Presentation on theme: "The History of Abstract Concepts in Art How abstract ideas are personified and made visual by art (Renaissance to present)"— Presentation transcript:
The History of Abstract Concepts in Art How abstract ideas are personified and made visual by art (Renaissance to present)
There is only one great thing in art: the thing you cannot explain. –Georges Braque If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint. –Edward Hopper I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for. -Georgia O'Keeffe Great art picks up where nature ends. – Marc Chagall (Artquotes.net)
There has always existed a gap between the idea and the image. A concept can be conceived, presented, and perceived. A concept that exists in nature and can be physically located in time and space is a concrete concept. Because they are things that can be seen, touched, and physically experienced, they can easily be expressed and recognized in words or an image (Schumann). Art tries to represent the world and provides some sort of historical record (Haskell 1). However, images were first made to conjure up the appearances of something that was absent (Berger 10). Abstract concepts are ideas not physically found in nature. They are intangible realities that art attempts to represent as often as it does the physical world itself (Sayre 43).
Throughout the history of art, artists have tried to visualize these abstract ideas and express them with a concrete mediumpaint, marble, clay, or something else. They attempt subjectively to make intangible realities tangible through artwork. The concepts, however, are still abstract, and different viewers see and understand the images in different ways (Berger 11). Presented here are various masterpieces from the Renaissance to present that express abstract ideas. They are organized by concept, and are subject to the subjective scrutiny of the individual viewer. What are some examples of concrete concepts? How about abstract concepts?
Human emotion is probably the most commonly recognized and universal abstract idea. Love cannot be seen, heard, or physically touched, making it harder to express in concrete terms (Brown 44). Artists have created art about different types of love throughout history. Love
Auguste Rodin, The Kiss, 1886, Marble, Musee Rodin, Paris
Constantin Brancusi, The Kiss, , Limestone, Muzeul de Arta, Craiova, Romania
Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, , oil on canvas, Austrian Gallery, Vienna
Titian, Venus and Adonis, c. 1560, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Widener Collection
Edvard Munch, Separation, 1896, oil on canvas, Munch-museet, Oslo, Norway
Dieric Bouts, Virgin and Child, c. 1475, Oil on panel, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Roscoe and Margaret Oaks Collection
Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, c. 1890, oil on canvas, Wichita Art Museum, Kansas, The Roland P. Murdock Collection
Anguish, Horror War and death can be experienced; however, the horror and anguish described by them are abstract emotional situations. Artists have depicted throughout the ages visual images that attempt to explain anguish or horror.
Augustin Preault, Slaughter, c. 1834, bronze, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Chartres, France
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893, Tempera and casein on cardboard, Munch-musee, Oslo, Norway
Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes, oil on canvas, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, Naples
Henri Fuseli, The Nightmare, oil on canvas, The Detroit Institute of the Arts
Eugene Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus, 1828, oil on canvas, Musee du Louvre, Paris
Vincent van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Collection, New Haven, Conneticut
Theodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1820, oil on canvas, Louvre, Paris
Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring One of His Sons, , fresco, transferred to canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937, oil on canvas, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Awe There are sublime occurrences that inspire awe. Awe is a human reaction that is does not exist physically in nature, but ironically is often evoked by nature. There is much artwork spanning history that both describes awe and is awe-inspiring. Artists, along with movements such as Romanticism, describe sublime experiences in artworkmany employ the sublimity of nature.
John Martin, The Great Day of His Wrath, , oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London, purchased 1945
Jacob van Ruisdael, The Jewish Cemetery, , oil on canvas, The Detroit Institute of Arts
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, The Wave, 1889, oil on canvas, The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, Great Basin Desert, Utah,
Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, , oil on canvas, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin
Socioeconomic Status, Class Another abstract concept is a social onethat of status, how we relate to one another by wealth and lifestyle. Artists present this using indicators of someones class, such as clothes, possessions, or the environment they exist in. As with other abstract ideas, we can perceive them, but they cannot be physically located in nature. Considered here are images created throughout the past several centuries dealing with status.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique- Ingres, Napoleon Enthroned, 1806, Musee de lArmee, Paris
Hyacinthe Rigaud, Louis XIV, 1701, oil on canvas, Louvre, Paris
Limbourg Brothers, October, from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, , ink on vellum, Musee Conde, Chantilly
Gustave Courbet, The Stone Breakers, 1849, oil on canvas, formerly at Gemalde-galerie, Dresden (destroyed in 1945)
Honore Daumier, The Third-Class Carriage, ca. 1862, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Edgar Degas, The Glass of Absinthe, 1876, oil on canvas, Musee dOrsay, Paris
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris: A Rainy Day, 1877, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Classical Antiquity, Ideal Civilization Classical Greece (along with Rome) has served as the model civilization for most of western history. Our ideals of civility, reason, and logic stem from the Greeks. They were arguably the first champions of democracy, proportion, and the arts. Because of this, western artists across time have referenced the Classical Age (Aghion 5). Art has referenced the ideal civilization by reusing its narratives, mythological figures, and ideas of perfection, rationalism, and proportion. The concept of the ideal civilization is conceptual and intangible. These references are dominant forces in the Renaissance, and Neoclassicism.
Antonio Canova, Pauline Borghese as Venus,1808, Marble, Galleria Borghese, Rome
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Apotheosis of Homer, 1827, oil on canvas, Louvre, Paris
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, c. 1482, tempera on canvas, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures, ca. 1785, oil on canvas, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, 1784, oil on canvas, Musee du Louvre, Paris
Religion, Spirituality, God Humans have long experienced spirituality and religion. This is a very universal abstract idea. Its various types and forms appear in historically significant artwork. Many artists have dealt with the spiritual visually. There is a wide variety of ways this has been done. The frescoes of Roman Catholic Italy illustrate religious concepts in a way very different from that of the inner–spiritual wanderings of Wassily Kandinsky, for example.
Antonio Allegri da Correggio, Assumption of the Virgin, , dome fresco of Parma Cathedral, Parma, Italy
William Blake, Ancient of Days, frontispiece of Europe: A Prophecy, 1794, metal relief etching, hand colored, The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
Paul Gauguin, The Vision After the Sermon, 1888, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
Jan van Eyck, God, panel from the Ghent Altarpiece, c 1432, St. Bavos, Ghent
Titian, Assumption and Consecration of the Virgin, c , oil on wood, Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari, Venice
Gianlorenzo Bernini, The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, , marble, Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
Giotto and his pupils, St Francis Renouncing His Earthly Possessions, c , fresco
Wassily Kandinsky, Black Lines, December 1913, oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Velocity, Speed Another abstract concept presented in art may seem physical, but cannot be physically located in time and space: speed. Artists have touched on this idea in a great deal of art.
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, 1912, oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Eadweard Muybridge, Annie G. Cantered, Saddled, 1887, collotype print, Philadelphia Museum of Art
J.M.W. Turner, Rain, Steam, and Speed, 1844, oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London
Jackson Pollock, No. 29, 1950, oil, expanded steel, glass and pebbles on glass, private collection
Giacomo Balla, Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912, oil on canvas, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Giacomo Balla, Street Lamp, 1909, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Abstract concepts are abundant in art. They are conceptualized, presented, and perceived subjectively by human eyes in artwork. Abstract ideas exist in art this is true for artwork dating from the Renaissance to present.
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