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European Art An Overview based on The Annotated Mona Lisa (1992) Renaissance: the beginning of modern painting Four breakthroughs: Oil on Stretched Canvas, Perspective, Use of Light and Shadow, Pyramid Configuration Mascaccio, The Tribute Money c. 1427 Three Dimentional Realism

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european art

European Art

An Overview based on The Annotated Mona Lisa (1992)

renaissance the beginning of modern painting
Renaissance: the beginning of modern painting
  • Four breakthroughs: Oil on Stretched Canvas, Perspective, Use of Light and Shadow, Pyramid Configuration

Mascaccio, The Tribute Money c. 1427

three dimentional realism
Three Dimentional Realism

Donatello, “David” c. 1430-32

Donatello pioneered the Reanaissance style of sculpture with

Rounded body mass

heroes of high renaissance
Heroes of High Renaissance

Leonardo Da Vinci, “Mona Lisa” 1503-6

Embodied all the Renaissance discoveries of perspective

Anatomy, and composition


Michelangelo, “The Last Judgment,” detail, 1541 Sistine Chapel , Rome.

St. Bartholomew, a martyr who was flayed alive, holds up his skin with a

Grotesque self-portrait of Michelangelo


Raphael, “School of Athens,” 1510-11, Vatican, Rome. Raphael’s

Masterpiece embodies the High Renaissance in its balance

Sculptural quality, architectual perspective and fusion of pagan and

Christian elements.

titian the father of modern painting
Titian: The Father of Modern Painting

Titian, “Bacchanal of the Adrians,” 1518, Prado

Madrid. This pagan wine party contains the major

Ingredients of Titian’s early style: dazzling contrasting

Colors, ample female forms, and asymmetric


renaissance in the low countries
Renaissance in the Low Countries

Van Eyck, “Arnolfini Wedding,” 1434,

NG, London.. A master of realism,

Van Eyke recreated the marriage

scene, in miniature in the mirror.

Virtually every object symbolizes the

painting’s theme-the sanctity of

marriage-with the dog representing

fidelity and the cast-off shoes holy


german renaissance
German Renaissance

Dürer, “Four Horsemen of the

Apocalypse,” c. 1497-98

Dürer used fine, engravinglike lines

for shading. In this doomsday

vision, the final Four Horsemen-war

pestilence, famine, and death,

trample humanity.

spanish renaissance
Spanish Renaissance

El Greco, “Resurrection,” c. 1597-1604, Prado

Madrid. Many characteristics of El Greco’s

late, mystical style are evident here:

immensely long bodies, harsh light as if from

a threatening storm, strong colors, twisted

figures, sense of movement, and intense


the baroque the ornate age 1600 1750
The Baroque: The Ornate Age1600-1750
  • Baroque art succeeded in marrying the advanced techniques and grand scale of the Renaissance to the emotion, intensity, and drama of Mannerism, thus making the Baroque era the most sumptuous and ornate in the history of art.
  • Music: Baroque-Bach, Vivaldi, Handel
        • Classical-Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert
italian baroque
Italian Baroque

Caravaggio, “The Conversion of St. Paul,”

c. 1601, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.

Although criticized for portraying holy

figures as common people, Caravaggio’s

radical styleof sharp light and dark

contrasts changed European art.

flemish baroque
Flemish Baroque

Rubens, “The Descent from the Cross,”

c. 1612, Antwerp Cathedral. This painting

full of Baroque curves and dramatic

lighting , established Rubens’s


dutch baroque
Dutch Baroque

Hals, “The Jolly Toper,” 1627,

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Hals used sweeping, fluid

brushmarks to freeze the passing

moment in candid portraits of

merry tipplers.


Rembrandt, “The Nightwatch,” 1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Probably the best known painter in the Western world, Nightwatch

is an example of his early style, shows his technical skill with lighting,

composition, and color that earned it the reputation as one of the

world’s greatest masterpieces.

english baroque
English Baroque

Hogarth, “Breakfast Scene,” from Marriage a la Mode, c. 1745

NG, London. Hogarth is best known for satirical pictures

poking fun at English society.

spanish baroque
Spanish Baroque

Velázquez, “Las Meninas,”

1656, Prado, Madrid.

Velázquez created forms through

color and light rather than

through lines, achieving

startlingly real images of the

human figure. Voted “the

world’s greatest painting” in


french baroque
French Baroque

In the seventeenth century, France was the most powerful

country in Europe and Louis XIV tapped the finest talents

to glorify the monarchy.

Poussin, “Burial of Phocion,” 1648, Louvre, Paris. Poussin’s

balanced, orderly scenes shaped Western art for 200 years.

the nineteenth century birth of the isms
The Nineteenth Century: Birth of the “Isms”
  • For Western civilization the nineteenth century was an age of upheaval. The church lost its grip, monarchies toppled, and new democracies suffered growing pains. In short, tradition lost its luster and the future was up for grabs. Unfamiliar forces like industrialism and urbanization made cities bulge with masses of dissatisfied poor. The fast pace of scientific progress and the ills of unrestrained capitalism caused more confusion.
french neoclassicism
French Neoclassicism

David, “Oath of the Horatii,”

1784, Louvre, Paris. David’s

“Oath of the Horatii” marked

the death of Rococo and birth

of Neoclassical art, which

should, David said, “contribute

forcefully to the education

of the public.”

goya man without an ism art of social protest
Goya: Man Without an “Ism”Art of Social Protest

Goya, “The Third of May,

1808,” 1814-15, Prado,

Madrid. Goya protested

the brutality of war by

individualizing the faces

of the victims of the

faceless firing squad.

The poet Baudelaire

praised Goya for “giving

monstrosity the ring

of truth.”

romanticism the power of passion
Romanticism: The Power of Passion

Constable, “The Hay Wain,” NG, London. Constable portrays the farmer with his hay wagon (or “wain”) as an integral part of the landscape emphasizing Constable’s mystical feeling of man being at one with nature. Critics found this landscape so lifelike one exclaimed, “The very dew is on the ground.”

neoclassicism v romanticism
Neoclassicism v. Romanticism


1819, Louvre,


Delacroix, “Paganini,”

c.1832, Phillips


Washington, D.C.

  • Ingres version of the maestro is an objective, formal portrait of the public man. With photographic accuracy, his crisp, precise lines duplicate exactly Paganini’s physical appearance. This is a rational man, totally in control
  • Delacroix defines the musician’s form through color and energetic, fluid brushwork, as opposed to lines. Unlike Ingres’s ramrod-straight figure, Delacroix’s Paganini is curved like a violin, carried away by the ecstasy of performance. Eyes closed, foot almost tapping, Delacroix’s painting is a figure of passionate abandon. This is the inner man in the throes of emotion.
  • During the first half of the nineteenth century, as artistic wars between Neoclassicism and Romanticism raged, Realism, a force that would dominate art for the second half of the century, slowly began to emerge. With the first grindings of the Machine Age, Neoclassicism’s anachronisms and Romanticism’s escapism would prove no match for Realism’s hard edge.

Daumier, “The Third-Class Carriage,” c. 1862, MMA, NY. A spiritual heir to William Hogarth,

Honoré Daumier drew savagely satirical caricatures that punctured the pomposity of Royalists,

Bonapartists, and politicians. King Louis Philippe jailed Daumier for his cartoon of the king

swallowing “bags of gold extorted from the people.” Still Daumier continued his attacks. “The

Third Class Carriage,” portrayed working class passengers as dignified, despite being

crammed together like lemmings. This was the earliest pictorial representation of the

dehumanizing effect of modern transportation.

impressionism let there be color and light
Impressionism: Let There Be Color and Light

Monet, “Impressionism:


Musée Marmottan,


Impressionism radically departed from tradition by rejecting Renaissance

perspective, balanced composition, idealized figures, and chiaroscuro.

Instead, the Impressionists represented immediate visual sensations

through color and light.


Manet, “Le Déjeuner sur

l’herbe,” 1863, Musée

d’Orsay, Paris.

Manet painted flat areas of color, a radical break with traditional

chiaroscuro. Edouard Manet is often called the Father of Modern



Monet, “Waterlilies,”

1919-26, Cleveland

Museum of Art

When cateracts blurred his vision, Monet’s painted water lilies became hazier and finally indistinguishable from the water and reflections. He had invented a new kind of painting that foreshadowed abstraction. “The essense of the motif is the mirror of water whose appearance alters at every moment, thanks to the patches of sky which are reflected in it, and which give it light and movement.” he said.


Renoir, “Le Moulin de la Galette,” 1876, Musée d’ Orsay, Paris.

Renior specialized in human figures bathed in light and color, ex

pressing te everyday joys of life. “The earth as the paradise of the gods,

that is what I want to paint,” he said.

post impressionism
  • Post Impressionists were dissatisfied with the Impressionism. They wanted art to be more substantial, not dedicated wholly to capturing a passing moment, which often resulted in paintings that seemed slapdash and unplanned.

Van Gogh, “The Starry Night,” 1889 MoMA, NY. Van Gogh expressed his emotional reaction to a scene through color.


Georges Seurat, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” 1884-86, Art Institute of

Chicago. Seurat developed the pointillist technique of using small

dots of pure color.


Paul Cézanne, “Large Bathers,” 1906, Philidephia Museum of Art.

Cézanne’s late nudes with their stiff, geometric forms, were a precursor

to Cubism.

twin titans of the twentieth century matisse and picasso
Twin Titans of the Twentieth Century: Matisse and Picasso
  • These prolific French artists were indeed opposite points on the compass for all Modernist explorers. Each inspired a different form of revolt against realism, one of shape, the other of color. Picasso, in Cubism, broke up forms to recombine them in new ways. Matisse, not to describe form but to express feeling, launched a chromatic revolution.

Henri Matisse, “The Green

Stripe (Madam Matisse), 1905,

Statens Museum für Kunst,


Matisse used color to transform a conventional subject into a vibrating, original design. Energizing the face,

the unexpected streak allows the head to compete with the assertive background. matisse stressed surface

pattern, placing equal emphasis on foreground and background, and on objects and the space around

them. “No point is more important than any other,” he said, abandoning shadow and perspective for a flat,

ornamental, “overall” effect.


Anatomy of a Masterpiece

Pablo Picasso, filled with patriotic rage after the bombing of Guenica, created the 25-foot-wide by 11-foot-high

mural in one month. It is considered the most powerful indictment ever of the horrors of war. “Painting is not done

to decorate apartments,” Picasso said, “It is a instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy.” Picasso

incorporated certain design elements to create a powerful effect of anguish. He used a white-gray palette tp emphasize

hopelessness and purposely distorted figures to evoke violence. The jagged lines and shattered planes of cubism denote

terror and confusion, while a pyramid format holds the composition together. Some of Picasso’s symbols, like the slain

fighter with a broken sword implying defeat, are not hard to decipher. Picasso’s only explanation of his symbols was:

“the bull is not fascism, but it is brutality ad darkness . .. The horse represents the people.”