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26 06 2007

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26 03 2007

My dear students;

All I want to say now, is Goodluck. I will be updating my blog with new information frequently. You can comment on anythnig at anytime. However, I will also give you my email so that you would email me with anything you want. Here is my email. Goodluck!! 

26 03 2007

Van GoghVincent van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, the Netherlands. Starting in 1869, he worked for a firm of art dealers and at various short-lived jobs. By 1877, van Gogh had begun religious studies, and from 1878 to 1880 he was an evangelist in the Borinage, a poor mining district in Belgium. While working as an evangelist, he decided to become an artist. Van Gogh admired the work of Jean François Millet and Honoré Daumier, and his early subjects were primarily peasants depicted in dark colors. He lived in Brussels and in various parts of the Netherlands before moving to Paris in February 1886.

In Paris, he lived with his brother, Theo, and encountered Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting. Van Gogh worked briefly at Fernand Cormon’s atelier, where he met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The artist also met Emile Bernard, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Signac at that time. Flowers, portraits, and scenes of Montmartre, as well as a brighter palette, replaced his earlier subject matter and tonalities. Van Gogh often worked in Asnières with Bernard and Signac in 1887.

In February of the following year, van Gogh moved to Arles, where he painted in isolation, depicting the Provençal landscape and people. Gauguin joined him in the fall, and the two artists worked together. Van Gogh suffered his first mental breakdown in December 1888; numerous seizures and intermittent confinements in mental hospitals in Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers-sur-Oise followed from that time until 1890. Nevertheless, he continued to paint. In 1890, van Gogh was invited to show with Les Vingt in Brussels, where he sold his first painting. That same year, he was represented at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. Van Gogh shot himself on July 27, 1890, and died on July 29 in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.


25 03 2007

Cubism by Picasso

Cubism: origin of the term

To understand where the term cubism comes from, we have to digress on the rivalry that existed between Picasso and Matisse. The latter’s Blue Nude painting had caused a public scandal at the Salons des Indépendent (annual Paris art show of contemporary French art) and had caused art critic Louis Vauxcelles to refer to Matisse and his followers as Les Fauves (the wild animals), which led to Fauvism and made Matisse’s reputation as the leading avant-garde artist, something he was very fond of. Matisse’s reputation had grown to the point that he had been allowed to become one of the Salon’s jury members.
When Picasso had produced his Demoiselles, many young artists that had previously followed Matisse, began to follow Picasso is his radical new style of painting. One of the converts was Georges Braque and when he submitted a series of paintings to the Salon, Matisse, who was infuriated by Braque’s defection, was instrumental in the Salon’s rejection of all of Braques’ works. When explaining to Vauxcelles (him again), Matisse made a drawing after one of Braque’s landscapes, to show how they were made out of ‘little cubes’ and from there on “cubism” was a no-brainer for Vauxcelles. This however, had little to do with the technique of faceting that Braque and Picasso went on to develop. Braque’s paintings were just a prelude to a very different style, but the term cubism would stick.

Noteworthy is the work of Piet Mondrian, who linearized cubism in his 1912 “Apple Tree” painting, a process which ultimately led to the first really non-figurative paintings (or pure abstract art), from 1914 on. An important difference between Picasso and the cubist Mondrian was that Picasso never really gave up the third dimension. He played with dimensions, flirted with removing the third, but never became a pure abstract painter. So deeply his figurative upbringing was engrained (he was an artistic prodigy and well-rounded figurative painter at 15), that one of the main creators of abstract art never made it to this development’s ultimate consequence: pure abstract art. In that sense Picasso wasn’t the radical and revolutionary that, during his cubist period he appeared to become; his cubist period was followed (leaving his cubist converts bewildered) by his neo-classicism, a return to tradition. From there on his recognition and wealth grew and his role as a bringer of fundamental change in the art of painting was over.

Cubism and Picasso’s Style

It is important to fully realize the importance of cubism. It isn’t just “Picasso’s style” but marks the real beginning of abstract art. Picasso’s predecessors, such as the impressionists, the fauvists and Cezanne were still principally tied to nature as a model to elaborate on. With Les Demoiselles d’Avignon Picasso reached a level of abstraction that was a radical enough break with the classical dominance of content over form, a hierarchy which is reversed in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and the style which followed from it: Cubism.

Speaking of “Picasso’s style”, it is natural to associate Picasso with Cubism, which leads to people thinking that paintings such as “Femme en pleurs” are cubist. However, Picasso’s cubist period ended in 1915 and paintings such as Femme en pleurs (1937, see below) certainly aren’t cubist, although there are elements of cubism visible, as well as fauvism and many other styles. There is no -ism that characterizes paintings such as Femme en pleurs and it’s style is commonly known as, indeed, Picasso’s style. Picasso’s career is in fact a patchwork of different styles and in his classicist nudes for instance there are hardly any cubist influences visible. Maybe ironically or maybe typically, when Picasso’s work could be captured in an -ism, during his cubist period, his influence on art transcended the Picasso style and marked the beginning of a new era in modern art.

Picasso’s style in it’s full form is a patchwork of ideas borrowed from classical artists and contempories like and El Greco, Matisse, Modigliani, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. However, a key-element of the Picasso style is the cubist geometry, which is Picasso’s own creation. After his cubist period, Picasso would come to depend on the work of his contempories, from which he would distill the essence, create his own version and incorporate it in his style. After the second world war the School of Paris would not be replaced with an artistic movement of comparable quality, denying Picasso the opportunity to be inspired by, and borrow from contemporary artists, and although he would go on to paint successfully in the Picasso style, he would never again be able to substantially innovate his style.

Abstract art may be a 20th century creation, but it also marks the end of a process that started in the 18th century. Long before the invention of photography, philosophers began to question the narrative role of the art of painting, in which naturalism served to create an illusion of reality. Paintings would tell stories and depict actions and emotions; the content of a painting was it’s central feature, not the painting itself, with it’s form and color. This would be reversed by the influence of theoreticians like Denis Diderot, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schoppenhauer. They felt that the art of painting should not copy nature, but should be an independent art form; the purpose of a painting became the painting itself.
This created the ideal philosophical climate for avant garde artists, such as Picasso and Braque, who aimed to move towards abstract art; while the general public doubted their sanity, the cubists could refer to the above-mentioned philosophical tradition

Welcome To my Blog

25 03 2007

My Dear Students,

Welcome to my blog. In here you will find everything you need to help you get through your revision. You will find summaries to hard topics; you will find links to helpful sites; you will find some pictures that can give you an idea for your final piece; and you will find many other things that you will find helpful. You will also be able to post me any comments if you have any problems. In general, this blog will be the main source of communication between you and I over the period I will not be available. This is all what I need to say for now. So, good luck students; use this blog effectivley; and do not hesitate to comment regarding any problem.

Yours; Ms Amira.

Hello world!

23 03 2007

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!