infers from this that art reflects somehow the state of society.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 989

Art During the Renaissance

Though the artistic revolution is considered in this article as the major element of the renaissance, it was a result of the revolutions in the other elements such as the scientific, philosophical and the linguistic [...]
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1282

Buddha Image in Asian Art Work

It is therefore believed that the author of Buddha image was Shakyamuni, one of the artists sent to heaven by Maudgalyayana who can be considered as the patron of this art work.
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 584

Filippo Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto

In his Futurist Manifesto published in 1909 in Paris, Marinetti formulated the essence and the purpose of the Futurist movement and thus outlined the "ethical code" of a New Artist, a Futurist.
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 982