The American art movement period from 19th through 20th century made significant changes through various artists in variety of disciplines. In the early 1800’s, American paintings subject content changed significantly. As a new country, the newly formed America lacked historical events. As a result, American paintings were usually portraits because there were nothing else to paint that would appeal to art loving consumers. Some American artists attempted figure painting and biblical renderings in the “great style” of the Europeans, but these were not very popular. (Rasines)
Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92) and painter Thomas Cole (1801-48) were two 19th century artists during early America. Tennyson’s poetry went through a ten year lapse. His written poetry was astounding, but significant events capturing the public’s interest had to take place before his poetry would gain the deserved recognition. The opening of Erie Canal and the landscaped paintings of Thomas Cole would bring this recognition to Tennyson’s poetry. Thomas Cole and the Hudson Rivers landscaped paintings provided visions explaining Tennyson’s poetry using nature to symbolize the separation between God and humans.
The historical event of the opening of the Erie Canal, the landscaped paintings of Thomas Cole and Hudson River Painters, and Tennyson’s written works made powerful impact on public’s interests of their spiritual relationship with God. Tennyson’s stopped writing poetry after his second published works received unfavorable reviews. The death of his friend he met at Trinity College, Arthur Hallam, encouraged him to write poetry again. His poetry was extremely popular which he continued for the rest of his life.
Tennyson gets his message through using visual words bringing vivid details to reader’s imaginations using nature as a spiritual symbology of God transformed into a form envisioned as humans. Tennyson’s poem, The Higher Pantheism, tells an easy to understand story explaining God appears in forms of the sun, moon, sky, water, and mountains. “ The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains, Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns? ” (Stag1; line1/2). Tennyson explains undesirable emotions and feelings appear when man and God has a subconscious conflict regarding who is in control.
No one sets out to consciously challenge God. Challenging or going against God, or the higher spiritual awareness is realized when negative feelings surface within ones emotions. “Dark is the world to thee: thyself art the reason why; For is He not all but that which has power to feel ‘I am I’? ”(stag4 lines1 /2) “Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet, Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. ” (stag6 1 / 2) Tennyson implies until guidance is given to a source outside human element, negative feelings will suppress any positive changes until God manipulates ones feelings. God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice. ” (Stag 7; 1).
Tennyson could have been providing useful suggestions to everyone going through disappointing times, as he experienced during his break in his poetry writing. Artist Thomas Cole influenced cultural changes through his paintings. Bringing public recognition to importance of nature contributing to daily life stimulated their interests in art implying messages regarding nature. Society’s interests increases when they know something has purposeful value to them. At this time, Cole’s paintings were discovered in a New York shop.
Cole went on opening a successful art school called the River Hudson Painters. All of their paintings included landscapes using forms of nature to represent God. “ The popularity of Cole stimulated interest in the arts, and the opening of the Erie Canal elevated New York to the commerce center of America, stimulating economic and cultural growth. ” (Raines). Through 19th century poetry and paintings, both artist, Cole and poet, Tennyson conveyed messages of God’s eternal everlasting existence through nature, the sun, mountain, earth, trees and man is insignificant compared to God.
After the opening of Erie Canal, the popularity of these artists soared. Oscar Wilde, Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky; Art for Art’s sake (the Aesthetic & Decadent movements & Primitivism) Wilde, Picasso and Stravinsky created visually appealing art sending out strong messages that art can be appreciated solely for aesthetic purposes, disturbing and jolting audiences into violent rebellious acts. Until the decadent movement marking this turning point in culture, art was meaningful sacred religious representations dating back to Ancient Greek.
Society were now hearing their sacred visions standing as solid representations of their communication symbols of God and other spiritual beings has no purpose. Logically, everyone knows art paintings, music and literature are their own individual interpretations. No one realizes how strong their beliefs and value they place in art until disrupting changes come along. Art does not communicate with the logical part of the mind; it goes directly to the subconciousness. Oscar Wilde, Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky made controversial waves during their art careers, causing the strongest, most rebellious cultural art changes throughout history.
It is standard common knowledge women are appreciated for their physical attractiveness. Feminists movements are forever trying to live this message down, but to this day have not succeeded. Oscar Wilde, Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky used attractive women sending messages women symbolize beauty, aesthetic beauty is their most valuable asset. Picasso’s painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon; Wilde’s play, Salome and Stravinsky’s ballet and musical composure Rite of Spring rely on women to relay their aesthetic messages.
Picasso (1881-1973) is “best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. ” (Wikipedia) The daring artist painted a highly controversial image of five nude prostitutes in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. (huntfor. com) Les Demoiselles d’Avignon shows female figures, uses strong contrasting shades, hues and colors bringing undivided attention to the fact these women are not wearing any clothes. Human colored golden shades of paint are mixed in a brightened up gold coloring as compared to the human shades of paint used for other nude paintings.
The bright white scarves they are holding and briefly wearing also emphasize the women are not wearing any clothes. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is now Modern At Museum art gallery in New York City. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) said when “reflecting on Pater’s view of art, he wrote, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, “All art is quite useless”. The statement was meant to be read literally, as it was in keeping with the doctrine of Art for art’s sake,” (Wikipedia). He was imprisoned for two years because of his bold, sexually explicit art. He wrote a version of the biblical tragic story, Salome.
Originally, Salome, daughter of Queen Herodias was a dangerous, fatally beautiful princess, and was responsible for a number of deaths during her rein as princess. In Wilde’s controversial version, Princess Salome died when she requested the death of another man. Salome’s main theme emphasizes women’s value are based solely on their physical beauty. The first lines of the story bring focus to the princesses beauty. As the story goes on, the focus never changes. “How beautiful is the Princess Salome to-night! ” (Scene 1).
The page of Herodias implies the princess beauty is dangerous and deadly, comparing the princess to her mother. Look at the moon. How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. One might fancy she was looking for dead things. ”(scene1) The princess’s visually appealing beauty were the only reasons she was selected as the main character in the play. “Almost no musical work has had such a powerful influence or evoked as much controversy as Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score “The Rite of Spring”. (Kelly). Many versions of the musical ballet have been reinvented. A woman is placed in a sexually explicit light.
This is not necessarily unflattering or disgraceful to women, but can be controversial. The choreography was aggressive, using stomping motions, majorly contrasting to traditional ballet. Mixture of high notes on the musical scale set to an alleged ballet resulted in an angry violent crowd. Today, the ballet with its original accompanying music by the most known ballet companies in the world. Wilde, Picasso and Stravinsky were rapidly changing the meaning of acceptable art culture. Usually art changes or modernism pushes boundaries as to what is morally acceptable, usually pertaining to sexual themes.
The strongest contributors to these art cultural movements the most are the general public. Society will go to great extremes to see what they do not want to see. Sexual themes have always been a part of art world. Proceeding the late 1800’s, sexual themes incorporated biblical and religious meanings. Oscar Wilde, Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky removed the spiritual symbology in art. Oscar Wilde, Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky made controversial waves during their art careers, causing the strongest, most rebellious cultural art changes throughout history.
Early Modernism, the poems of T. S. Elliot and Archibald MacLeish Elliot: The leading poet of the Avant Garde Avant Garde and modernism are branded terms referring to happening cultural changes. Societal changes may be cultural, political, educational, educational Usually Avant Garde and modernism movements refer to changes relevant to art, music, poetry, choreography, paintings, always without questioning stirring up social conflict. Modern art challenges a society’s established beliefs, values, and traditions. Art has powerful influences over happenings in society.
All types of art bypass logical senses communicating directly with emotions or subconsciousness. Greek art from ancient civilization realized the power of imagery. Art is used to protest and begin wars, other artists, political movements, and provide visual reminders of the current changing times. Because art immediately impacts the subconciousness, alerting society of changes that have already taken place, the subconciousness consequently reacts illogically to the emotionally shocking news resulting in art influencing strong political historical movements.
T. S Elliot (1888-1965) and MacLeish are two actively politically involved poets moving the 19th century cultural development into the modern 20th century. Both of these poets were products of upper class families, completing their education at Harvard. Elliot, a business major and MacLeish, having a law degree both were poetically driven. They left their successful careers in favor of writing poetry, lucratively paying off financially and award recipients.
Elliot and MacLeish was famous for publicizing modern and avant garde cultural changes and new developments, but their word selections is a reinvention of Thomas Cole and Tennysons messages conveyed through their art. The Hollow men, written by Elliot and written by MacLeish both imply that God shows up in forms human approachable through nature. Even though the human body dies, God or nature never does. “Those who have crossed, With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom, Remember us — if at all — not as lost” (Elliot; part 1 stag 3). The eyes are not here,
There are no eyes here, In this valley of dying stars ( part IV stag 1). Elliot’s conveyed message in The Hollow Man, is human physical body is actually hollow; the spirit residing inside the human body is more comparable to God’s image, symbolizing life. Epistle to be left in the Earth written by poet Macleish stirring up readers emotional feelings and fears reminding them of their metaphysical connection between life and death. The poem is very similar to Elliots Hollow Man, but this poem is written bringing ones emotions closer to experiencing the fearful time when death is approaching.
Strongly written words forces the conscious mind to confront issues that were able to be pushed back into the unconsciousness to deal with at a later time, until someone is reading the poem. “Long since we passed the flares of Orion, Each man believes in his heart he will die, Many have written last thoughts and last letters, None know if our deaths are now or forever, None know if this wandering earth will be found. ” “Do not stand at dark in the open windows, We before you have heard this, they are voices, They are not words at all but the wind rising, Also no one among us has seen God. ” (MacLeish).
As much as everybody wants to see God, no one wants to die. Ability to envision God, as well as other spirits of deceased relatives is totally impossible from human form. Spirits will appear in dreams while unconsciously asleep. Because of Elliot’s and Macleish’s advanced education, their art work was created in a socially acceptable way. Their poems reminded people of the biggest change they will ever experience, but could not be argued with. “From 1930 to 1938, MacLeish worked as an editor at Fortune magazine. During that period, he wrote two radio dramas to increase patriotism and warn Americans against fascism. (poets. org)
Elliot and MacLeish had the ability to influence cultural movements to extremes, mainly because of their Harvard education backing their credibility. Macleish was a successful attorney in a high caliber law firm, choosing to resign the day he was promoted in favor of writing poetry. As successful poet writers, they influenced progressive changes. The educated poets are identified with Avant-Garde movement. Avant garde defines the movement from one movement to another. “It is closely aligned with the term modernism. ” (Garrels) It is most commonly referred to art between 1860 and 1960.
Because art immediately impacts the subconciousness, alerting society of changes that have already taken place, the subconciousness consequently reacts illogically to the emotionally shocking news resulting in art influencing strong political historical movements. The Theatre of the Absurd, Thomas Beckett : The human situation as meaningless and absurd “Theater of the Absurd came about as a reaction to World War II. It took the basis of existential philosophy and combined it with dramatic elements to create a style of theatre which presented a world which can not be logically explained, life is in one word, ABSURD! (Theatre of the Absurd).
Theatre of the Absurd is post modern art in the setting of World War 11. The idea for absurd theatre originated from a French philosopher, Albert Camus. The philosopher argued that life was repetitive and useless. Later playwright, Samuel Beckett, was inspired to write Endgame. The main theme of the written play scripts is meaninglessly repetitive using pointless word selections, never making any point. Endgame, written by Beckett have two main characters, Clov and Ham. For a brief time, two other characters enter the scene, then fades out.
Clov and Ham become the main characters once again. Repetitive incomplete one and two worded sentences makes up the entire play. The play has no plot, no point, no meaning. “Nagg; Can you hear me? ; Nell, yes and you? ; Nagg; Our hearing hasn’t failed (Beckett). The entire play is written in one act, without breaks pausing the monotony. Artists almost always send hidden lessons requiring the audience to go beyond the visual surface. Even clearly underlined messages appearing in aesthetic art, as “art for arts sake,” usually contain different lessons to be learned.
Such lessons vary from each story, painting, play or musical reinvention. “One of the most important aspects of absurd drama was its distrust of language as a means of communication. Language had become a vehicle of conventionalised, stereotyped, meaningless exchanges. Words failed to express the essence of human experience, not being able to penetrate beyond its surface. ” (Culik, 2000) According to Dr Jan Culik, Absurd Theatre, reflects how everyone really uses language, or what is actually said while talking. Absurd theatre provides an in depth evaluation of everyday word selection.
Throughout, Endgame, everything actor one says, the second actor repeats either identical words or words with similar meanings. Another valuable lesson in absurd theatre reflects listening skills. “Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s always the same thing. Yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh any more. ” (Beckett). Of course during daily living, people do not repeat the same words over and over to people sharing living quarters with them.
Spouses complain their mates do not listen to them and parents complain kids do not listen them. Theatre portrays valuable messages and hidden meanings behind glitzy musical, choreography or acting entertainment and extensive vocabulary. Absurd Theatre reflects pointless repetitiveness of daily living habits, primarily speech. Art is supposed to jolt and surprise our unconsciousness bringing habits taken for granted to conscious level. Old habits form through accepted beliefs acquired by daily living choices. Absurd Theatre stimulates audience awareness forcing them to listen to how they really talk.
Social & Socialist Realism: Diego Rivera & Shostakovich Social and Socialist Realism artists represent working class artists or artists born into low income families emerging in the early to mid 1900’s. The artists mentioned were not American artists. Diego Rivera is Hispanic descent and other artists are Russian. No mentionable sources said any of these artists attempted to relocate to America. There are pros and cons to working in America compared to other nations. American artists are responsible for their expenses during their education process, but have the freedom to experiment with individual art ideas.
Russian Social Realism artists are required to join the Union of Soviet Artists, limiting artists to boundaries set by the Russian academy. Only artist whom are allowed to freely experiment and test their ideas can achieve full potential as an artist. All famous artist making and influencing historical events were established in America or Europe, because they had the freedom to do so. American artists took full responsibility for their art, having no government support backing them. They also had full ownership and rights to their artwork as well.
Russian artists belonging to the Soviet Union of Painters, did own the rights to their works. Artists belonging to the Social Realism art establishments finances were not controlled according to the success and customer responses to their artwork. Their income was distributed and determined by the state government. Social Realism rebelled against traditional art. Art’s purpose, especially aesthetic art, was to capture ideal events and happenings into permanent keep sake. Subject content of social realism art displays life in everyday situations, often the working class or people poverty situations. All artists under this union were equal.
Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter born into a working class family. His talent as an artist emerged when he was ten years old. He had a very successful art career, with some disappointments. “Many of his paintings drew controversy. His 1933 mural for the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan featured a portrait of Communist Party leader Lenin, the resulting uproar led to his dismissal and to the mural’s official destruction in 1934. ” (Diego Rivera. com). While the artist union protect artists from consequences of controversery, these milestones eventually make artists successful and memorable.
Following Stravansky’s lead as a controversial musician was Russian Composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. “Shostakovich’s avant-grade forms, brash harmonies, and sarcastic idioms brought him into disfavor with the regime then headed by Stalin. Although popular amongst Russian audiences, he was forced to suppress new works and remove others from the active repertoire. ” (Ramos). Some experts believe he was tailoring his musical composures to prisoners. His career was a mixture of acceptance of the most coveted rewards and criticism at the same time.
Social Realism artists appealed to working class culture. This particular art movement somewhat dissolved the distinction and separation between working class people and upper society. Like all other art movements, it stirred up controversery and hostility from society. Because of the expense of producing artwork, art customers belonged to the upper economic class. Artists influenced changes reforming the public views of what is socially and morally acceptable. Social Realism Artists whom’s art pieces brought them critical responses, are now highly respected.
Only artist whom are allowed to freely experiment and test their ideas can achieve full potential as an artist. Abstract Expressionism: Jackson Pollack, William De Kooning, Rothko Comparable to absurd theatre, abstract expressionism art never makes a completed logical finished statement. The artwork conveys messages of work in progress, never actually being finished. Michael Angelo was an artists known for never finishing his work. The one work he completed, Pieta, he destroyed. Abstract expressionist borrowed ideas from a series of art movements, aesthetic art, surrealism, impressionism.