As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso is not only a painter but also a prolific dramatist and sculptor. The most important contribution by him is co-founding of the Cubist movement, which is a kind of painting that divide object into different parts then stack them together in one plane. As a result, the objects totally change the original shape, but the transformed figures evoke the view’s interest to probe into the meaning of painting. Furthermore, Picasso is good at making use of symbol. Just as dragon means power in China, images in Picasso’s painting always have symbolic meaning. Guernica is a masterpiece of this kind.
Guernica depict the panic after the bombing of Guernica on April 26, 1937, which was an aerial attack on the unarmed civilian in Basque town of Guernica, Spain, leading to widespread destruction and large civilian mortality during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso said that he paint the cow to stand for the fascist and the horse to be the symbol of the painful civilians. He also painted several figures around the horse to present destruction and desperate. To the left, a mother howls up into the sky holding her dead child, a soldier lying on the ground with a broken sword, to the right, a woman stretch her arm to light the dark with an oil lamp, a figure watch all this desperately. No bomb, no tank, no airplane. However, these impressive figures bring us into an ambiance filled with horror and misery. Picasso relied only on three colors, white, black and grey to adding to this horrific atmosphere.
“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth” says Pablo Picasso. Although Picasso did not participate in the war by himself, he demonstrated his anger and hate for war by his own means.
The Theater Box (French: La loge) is one of the masterpieces of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who was a well-known French artist of the Impressionist style. In Renoir’s paintings, he always shows his appreciation for the beauty and the feminine sensuality. This painting, The Theater Box, has not actually achieved the “non-black” assertion of Impressionist. It brings about the sharp contrast with black stripes. It is the only work that had not been received too much criticism in the Impressionists art exhibition.
The painter created well-dressed woman in the theater box according to his impression gained from the theater. And then he went back to his studio beginning making his work. It is interesting to note that it is an Impressionist painting done indoors. The painter successfully showed us the real atmosphere in the box of the theater, especially the expression of the two characters. Their faces were so natural and seemed concentrating themselves on the show.
Though there are only two people appeared in the painting, the painter was able to clearly highlight the image of that dressed up lady who was in stark contrast with the gentleman behind. The woman was acted by a modal named Nini and the gentleman holding a telescope was acted by one of Renoir’s brothers. The tone of the box is warm, being composed of rosy, black, white colors. The black stripes in the woman’s clothes made her very eye-catching and the black bars together with white color also made her look glamorous. Renoir uses small strokes to reflect black so as to produce a rich and deep level and finally enhance aesthetics.
Portrait was quite flourishing for a long time in the history of European painting, and the impressionist portraits were more vigorous. Renoir’s portraits were highly appreciated won scholars later. Renoir was famous for painting nude female. He became interested in the female body after the Franco-Prussian War. During the war, he joined the cavalry. Once the war was over, he immediately dropped the carbine, went back to Paris drawing his paintings again.
Wheatfield with Crows was painted by Vincent van Gogh in the last few weeks of his life in 1890. As a result, it was considered as van Gogh’s last painting though there was no evidence. How to interpret this painting? There is a common comprehension: this painting reveals Van Gogh’s psychological distress through a dark, grim sky, three pathways leading to different directions and the black crows which symbolize death.
The composition ofWheatfield with Crows expands from three forks road to wide wheatfield. There is almost no central viewpoint, while the scattered crows make the picture vaster. All the objects are made on a double-square canvas showing a cloudy sky filled with crows flying over a wheat field. Van Gogh uses three-primary colors and green to present a simple and concise imagery. From this painting we can see his peculiar golden color that people are familiar
day, he came to this wheat field again and killed himself by a gun. This painting gets another name Wheatfield under Clouded Sky.
The paintingWhere do we come from? Who are and where are we going to is the largest work of Paul Gauguin’s painting career. The significance of it is far more than all the previous works. Gauguin said he could not paint a better painting like this and also had the same value. Before his death, he devoted all his energies and efforts to this work.
There are various feelings of sadness that many painters experienced in numerous terrible environments. The eyes of Paul Gauguin were so bright and saw so truly and uncorrected. Therefore, all the traces of rashes and hasty were gone, what they saw was the life itself.
The entire landscape in the oil-painting is filled with stable blue and the Veronese’s green. All the nudes are prominent in front of the landscape with bright orange – yellow.
This large painting was completed by Gauguin in Tahiti in the South Pacific in 1897. According to the memory of Gauguin, he expected that through depicting the mirage what he saw when he was thinking to express the blend with him and the nature and his inapprehension of the mystery about the riddle of human come and go. So he put his heart and soul into creation and worked day and night for a month.
This is allegorical painting is commenced in a tropical jungle. There is a Tahitian picking wild fruits in the center which implies Adam picking the fruit of wisdom. Several women with babies are sitting to his right hand and two women in robe are having a heated conversation in the distance. The little girl, young woman and the old woman may symbolize the three different stages of life. There is a mysterious and eccentric statue in the background with some certain features of the Hindu gods. There are small cats, black goats, birds and lizards on the ground and it seems that they all have their own implications. Deep in the jungle is the sea, it makes people feel like it’s the ancient primitive legend from the colors and composition and has more mystique with such a title.
What is the value of human in the eternity between life and death, space and time? What is the meaning of life? Plain primitive life really can bring carefree joys of spirits? Paul Gauguin speculated those puzzles painfully, but in this painting, he represented his thoughts with visual images.
Gentile da Fabriano is an Italian painter active in Florence in the same period as Masaccio. The altarpiece Adoration of the Magi he created in 1423 is recognized as one of the masterpieces of the International Gothic painting style. And it is now housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The painter aims at rendering gorgeous and brilliant atmosphere and decorative artistic effect. He has tried perspective space drawing and the picture shows vision, the middle ground and close range. The figures portrayed are the well-dressed king, courtiers and attendants as well as animals like horses, cattle and sheep. The colors of the entire painting including people, animals and environment are resplendent and magnificent. This actually depicts the luxury scene of knight etiquette in middle ages so as to beautify and eulogize the pious feelings of the nobility to the Virgin Mary and the Jesus.
Adoration of the Magi shows the impacts that international and Sienese schools make on Gentile’s art. Fabriano combines his painting style with the Renaissance new styles. This work describes the three Magi are on their way to the large meeting with the Virgin Mary and the Jesus. As we can see from this painting, all the figures are in splendid and delightful costumes. Adoration of the Magi is the most common themes in the paintings of the Renaissance.
According to the Bible, Magi are informed that the new king of the Jews will be born through observing the stars at night, so they rush to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. King Herod the Great hears about it, and he orders three Magi to inform him the child’s whereabouts after they know it and then he wants to go for a visit himself. Lead by the constellation, three Magi finally finds the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus, The Magi offer the Virgin and the Child gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts, which are particularly valuable at that time. Gold represents valuable confidence; frankincense represents devout prayer; myrrh represents suffering mind.
Francois Boucher (1703 —1770) is one of the most typical Rococo painter, engraver, and designer. Most of his hundreds of works are decorative paintings and illustrations. He creates his paintings in a meticulous and carefree way so that becomes a most fashionable painter. His sentimental and simple style is widely followed and therefore makes a great contribution to the improvement of Neoclassicism. The works of Boucher are considered as the perfect expression of French taste in the Rococo period.
Boucher makes great artistic achievements in ceiling paintings, decorative frescoes, portraits and landscapes of pastoral style. Boucher is a controversial painter in the history of Western art. His famous paintings include Birth of Venus, Diana Getting out of Her Bath, An Autumn Pastoral and so on. Among these paintings, Diana Getting out Of Her Bath catches more attention.
Diana is ancient Greek moon goddess. Boucher makes this painting his best work through its skillful artistic techniques and aesthetic taste of depicting strong powder temperament, which receives a great popularity from the aristocracy. The painting depicts Diana just finished bathing sitting on the hillside after she returned from hunting. There is an arrow pot and preys hunted lying on the grass and hounds is drinking water. The maid bent to the ground and her eyes concentrate on Diana’s tilted right leg and toes. They seem to be searching for something. The feminine body is exquisitely depicted in bright colors and delicate brush strokes so that brings the mythical goddess into the scope of aesthetic worldly enjoyments.
His paintings on the subject of nude women in mythology, shows the declining aristocracy pursuing for a life of debauchery. The nobles ask for the paintings to be made as sweet as possible and full of sensual temptation. The nude goddess he painted looks as if pinched from rosy clay, without sense of reality. The paintings that can best represent his style are those mythological story painting used for decorating palace, such as Diana Getting out Of Her Bath. These works are in gorgeous colors which show his imagination and talent in decoration. Boucher is also interested in collecting Oriental arts and crafts.
The Bay of Marseilles, view from L’Estaque is the representative work of the great post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne.
a bay with strong thick blocks of color. A variety of blue stretches from one side of the canvas to the other end, establishing meticulous and syncretic strokes.
Behind the bay is a row of undulating hills. Above the hills is the blue sky, which is added a very pale rose red strokes, just like a faint afterglow from the sunset. Cezanne cuts off space at the edge of the painting. The blue color of the bay is much more impressive than the prospect colors of brown and red so that the space becomes ambiguous and similar. We must take it as a panorama painting in depth as well as again color permutations on the surface of the painting.
The Bay of Marseilles, view from L’Estaque, unlike paintings of the Renaissance or Baroque style, its space retreats into an infinitely far-reaching perspective. The buildings in the front view gather together and close proximity to the audience. These buildings are simplified into cubes and the color on the side is bright. The buildings and the trees behind the house are in yellow, orange, red, and green. Even they become smaller, they seem to be of the same clarity as the bigger one.
Though we can clearly tell what the house, roof, chimney and trees are, it is hard to imagine that they exists in the real life. If we are looking for the space and the air around the house and chimney we will find that empty space does not exist at all. The trees on the right sight of the house should be a little farther. In fact, the tree is next to the house in mottled colors. Cezanne wants to recreate the nature by colors. He believes that the sketch is the result of using color properly.
Although Paul Cezanne has struggled, hesitant and dissatisfied time to time, he definitely achieves great success through this painting. Cezanne is possible to establish a new concept of painting o and has a great impact on the 20th century painting for over 60 years lies in his proper use of the color and instant phantom of impressionist as well as his strong and sensitive perception on observing nature.
Among the impressionists, Manet was regarded as the greatest still life painter, especially about flowers. There were two main periods when he painted flowers, namely the medium-term of 1860s and his last time. Because of his serious illness, he was unable to draw large pictures. And then he turned to paint still life, which was easy for him to find prototype. His interest in painting flowers produced during learning at the museum, but he went to the museum aiming to explore the ancient painters’ secrets. During his travel to wife’s hometown—Holland, he studied very delicate works representing flowers, fruits and precious tableware made by Flemish painters. These things were put in a white tablecloth or carpet, reminding people of the feast and dishes related to the western churches. As defined by the tradition, still life was never reduced to simply imitate the real things, and always implied the philosophy or religion. A lot of Holland paintings appeared fully mature flowers and fruits which collapsed
were sure for death. The dark background chosen by the painter made the delicacy of white outline hazy and pink petals foil. The painting was made with a brush dipped in paint with more concentrated pigment and texture. The green leaves around the flowers enriched the auxiliary color points, fixing the theme of flowers on the upper left corner of the painting. These flowers in plenty of strokes were what the painter devoted to the writer and art critic Champfleury who was naturalism pioneer, one of his friends, and a close friend of Courbet, to express his respect for the conducive struggle for modern painting.
Woman with a black tiewas created in 1917 by Amedeo Modigliani. It was said that the portrait prototype was his first woman, a female journalist, Beatriz Hastings. Some biographies wrote that, this was a legendary woman who could tame the arrogant artist as a docile dog. But, unfortunately, Amedeo Modigliani was addicted to some pernicious habits like alcoholism and drug taking. Their little daughter died when she was born. Finally, this legendary woman left him too.
The portrait Modigliani depicted had a unified modeling mode: mask-like face, almond eyes without eyeballs, triangle nose and small mouth and the arc-shaped eyebows.
These were all configured in the slant head. The simplistic oval face, elongated neck and skinny shoulders were sketched out by clear lines. The elongated head and slant posture were slightly skew off the center line in the composition, and sometimes in order to achieve balance, the two eyes were painted in different sizes and shapes. But the most amazing was that: the paint just used the simplistic and patterned model presented different characters and different traits vividly and at the same time conveyed the sentimental mood of him.
The picture of the painting is a woman wearing a white shirt with a black tie, she looks very mysterious and strange, embodies the unique and graceful charm of woman. This should be a willful and rakish woman, but the facial expression indicates that she is not happy. She looks a little melancholy, her eyes are very empty, her mind is low, and this paint should be the real reflection of the author’s inner world.
The Kiss (In German: Der Kuss) was one of the representative works of Gustav Klimt, who was the world famous Symbolist painter. It was painted during his “Golden Period” and became very successful. After then, he painted a series of paintings in a similar gilded style.
The Kisswas a square painting, showing us a couple embracing, together. We can see that their bodies entwined in robes. This expression style was influenced by the Art Nouveau of the contemporary Gustav Klimt covered gold foil on classical paintings highlighting the modern look of the work. The painting was a typical Symbolic work and it was the most popular work painted by Klimt at the same time.
When Klimt painted this panting he was in love with Emilie. The man in the painting lovingly holding the woman’s head gave him a big kiss. And the head of the woman turned to one side because of the big kiss. Let’s have a closer look, the woman was feeling the kiss with her eyes closed, without noticing her neck has been distorted. The bodies of two people embracing and kissing together and became one. It is hard to tell boundaries between them, as if fusing into a golden light. They were genuflecting on a colorful flowerbed, just like a altarpiece that admired love. The Kiss was undoubtedly the most beautiful works of interpenetrating the love.
The figures in The Kiss were thought to be Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, but there was no evidence or record about it. Because the woman in this painting was quite similar to the female in the Woman with hat and feather boa, Goldfish and Danaë, so some people thought that the woman in the picture may be “red Hilda.
Some considered this painting a symbol of the strong lust. The woman in the painting nestled in the bosom of the man with her face and lips close to the man, ignoring the environment around, was a hint of sex. However, this revealed a warm, romantic and passionate life impulse instead of provocative and vulgar feeling against the golden color. Just as the Klimt advocates said: “No one has ever created such a tall and beautiful women portrait as Klimt” Variety of gold and silver, copper, and coral decoration improved the charm of this painting greatly. It was more than a painting but a delicate crafts.