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Middle Ages: Romanesque Art

1100 AD to 1200 AD

In the period 500 to 1000 AD, anarchy ruled allover Western Europe.
II Ing to the decline of the Roman empire, certain savage tribes had
lure efully imposed their rule in Europe. Therefore, it led to a situation
It .re there was no peace, stability; essential pre-requisites for political
nul social prosperity. This era is known as 'The Dark Age' of European
l lrxtory.
In such an unstable situation, reigns that came to power turned martial
.uid barbaric; prompting the clerics to live in monasteries to protect and
pInctice their religion. These monasteries, doubled up as welfare units,
urking up the initiatives of building hospitals, educational institutions, etc.
I'll se organizations also managed needs in hours of contingent calamities
\I.h as epidemics, and famine. Libraries were set up, containing
manuscript books decorated with beautiful pictures. It is apparent that
these religious units have made admirable achievements even in music,
architecture, sculpture, and fine embroidery.
The kind of art that emerged during the 11th and 12th centuries in the
liuropean continent is termed as 'Romanesque Art'. Due to the evolution
or Romanesque art in tune with the needs of various provinces and the
availability of resources, it is seen to have developed a vast variety.

Since Romanesque art progressed in different regions, it cannot be
pinpointed as to how and where it was born. During 1000 AD, building of
xlifices got a fillip in Italy, Germany, Spain, England and specifically
The Romanesque architects made certain changes and improvements
to the original plan of the ancient Christian church for creating structures.
In this modern design, the galleries located on either side, at right angles to

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the main edifice came to be slightly extended. The circular part of the It was during the ancient Christian era that Belfries came into
building, i.e. the apse came to be widened, as a larger area (choir) was existence. During the Romane que era, towers with bells came to
needed to sing hymns. A different kind of change was made in the St. symbolize the church. The towers with bells, in Italy, were built in the
Martin's Church built in France. Around the apse, a circumambulatory proximity of the church, but as independent structures. Whereas, at other
path was built and joining the outer walls, tall chapels or churches were places it was included in the church. More often, the facade of the church
built on both sides. was beautified with towers on both side .
Moreover, diverse types of stones came to be used for construction,
bringing in a variety in the design of the buildings erected. Opting out the Lombard Porch
wooden roofs due to their non-sustainability, various tent-like roofs The front porch at the main door was a remarkable feature of Italian
designed on the lines of Byzantine architecture were used; sometimes architecture. On both sides of the main door, there would be foundations.
Byzantine styled domes are seen to have been used. Their idea was to not On these sat lion statues, and on their backs stood two small, round pillars
only build a long-enduring church, but make it spacious and expansive. which balanced the roof of the porch. This was known as the Lombard
Also, in order to let in plentiful light, they wanted to erect structures with Porch. Thus, the Romanesque architecture in Italy was full of variety and
large windows and high roofs. They experimented therefore with a variety adornment.
of architectural projects. Hence this phase is considered as the classical Germany: The Romanesque era church with German characteristic is
age of architecture. These experiments evolved into definite and concrete the St. Michael's church at Hildesheim. This has apses on its eastern and
formsin the 13th century AD Gothic period. western sides. Normally, the church's
One more distinctive feature of Romanesque architecture is the main entrance is on the west. But this
circular arch. In this architecture, doors and windows played a significant church has two entrances on the
role. The church being the Lord's abode and a place of worship for the northern aisles end. This church too has
devotees; in order to earnestly welcome the religious worshippers and a Lombard porch.
followers, it was necessary to have large doors. Hence, supported by France: The St. Trophime church at
round pillars having entablature and foundation, a door - with circular ArIes in France has small doors
arches merging into the walls - was built. This was a Romanesque marvellously decorated with sculptures.
architecture special. Every arch of the door serves to increase the width In this era itself, the practice of visiting
and height of the door. Such a door, made out of a combination of pillars sacred sites had begun among Christian
and arches is called a 'Splayed Door'. These arched doors look huge and followers. Places like the Jerusalem
magnificient. .hurch, St. Compostela in Rome were
The windows too, like the doors were built with arches. Besides, the .onsidered sacredly important in those
windows near the galleries were paired. In the centre of the window, atop days. In order that the pilgrims may rest
a small, round pillar bearing the entablature and base, small arches during their journey, monasteries with
springing from either side of the window came together and met at a point. comfort and conveniences were built in
These windows are called 'Twin Windows'. On the facade walls, used to the course of their travel. To welcome
be built, a large, round window decorated with tracery. This constituted piIgrims flocking in large numbers churches with large expanse were built.
window portions that looked like rose petals or spokes of a wheel. The One example of such edifice is the St. Serniu's Basilica at Toulouse in
walls were decorated with closed arches called 'Blind Arcades'. France.

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Sculpture I I Ilion. There used to be a chamber in every monastery where
ni.muscripts were written. Before the art of printing was found, the books
Sculpture, during the Romanesque times, was used to decorate built '1'1" written with hands. Matter was written from the left to the right in a
architectures. The space adjacent to the church doors were adorned with 11111 izontal line. Sometimes it was plainly written in the whole line without
sculptures. If the door was too wide, it had a column in the middle; idols of
III drawings. The paper used for writing was mostly parchment made
prominent people were kept in front of this column. The arches, festoons 1111111 a ram's skin. A feather served as a pen. The writing was done in
and column-capitals were designed with decorative sculptures. The main 'I lid 'n or silvery ink.
objective behind these decorative sculptures being spreading religious
ideologies of Christianity, their format was kept advisory. In those days, the Writing became an art in this period. It is called 'Calligraphy', and the
urcr is known as 'Calligraphist'. Due to proportionate and regular
art of printing books had not emerged, and most of the devotee class was
uneducated. Hence, the religious tales were sculpted with imagination and I Illi lraphy one experiences the creation of aesthetic value. Initially, in
clarity. II uble and proportionate lettering, only religious content was written. Later
1111111 lh, pictures began to be drawn to decorate the manuscript book. The
In the manifestation of these religious sculptures, suggestiveness and
III ,I letter of every paragraph was very skilfully designed with embroidery.
symbolism can be witnessed. For instance, to express the emotion of Ilit' practice of decorating books with
piousness a halo was shown, or to present the existence of God, a cross p.untings or drawings began in the Middle
was carved out. While depicting stories from religious texts it was difficult ics, To produce a book with
many times to sculpt the details; that is when they used signifying symbols. III 'oration, required contribution from
For e.g., curvy lines to suggest water, circle for sky, leaved stem for tree. 1111'" distinct types of artists - The
or forest, towers for towns, and angels for heaven. I !IIilraphist, the headline painter, the
In France, in the provinces of Provence and Burgundy, on the path that I IIlist rator and finally the front-page
leads to the church entrance, there are elegant reliefs. Despite the capital iii igner who wrote the title of the book
columns not being ideal spaces for relief of religious stories or incidents, 1111 golden paint. The 'Book of Kells'

the Romanesque sculptors have managed to bring it about with great skill. 11111 'Lindisfarne Gospels' are excellent
Due to the exotic and fine carving, on the square blocks on the doors, in the I unples of manuscript books of 700
narrow spaces between doors and windows; the Romanesque churches I . They are especially famous for the
look grand and opulent. 1111 lerfully embroidered tracery. In the
I'll I lire-decoration of the book,
Paintings - Murals I uulisfarne Gospels, the depiction of
There aren't much of evidences of pamtmgs in comparison to luuuan figures was done for the first time.
sculpture. Clarity, geometric curves and rhythmic lines were the major Thus, manuscript book-designing is an invaluable treasure of Christian
characteristics of painting. Instances of painting are found in Italy, III.
England, Germany and France.

Manuscript Book-designing
This designing of handwritten books began during te Byzantine era.
During the Romanesque period, it was largely used in the Christian
monasteries of Western Europe. Writing books with neat hand-writing, and
decorating them with contextual drawings was then the pattern of art

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In this era of peace and glory, one more intellectual class emerged. In
th first h~ of the 12th century, in Paris, the University form of education
Ihul championed the cause of a new educational system came into
istence. The University that gave education in arts and knowledge was
Middle Ages: Gothic Art uulced, an .organization
b' . of teachers and students. In the medieval age era,
IIIan main 0 jective was one, and that was of integration.
1150 AD to 1400 AD
, :he buildings of this era are said to be of Gothic style. This style of
\I hitecture became such a convention, and common that several
Fresh art-theories, disdained as 'Gothic', emerged in the latter half of 111I~tures,based o~ ~s style, began to be built in the whol~ of Europe. It
the 12th century. The term 'Gothic Art' that disparaged the art of this IlIlIllOued
I' to be imitated right till the 18th century . Th epaseo h f
century rather contemptuously, prevailed during the age of Renaissance. \I utecture ~at started in the latter half of the 12th century is known as
This adjective 'Gothic' was derived from the name of the barbaric tribe, I~IIpr~-Gothic era (1140 AD to 1194 AD). The 'Notre Dame' cathedral in
'Goth'. 'Gothic Art' period is a very significant phase in the History of I ms I a famous ~uge structure of this period. The 13th century was a
Western Art. Though there are diverse views expressed on Gothic art, yet Ik II d of prospenty of the Gothic art. (1194 AD to 1208 AD) The
in fact, it is arguably a towering manifestation of the human mind. In terms I h.irtres Cathedral too was a remarkable edifice. .
of ingenuity and innovativeness this art was equivalent to the Classical
Greek Art. Gothic art is an absolutely evolved form of Christian art. Th I I'The big churches in the cities were known as Cathedrals . D'unng th e
!lIIIICera, the cathedral became a centre of political, religious and social
region of TIe-de-France was the prime centre of Gothic art. III:IVmen~. Th~ p~ace where the Bishop functioned from was called
The reason for the rise of Christian art in the form of Gothic art is th . I uhcdra', which IS where the word 'cathedral' may have been derived
economic progress of those times, when trade and commerce thrived. " Uti: . uch cathedrals had come to be regarded as motivational haunts of
Business was done through ocean and road routes built by the Romans. 1111 lilies.

Rivers too served as a means of communication. Earlier commodities were

exchanged in trade. Later though, money became a medium of exchang '. rchitecture
This added a new twist to trade-commerce. With money at their dispo ai,
'I'h~se cathedrals are far different from the earlier Christian art and
traders possessed legal and special rights. In order to be protected fr III
I .lIll~nestyl~ churches. These are largely vertical forms. Taller towers
bandits, and also for convenience and mutual support, traders form d
1111 I iinted spires are the characteristics of these cathedrals. The older
organizations. Therefore, whatever progress happened in art, was due to
11111 he~ were poorly lit inside and there would be darkness. The Gothic
these traders' organizations.
The perspective of regarding women underwent a slight change in lhl
"I III. dlsappr.oved of the dark ambience and hence they designed the
II III. 'Ion of windows
. at most places in the cathedral . The G 0thi c arc hi tects
society of that period; which indirectly affected art too. Women began 10 111111 conscious use of the theoretical principles of Geometry fo
be considered venerable. Jesus Christ's mother Mary came to be regarded I 1111' .tural .purposes. Through the perspective of proportionality th/
as an icon of women. Grand cathedrals called 'Notre Dame' (Our Lady 01 III to think of aes th'etics too. An open space with features ' ofY
Virgin Mary), came to be built in her reverence, in France and othvi «uhulutory ~ath, radiating design and roof balanced over pointed arches:
places. The trade organizations gave donations for the cathedral I. h was this polygonal structure, known as 'Chevet'. All cathedrals do
constructions, artistic and artisan works of the buildings that were ere ·Il·d ,I IIIV these features together. The cathedral 'Amiens' has a vast and
in cities. There were organizations formed by the artisans too, like tho 1'>1'1 IIIIIScourtyard, whereas in 'Chartres' and 'Notre D ame,'1 UIDlOOUS .
up by traders. These were literally universities which produced art allil
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86 / The History of Western Art
and large windows with colourful stained glass pictures are found. In I Ihl open space in the rear, near the circular walled apse. The entrance
Beauvais, a tall and impressive choir can be seen. I Ihl' .athedral is on the west side, and there are two more doors on the
ill Ill' the aisles too. The tall, pointed arches on the ground level, the

Chartres Cathedral 1I1,1I1l r pointed arches on the - middle pier and the windows on it; together
This edifice was built when Gothic art was a rage. The place where I a sense of the structure standing taller. Besides, it has turned out to
this cathedral was built, had been a destination of Christian pilgrimag , I 'I II' ful. The use of pointed arches has rendered the arches-supported
since ancient times. It is said there was a statue of Virgin Mary in a hili II vaulting to become increasingly perfect. The Romanesque
monastery here. A bishop named Fulbert is said to have erected a II 1111 -ct had made limited use of this method, which came to be the vital
Romanesque styled church in this place. In the period 1134 to 1170 AD, It II" -tcristics of Gothic architecture. The tent-like roofs built, using the
two towers were built apart from each other in front of the facade. In 1194, IIII'S wisely, by the Gothic architects look attractive and nuanced.
this church fell after getting caught in a devastating fire. There was an lilt dive use of the arched 'Flying Buttresses' has been made in the
insistence from across all the strata of society to rebuild a cathedral anew h,1Irr 'S cathedral. There are joint or mixed pillars balancing point arches
in the Gothic style. They donated, and even affectionately carried ston ' IIIII 111the congregation hall. The joint columns and the windows in them
blocks for its construction. The overwhelming enthusiasm and cooperation I a feeling of denseness to the cathedral walls.
of the citizens led to the accomplishment of rebuilding the cathedral in 1220
AD. Normally it takes many years to complete the construction of a Stained Glass Windows
cathedral, but the 'Chartres' cathedral, systematically built in a very short l'his is a distinctive feature of the Chartres cathedral and of the Gothic
span of time is an 1\ 1111'ture in whole. The colourful and charming light falling through
extremely magnificient 1111" windows, illuminates the atmosphere in the grey stone walled
work of art. Due to virtues 1IIII'dral.Where the light just reflects off the mosaic painting, it actually
of symmetry, aestheti . lilt IS straight into the cathedral through the stained-glass windows.
sculpture-decor, stained I 1\I I S of stained-glass are cut in required shapes. They were bound
glass windows; this l'l'lh r with lead bands, but since lead is soft and light, it was feared that
cathedral is the finest III may not hold the stained-glass painting made for big and huge
example of 13th century uulows. Therefore, later these paintings were joined with iron bands.
Gothic architecture. Th I lording to the shape of the windows, the design is created, as 'rose
layout plan of the Chartres 1111,11' motif is made for the circular 'Rose Window'. A similar large
cathedral is shaped like a 1111111 'd window graces the facade wall of the Chartres cathedral, whereas
Latin cross, with the length uulows on certain walls are adorned with embroidered motifs. Such
being more than the width. ulouunent is called 'Tracery'. In the post-Gothic era, windows of large
On either side of the h'lf) 's came to be used. Hence, the embroidered motif design became
congregation hall, there is 1"lll' intricate and extremely ornate. The vacant space of the motif design
an aisle each; with two ,I filled with various pieces of stained glass. Thus, aesthetic value was
aisles near the choir. 1111 k-d to the cathedral decoration.
Therefore, the ambulatory There are two huge towers on the facade of the Chartres cathedral,
path is two-fold. A hll to which the facade gets .ded into three vertical parts, which
polygonal portion was built 1111
tudes the middle portion: ree doors with windows having

88 I The History of Western Art The History of Western Art I 89

pointed arches. High above these windows, there is a circular window. AI IIh stone-ramparts instead of wooden. The prime resource of defence
the summit, on the festooned band there is series of reliefs known as the .ISalways the moat built around the fort. These moats had bridges which
i uuld be drawn back and forth according to the need. Above the moat
'Gallery of Kings'. The three doors are symbolically presented as
entrances of the heavenly 'Jerusalem'. The sculpture decoration above 111\'1 ' were walls with towers or bastions, and the bastions at the wall-
these three doors manifests the gist of preaching of Christianity. Over the III n crs were bigger. Furthermore, in fortress-like abodes built in open
right-side door, we see the symbolically depicted relief of the momenl II I .cs there were churches. In vacant portions in the centre of these
when Jesus enters the world in order to save it - whereas above the lell 1111 .tures, there would be a round or square-shaped tall stone-bastion. If
door, we have the sculpted image of Christ before his incarnation to human tlu- mcrny managed to barge in busting the rampart, then the bastion would
form. The facade roof of the Chartres cathedral is inclinedly shaped f I I the second line of defence from where one could put up a fight. An
water and snow to flow away. .unple of this that can be witne sed is the bastion of the 'Castle of
( 1,ISy' in France, built in 1230 AD. Wherever security was not a great
Other Cathedrals , 1111'rn, the structure would be designed more like a living house.
During the glorious period of Gothic art, of the cathedrals built in Reirns In the 14th century, after the discovery of gunpowder, hill-forts and
and Amiens, the layout plan of the cathedral at Reims was slightly like thai huts became redundant from the point of view of security. Thence, such
of the Chartres cathedral. The East side has been a little expanded, uuctures were transformed into palaces or huge mansions to live in.
because of the need of a larger space for ceremonies like the coronation. mdows were affixed to the walls of the rampart.
The unique feature of this cathedral is western side facade which is In France - private abodes, congregation halls, marketplaces, hospitals
adorned with nearly 530 statues, whereas Amien's striking feature is the md other charitable institutions, were built in the Gothic style.
height of the congregation hall that measures 42.5 metres.
Another remarkable example of the 13th and 14th century Gothic England
architecture is the cathedral 'Sainte Chapelle' in Paris, commissioned by Gothic architecture flourished in England too. Many Gothic cathedrals
King Louis IX, later canonized as St. Louis, and built during 1244 to 1247 IIIEngland, in the earlier period were like monasteries; hence they are seen
AD. Stained-glass windows of 4.5 metres width and 15 metres heighl hi have been built in spaces covered with dense foliage, and in areas of
pervade the cathedral walls; which makes it look like a grand glass ulitude. The architects of France shall
structure. The establishment of a stable Central Government in Franc' 1\main largely anonymous. But in
chiefly enabled the building of cathedrals on a large scale. I II)land, one gets to know of them. e.g.
The second half of the 14th century and the 15th century happened to lit famous 'Cathedral of Salisbury'. It
be the latter part of the Gothic art era. The main feature of the architectur ' as taken up for construction in 1220
of that period is the blazing-form styled motif work. Though the Gothic I , and completed after 40 years. In
architectural style manifests itself through cathedrals, yet it served to build ornparison to the cathedrals in France,
other types of structures too. lit 'n floor plan of the Salisbury's is
longated and narrow. Two transverse
Hill-Forts and Forts ulleries, one small and other big,
During the era of military regime, hill-forts were built at strategic uucrsect the long body. The part on the
positions. These were erected keeping in mind the regional and 1St is square-shaped and has no
geographical circumstances, as well as security arrangements. The uubulatory path; only windows. The big
crusaders involved in battles of the 12th to 13th centuries built hill-forts ·tlllery cuts across the congregation hall.

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On the upper side, there's a decorated square tower.
Since it did not snow much in ItaJy, there was no need for tall and
Germany 1\ 'lining roofs, which is why the rooftop are flat. The bell towers, known
Gothic art influenced German architecture too. Nevertheless, th I . "ampanile' in Italy were built a free-standing structures, hence the
practice of using circular arches of the Romanesque style continued here, IIIl d for building towers on the facade wall, like the French cathedrals
because the people here liked them. The St. Elizabeth's church at Marbur dllil in Gothic style was not felt. The facade would be ornately designed
is distinctive in that it has semi-circular arches. It's a Hall church, which 11111 the roof over the aisles were filled with adornment. The Church of San

happens to be an excellent example of the Gothic style. In this kind of I r.rnc sco at Assisi is an iconic edifice of Gothic art in Italy. Being two-
architecture, the height of the aisles (which is commonly lower than the IIIIIlr d, the walls in the interior are adorned with frescoes of incidents in
nave) was raised slightly higher than the height of the nave. The height of rilll Francis's life.
the arches atop the pier and the walls of the aisles were enhanced. Due to I uring the Gothic Age, many wonderful structures were built in Italy.
this typical design, the nave appears like an extended hall. Due to th I II\('of them was the 'Public Hall'. A very famous structure, to cite, is the
levelling of the heights of the nave and the aisles, the need for having th IHII1Ciihall at Florence, known as the 'Palazzo Vecchio' (old royal
mutually supportive 'flying buttresses' on the outer wall of the cathedral I' rI.1.c), built in 1255 AD. It looks like a fortress and has 94-metre-high
was not felt. The 'Splayed Doorways' seen on the facade of the French III cr. Windows and balconies having tracery of embroidery motifs is a
cathedrals are absent here. On the west side of this structure, above the I' -ial of the Italian architecture.
entrance door, there is a tower. Due to such aforementioned uniquene s,
the entrance door of the Hall Church captures one's imagination. Spain
l'he architecture in Spain was influenced by Gothic art and
Netherlands II hit cture. But the style having local features was popular. The
The architecture here was influenced by the art genres of the I nificant cathedrals in Spain during the Gothic era were those of
neighbouring regions. The Antwerp cathedral in Belgium is famous, for its , u.muda, Toledo and Valencia.
seven aisles. Also, the Town Hall, in Middleburg is a remarkable structur '
built in the Gothic style. Sculpture
III the Gothic period, the facade of the cathedral, especially the
I.u"way or porch, was marked with sculpture. In the beginning of the
Gothic art had been ushered in Italy very long ago. But the creative '"lthic period the porch would be within walls. With time, the porch was
tenets of Gothic architecture had not been applied completely then. There IIlIlItoutside the wall with a ceiling above it. This external porch was again
are two reasons that are understood to have restricted the Gothic style not I II" lied with a variety of round sculptures. These would be essentially in
totally merging with the Italian: 1) Italy's climate is very hot. Therefore, the prll.lI forms initially, gradually manifesting more naturally. In the 13th
structure constructed had to suit the weather conditions. The walls were utury, this style was perfected. A masterpiece example is the 'Portal of
thick and doorways small, hence the internal temperatures remained co I. till Virgin' porch of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. In this sculpture
Contrary to this, due to a greater need of sunlight in Northern Europe, larg I 11111, one can see a manifestation of emotions and proportionality rolled
stained-glass windows were built in the structures. 2) The impact of I"toone. In many cathedrals, the statue of Jesus Christ would be positioned
classical architecture in Italy was so immense, that it had not been possibl II uch a place that would attract the devoted audience.
to be freed of it.
On the countenance of Christ's statue at Amiens, there is calm.
uuplicity is the essence of this portrait-sculpture. In one hand, he holds a

92/ The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art / 93
book of the path of life, and the other is in able ing gesture. His head his Along with the psalms, thi book had calendars for following the
held high and his face reveals an ineffable mix of emotions. According to religious festivals and rites. They were an attractive part of these books.
the symbolism of Gothic sculpture, there are form of a lion and a fire- Every month had an independent page for itself. On the upper portion of
emitting serpent. They are represented here as symbols of evil. In this the page, dates were written in a semi-circle and there would be a scene
same cathedral, there is a statue of Mary which is a spectacular creation. describing the month's significance. In the background of these scenes,
She holds infant Jesus, and has a smile and cheerfulness on her face. there would be pictures of forts built by kings. From the miniature paintings
in the book, we get an idea of the practices and customs of that period.
During this phase, the proportion of Romane que-styled column-
capitals declined considerably. Delicate, engraved and imaginative Italian Painting
adornment of Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Vines gained prominence. The 14th
In the waning part of the 13th century, as in France, innovative
century ties between sculpture and architecture began to loosen and the
construction got a boost even in Italy. Italian architects and sculptors
statues that had been fastened to the pillars began to be erected freely, on
adopted the Gothic method and ultimately around 1330 AD, it affected the
their own. The engraving of the sculptures came to represent symbolism.
painting scenario as well. During the Gothic period, painting had initially
In the 15th century, during the post Gothic era, Claus Sluter was a taken a back seat. Later though, the situation brightened. 'Duccio' and
famous sculpture. He brought in a new vitality in the field of sculpture. His 'Simone Martini' represented the Sienna School.
work 'Well of Moses' is famous for its vigour and liveliness.
Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255 to 1319)
Art Duccio was a painter of the latter
Due to the inner walls of the arch, and the vaults, largely crowding the part of the 13th century to the former
Gothic structures, we do not find spaciously big walls. The open spaces or half of the fourteenth. He could not
windows were beautified with stained glass painting. This left no scope for shake off the impact of Byzantine art
mosaic or fresco creations, and obviously the painters applied their skills on him. One of his paintings adorns the
for book-designing. 'Santa Maria Novella' church. This
During the Gothic era, book-designing art had picked up speed. Paris piece of art reveals the Byzantine
city became the major centres for book production and book-designing. influence. Of the fascinating works
The psalms of the Old Testament and the original hymn series were done by him, the painting 'Christ
written calligraphically on parchments. Most commonly such books were entering Jerusalem' is quite famous.
written for the upper-class of the society. The book designing art reached One witnessed 'never seen
its zenith in the 13th century. The paintings drawn during this period to before' elements in this piece. The
decorate the books were quite elegant. There was a certain way to draw human forms seem dramatic. There is
pictures. The way statues were erected in comers of the cathedrals, an illusion of three-dimension created
human figures were depicted with the backdrop of architectural features. in this picture. The architecture in it has
The compilation ofSt. Louis' hymns (1256 AD) is a fine example of Gothic been used to create appropriate form.
era book-designing. The human figures drawn for this book are tall, In the rectangular frame of this
delicate, and lean, and they are neatly depicted in the arches. On the upper painting, diagonal movement has been
side of arches, circular windows adorned with tracery of embroidery achieved by blocking architectural
design are rendered. structures in the four comers. The

The History of Western Art I 95

94 I The History of Western Art
walls on both sides of the path and the path leading into the village goes his works, creating an illusion f spa and v luminous forms. He attached
through the boundary, and the road is bordered with architecture, with the more importance to figures than th ar hitecture. Hence the group of
remaining space full of human forms. Hence, the whole painting has forms in his works are found to cr ate a s rt of impre sive influence. Due
achieved a certain togetherness of all element in it, in the way of to the phantasm of reality brought about in the works, painting proved to be
composition. a bit more impactful than sculpture in that period, and hence Giotto is
considered to be an epoch-maker of the m dern age of Western art. As
Giotto (1266/67 to 1337 AD) we increasingly engage in studyin his works, we realize the aesthetical
. He was a painter of the latter half of the Gothic period. He is known to aspect in them .
have been born in a family of farmers. It is said that, he, as a child, used to His famous fresco 'Christ enterin t Jerusalem' shows the peaceful
draw life-like drawings of everything that he saw. A contemporary painter Jesus in a procession, and through an th r w rk. 'Lamentation', he evokes
is said to have seen this, and referred Giotto to Cimabue, a renowned feelings of sadness and compa ion. Du t the figures hovering around
Italian painter of those times, to receive further art education. Here, Giotto Christ, a focal point of the picture is created.
learnt to whip, mix colours, clean brushes, and the classical techniques of It is difficult to find out the origin f iouo's simple and unique art, as
painting. Giotto was a sharp student and he picked up the nuances of art his works are found to have a Fl rentine background, and a Greek
very fast. He used to accurately spot the facial expressions, easily technique. He also possessed the Byzantine skills. He had also studied the
rendering the expressions of grief, joy, love. Giotto had a very dramatic initial Christian art and earlier Roman murals. lassical and Italian
style of painting. His works are seen to have a stamp of Greek methods. sculptures too are seen to have impacted him. Nevertheless, inspite of
He later went on to become an excellent mural painter. coming in contact with all art, he
His fabulous decorative works in the Arena Chapel at Padua can be developed an independent style of
seen to be in very good condition till date. The frescoes depict the lives of his own. Therefore, a revival of
Virgin Mary and Christ. Giotto's painting style was simplistic. A proper Christian is found to have come
association of architecture, landscape and human figures is found in his about. Giotto, being the only
works. Giotto's frescoes have that embossed effect brought about by epoch-making painter in History,
conscious use of colours, and low-intensity of colours used at specific has a mammoth following.
places. His works make one feel that he / she is a part of his picture. It
Giotto's most beautiful works
makes us wonder how an artist of
survive in Padua's Scrovegni
that period could have brought
Chapel in excellent condition. A
about to create such a feeling in his
Paduan money-lender named
works. While looking at his work, Enrico Scrovegni in 1305 AD
the viewer's attention is drawn
commissioned him to produce
inadvertently towards the lower works of the lives of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. Through these model
part of the painting, creating an frescoes, he very effectively conveys the sentiments of the characters in
illusion that we are standing on the
same ground. Giotto must have
An understanding of emotions in the heart and the proficiency required
been the first painter to affect the
to express them: both being in possession of Giotto, the paintings he
viewer in this way. He attempted to
produced were decidedly superior and proved him to be a leading artist. He
produce a three-dimensionality in

96 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 97

was showered with praise, respect and fame. He was not only a great
painter; but also, a sculptor, poet, musician and architect. The citizens of
Florence requested him to come and stay in their city to avail of his skills.
This was the greatest tribute paid to him. He was honoured as the city's Period of Awakening: Age of Renaissance
architect and entrusted the responsibility of building a campanile and
cantonment. This simply designed campanile is till date considered to be 1400 to 1600 AD
the most distinguished bell towers of the world. When he died at the age of
60, people from all strata of the society attended his funeral; such was his
In the Middle Age, Christianity had the whole of Europe in its firm grip.
fan following.
Religious institutions had become p w rful and art was increasingly being
During and after Giotto, the method of applying colour on wet plaster used to promote religion. Crusade ab unded in this age.
(now known as fresco) prevailed nearly for two centuries. This technique
The artists gradually began 10 ing interest in the manifestation of art,
involves the mixing of pigment powder with water, and blending it with the
driven by ethical rules of religion; they began to feel a sense of freedom,
plaster mixture through a chemical process. The colour was applied before
they realized that Christianity and Western culture were not everything and
the plaster went dry. These colours would look dark while the plaster was
other cultures too had a lot to offer. The glory of the ancient culture was
wet, and turned mild after drying. This technique of painting was
consciously: understood and the art, literatur ,philo ophy of the Greeks and
consciously dwelled upon during the Gothic era. Cennino Cennini, the
Romans were readopted. An overwhelming wave of restoring ancient
Italian painter has documented the information of the technical aspects of
culture swept over the well-educated world. Thi was the wave of the
Meanwhile, people's taste began to differ. They began to prefer neat
This ideological Renaissance led to the gradual loosening of the grip of
and clean artworks over big ones. Around this time, itself, the artists began
the Christian institutions over the society. ducation had achieved a fair
to yearn for another aspect. Observing nature closely and using it in their
amount of outreach in the latter part of the Middle Age. In the knowledge
drawings. They began to always bear a sketch diary on their person. This
and various fields, new movements had emerged. New winds were
led to the progress of painting as an independent art, and acquired a
blowing even in fields of literature and art. There was in all an increas~ in
prominent position in the future.
analytical and research tendencies. Man was in the process of attemptmg
to free himself from the shackles of super tition and tradition. The idea that
all the tenets of life needed to be looked at through the prism of humans had
taken root. This ideological revolution that took place in the 15th century in
the Western world is known as 'Renaissance'; meaning 'rebirth': a period
of revival of the classical art.
The veneration felt for the ancient culture, art and education was being
expressed during this period. Man needed to ha~e the of
conducting new experiments and independently rediscovering his own
image. He was striving for it. Due to the many discoveries made during ~is
era the speed of ideological revolution increased. The process of taking
prints by engraving on metal sheets had achieved efficiency and the art ?f
printing technology came into existence. Printrnaking was discovered m

98 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 99

that the Greek and Roman styl s one m r held their influence. The
1454 AD. This art flourished along with 'painting' and is a unique feature Renaissance in art did not happ n all f a sudden. It had started forming
of the age of Renaissance. roots right from the 13th century. nly it b ame apparent after the 14th
Acquiring mastery over light and shade, attempt began to be made to century. The phases in the art practices f .ouo, Masaccio, Michelangelo,
create paintings that provided an illusion of volume and roundness, and art etc. are worth studying. Arti t lik Leonard da Vinci and Michelangelo
was revived right from its fundamentals. That is why the period came to be inspired the others. Art is seen to hav b en greatly affected by religion,
famous as the age of Renaissance. politics, lessons of humanity, and the patrons in society.
International trade became possible, thanks to this age. The exchange
of' art followed suit. The works of artists from nations like Hoiland, Inspiration from Religiou Theme
Germany, Italy, France, England, etc. were for everyone to behold. The Though there was a revoluti nary transf rmation in the year 1517 in
indulgence in themes like 'Madonna and the child' was given up and religious ideologies, many paintings wer pr duced on religious themes in
painting portraits of the common man became a regular engagement of the the age of Renaissance. The Sistin hap I eiling by Michelangelo,
artists. The face of the model became a favourite and came to be soon Raphael's many works of Madonna" ur r's W odcuts: these works
looked upon an ideal of aesthetics. The Greeks had held such a perspective provide a testimony to this fact. The ideologies f the church and the
during the classical age, and the Romans too had indulged in painting all the painters' individuality is more or less Iclt in th paintings. The architecture
facial nuances. During the interim phase, i.e. in the Middle Age, only and the sculpture of the Renais ance p riod als remained based on
matters of religion had been handled in paintings, individual portraiture had religious foundation. Barring the St. Pet r's chur h, the other churches
almost disappeared, and in its place, artists painted only forms and faces were designed in the Gothic style. The large difice were mostly
that provided an indication of divine prowess. Although, during the mausoleums, because the corpses of Christian priests were rested in the
Renaissance, there was a resurgence of portraiture. The affluent and the churches.
patrons commissioned their own portraits and tried to immortalize
themselves by virtue of their paintings. This gave encouragement to the Patrons
artists. During the Renaissance period, a great demand for art was on the
The erstwhile practice of applying glittering and flat colours in increase. Florence was a major centre of art. The prominent patrons of this
watercolour paintings was replaced by realistic colour application. Many period hailed from this city. The biggest patr n from 1400 to 1743 AD was
painters took to mixing oil or yolk with pigment powder, and used these the Medici Family. They encouraged art , history and education. Their
colour media for painting. The Flemish painter 'John van Eyck' clearly favourites were Botticelli, Michelangelo. Moreover, this family set up a
achieved unprecedented success in the oil medium. university to promote the study of ancient knowledge and arts.
The oil medium being an opaque colours one, the artists could easily
add a layer of one colour over the other. Ever since, the Flemish painters
An Artist's Standing in Society
began freely composing and applying colours. With the help of colours, the The financial standing of the Italian artist in the 15th century was
artists began to show delicately the details in the painting too. Some of satisfactory, and it improved considerably at the end ofthis century and the
these works went to Italy, and inspired the artists there too. beginning of 16th century. The wealth status of painters such as Leonardo,
Raphael and Titian was fairly high. Michelangelo's was good enough to
The background of the Italian civilization brought about the Italian
forego the commission receivable for the St. Peters' assignment. The
Renaissance in art. This was the beginning of the 15th century. Art
evolved into various genres, leading to artists forming their own styles. The artists did not consider it e h to just paint or chisel. They also dared to
paintings of the 15th century have a separate identity, where it is certain , O.f ~
-- "'..0
~ The History of Western Art / 101
100 / The History of Western Art
dwell in the world of science and engineering. For example; Brunelleschi The medium of painting wa opaqu
was not only famous as a sculptor, but had earned himself a name as an so it became easier to apply thi k
architect. It was he who resolved the engineering problems of the layer and show texture on it. Th
cathedral dome at Florence. paintings began to look natural.
In the 15th century, in the realm of Italian paintings, we come across And yet, the strokes in Jan Van
four kinds of dispositions, which are seen to have influenced the painters of Eyck's paintings were textured,
that period. When a new disposition arises, it does not necessarily mean broad and angled. With a study f
that the old ones vanish altogether. Many a times, these old tendencies the anatomy, he achieved
combine with the new, or impacted by the new, undergo a change. The unparalleled success in properly
dispositions found in the field of paintings are as follows: exhibiting proportionate human
• Gothic tendencies figures, their gestures and costume .
He brought in an altogether different
• The tendency of presenting the art theme on a grand scale
kind of arrangement in the
• Religious and devotional tendencies compositional method of painting.
• Innovative tendency bearing the influence of scientific knowledge There was the decorative part but he
Massachio's painting possesses the tendency to present the subject in made it look very simple. Hi
a mega form, whereas in the painting created by Fra' Fiiippo Lippii, compositions were the utmost in their completion and consistency. The
Botticelli, we see largely, manifestation of religious and devotional feelings. treatment of light and shade in his painting, 'Madonna of Canon' may not
The scientific hold on Uccello, Signorelli is felt through their works. About be that significant, but there is an unmi takable emphasis on 'linear
1400 to 1500 AD, the Italian painters, making use of the science of perspective'. Rather than the ambience, the depiction has been stressed
anatomy, perspective; conducting conscious experiments in matters of upon largely.
composition, space; laid the foundation for modem painting. Paintings such as, 'The Man in Red Turban', 'Man with Pinks',
'Giovanni and His Bride' are remarkable. It can be said that this is where
Jan Van Eyck (1395 to 1441 AD) the age of the 'realistic' genre of painting tarted.
This painter from Netherlands applied Gesso to an oak-wood board The Flemish painters seem to have tried to depict Madonna as
and made use of it for oil paintings. It was the era where frescoes were beautiful, but mostly serene, and always with the royal pomp. Raphael
also being painted. But due to the effects of changing weather, moisture, could not present it as effectively. The Italian painters had basically gained
on these paintings, this genre of art began to lag behind. Jan van Eyck was to inherit the legacy of the classical type aesthetics, and hence the
successful in discovering the oil painting method. The painters of the 14th Madonna depicted in their paintings has found acceptance all over the
century tried to use oil for colours. But they could not achieve the kind of world, which cannot be denied even in today's age.
success they intended. John van Eyck first began to paint in the Oil
Tempera technique. Therefore, he can unobjectionably be called 'the Masaccio (1401 to 1428 AD)
father of the technique of oil painting'. He was a Florentine painter, who painted fresco murals. He blurred
This technique prevailed till the times of the painter 'Rubens', who the outlines of the figures in his fresco so that they gel in with the
improvised and brought the current method into existence. In this oil background; made use of light and shade to create contrast. The kind of
technique, more stress was laid on detailed painting with natural pigments. work produced by Giotto in the 14th century was reproduced by Masaccio

102 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 10.
in the 15th, providing the painting genre an altogether different turn. The Sandro Botticelli (1445 to 1510 AD)
frescoes he executed inspired the painters of the earlier period of the He was a prominent Italian painter f the Early Renaissance. He is
Renaissance. This new way imitated Giotto's realistic style and took it to recognized as a very capable artist who had great control over linear
the next level. It brought in consistency in the depiction of figures and rhythm. He apprenticed under Fra' ilipp Lipi. Botticelli was asked to
nature. The far-off forms in the painting began to be shown in blurred fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel when it was newly completed. More
colours. Masaccio maintained his speciality with this technique. There was than anything else, he is famous for hi tempera works. A rather sensitive
a kind of liveliness that could be seen in his paintings brought about by the painter, he was very well aware of how to draw beautiful and proportional
faces, expressions and comfortably fitting clothes. This led to him being forms.
regarded as a role model of art in Italy. His famous frescos are 'The
In his 'The Portrait of a Youth', there is a silent expression on the
Tribute Money', 'Adam and Eve', 'Madonna and Child with Four Angels'.
subject's face. A sad and thoughtful face with a soft, feminine expression
In 'The Tribute Money' fresco, owing to the sky revealed in the is shown here. Probably, this face doe not belong to any particular
background of the painting, the horizon looks far away, and so does the individual, but possibly is some imaginary ideal and surreal countenance.
vanishing lane. Masaccio had learnt how to draw the focus of the viewer Certain very remarkable features in hi paintings constitute a nice chin,
on the painting through the overlapping of figures, and the merging of them cuddly cheeks and dense hair braids, lean arms and, slim but fleshy-at-the-
into the background. To bring in an aerial perspective in the painting and to joints-fingers, etc.
create a certain ambience - Masaccio experiments variably as he applies a
In the painting 'Adoration of the Magi', we see the expression of
smoky, bluish hue to the mountains, trees in it.
compassion and love. This picture features his patron, Cosimo de Medici's
His paintings create an illusion of: human forms being soft, glossy and portrait as Magi.
a mild breeze blowing. Through his fresco of 'The Expulsion' depicting
In 'Primavera', also known as 'Allegory of Spring', a large tempera
Adam and Eve, he showed the painters after him how to create allegorical,
painting on panel, we see rose flower blooming all over, revealing the
creative paintings. This visual shows human figures to be powerful and
goddess of wealth and love, Venus.
fairly proportional, yet in pallid and soiled colours. The emotions that their
faces expressed was felt through every part of their body. The kind of
human forms that were seen in Masaccio's works further evolved through
Michelangelo later.

104 I The History of Western Art The History of Western Art I 105
In the painting, 'Madonna of the Magnificat', the eye of the viewer the 'High Renaissance Period'. The iconic painters during this time were-
roves from one part to the other. The forms in it are weaved with one Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo of Italy, and Titian, Tintoretto,
another complementarily. The hair of the women seems to blend naturally etc. from Venice.
in their stoles. The lowered gaze of the Virgin Mary, i.e. Madonna, Each of these painters had maintained their uniqueness, yet there were
suggests that she may be lost in thoughts. certain normal traits common to everyone' tyle, which are as follows:
The painting, 'The Birth of Venus' may probably have been inspired
by a poem by Botticelli' s Florentine contemporary, Angelo Poliziano. In
• The minor details were replaced by broad approach and simplicity.
depiction of subjects in classical mythology, one had never seen such huge
For instance, the creases of clothe were bigger and substantial.
female forms in the nude before this. The illusion of breeze, due to Venus's
blowing hair in this painting, is remarkable. This was an eye-catching • The form of human figure became solid and unrestrainedly
novelty in the paintings of the Renaissance. expressive.
• Due to the space shown in the painting, the illusion of distance was
Fine Art through Woodcut created.
A lot of printed paintings for books were produced through the • The depiction of light and hade created a feeling of three-
woodcut medium. The art of woodcut printing emerged around 1470 AD. dimensionality .
The handwritten and painted books or manuscripts came to be regarded as
• The facial expressions were shown with nuance and hence it
natural, whereas the printed ones artificial. There was rivalry between
became possible to register emotion .
these two types; yet it was possible to easily make out the differences
between them.
Frenchman Nicolas Jenson designed the Roman lettering as we know Leonardo da Vinci (1452 to 1519 AD)
it now and has been used in books ever since. The books in Florence are
He was born in the hill-town of Venice in the Republic of Florence, on
found to be printed in black over clean white paper. There used to be a
15th April 1452. He was educated under the famous painter and sculptor
small decorative border designed on the papers. The white design over the
Verrocchio. He was later sent to Milan, to meet the Duke. He worked for
black border looked prominent, which gave the printed paper a unique
the most part of his earlier life here, and later had to flee Milan for Venice,
beauty. The first letter of the written text was large and bold, with design
where he was employed as a military architect and engineer.
around it. Under the border stripe, in the centre, there used to be a design
of a shield. To provide a get-up to the paper, the border on all its four sides Leonardo apart from being the Renaissance man, was also a magician,
was made of thick and thin width. Designs of decoration, leaves & flowers scientist, engineer and researcher; in short, a polymath. His applied logic
are the characteristic elements of the Renaissance period. Although consistently. He is seen to have made constant notes and drawings too,
several books of such types have been discovered, the names of the artists where he has sketched even the many finer things of human life. He has
are largely anonymous. The artwork in these books is linear. also studied: the growing foetus in the womb with diagrams and notes, the
scientific causes of oceanic waves and currents, astronomy;
The ffigb Renaissance Period conceptualized space ships, aeroplanes, weapons, missiles, armoured
fighting vehicles, etc. with in-depth notes and sketches. He is the first
In the Earlier Renaissance period, Botticelli was the last prominent
researcher to have studied biology from fossils (ichnology). Even before
painter. The period between 1500 and 1550 AD of the Renaissance is
Galileo invented the telescope, Leonardo had found out that the earth
considered to be the best from the point of view of art produced. It is called
revolves round itself and around the sun, and there are 'n' number of such

106 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 107
heavenly bodies revolving and rotating in the universe. Having a the middle one, revealing the pr diction t veryone, with lowered .eyes.
researcher's tendency, he would often leave a painting incomplete, if he ith id f him there ar six disciple Leonardo has proficiently
O n ei er sr eo, .'
would discover and come across something that would arouse his curiosity. shown the character-revealing e pr ssi ns of each of them; James ~eems
We thus find many of his paintings in an incomplete condition. Due to his shocked with a gaping mouth, th cver-d ubtful Th~mas has r~sed .a
explorative research again, we see a combination of pure technicality and questioning finger, the gullible Philips i in tear a he IS seen fol~mg his
emotions. He was renowned as a painter of prominence due to the depth hands in an emotional gesture. All this ha been wonderfully depI~ted by
and drawing in his pictures. Known also for his ability to draw with both his Leonardo. A reputed painter i kn wn to have two fundamental aims: to
hands, he used his left hand more often. draw human figures and reveal their s ul . The latter part has to be brought
His painting, 'Madonna of the Rocks' which he completed in 1482, about through the eyes and physical movements of the ~gur~s. On~ more
matches the works by 16th century painters. The rocks and the trees- feature of this painting is - all the lines leading to the honzon, mclu~mg ~e
ones of the background pas thr ugh Christ, and hence the viewer s
foliage in Leonardo's paintings seem to have been rendered studiously.
The lines in it are not bold, they seem to merge with the background and attention is drawn to him.
are rendered softly. He proved that the parts of the body that appear His other super-famous painting 1. that of 'Mona Lisa'.
nearer, if shown with the application of light and shade, looks more
M o na Lisa's smile in this picture has driven the world mad t~ough
effective. He believed that the body of children ought to be cuddly and their .' Th ki d of
ages. Copious stuff has been written on thi ma ter piece. . e n had
expressions childish. The hand of Madonna in thi painting gives an illusion womanly beauty that was rendered by Le nardo through this opus .
of three-dimension. never before been manifested during that era. Mona Lisa is shown devoid
The painting, 'The Last Supper' of Christ's last meal with his disciples, of any ornament on her person. She' wearing a not colourful, rath~r dark
in the Santa Maria church is a world-renowned mural by Leonardo. He attire. Moreover, there is no display of the wild side ~f a woman: ~stead
took three years (1495 to 1498 AD) to complete it. During this meal, Jesus there is a simple depiction of a woman with a mild srrule, pursed lips, who
Christ had prohecied that he would be betrayed by one of them, which had captures the viewer's heart with a
caused a great deal of anxiety among the disciples having supper with him. mere gaze. Her mystic persona has a
Its composition is noteworthy. Leonardo has used symmetry here. We suitable background rendered. Some
see three windows in the centre of the picture, with Jesus Christ in front of experts opine, that the composition of
the rocks shown there reveal
Leonardo's study of the geological
sciences. All put together - the
concentration of light, manifestation
of the graceful smile, the illusion of
distance in the atmosphere - the e
elements depict the knowledgeable
awareness of character and
environment. This portrait is said to be
of the third wife of Francesco del
Giocondo, which took about three
years for completion. This may not be
her replica, but it has manifested itself

The History of Western Art I 109

108 I The History of We tern Art
through the imaginative realm of Leonardo da Vinci. mournful mother Mary sitting with th d 'ad
Christ on her lap.
Leonardo is known to have completed very few of his works, but the
It is currently in the St. P t r's Basil i 'a.
preparatory sketches for these are in thousands. It looks like he may more
oft~n n.ot have been able to derive the fulfilment of completing his works It is carved out of a large block 01 .arruru
which 1S why many of his paintings are without his signature. ' marble. It is 5 feet, 9 inches in h i iht. 'I his is
the only sculpture on which w s hIS
. ~s l~st days were spent peacefully in France. He had moved there on
complete signature. In thi statu w s .
being invited by King Francis I. He suffered an attack of paralysis towards
Mary has a dejected look on her fa' • hut
the' end and breathed his last on the 2nd May 1519.
we also see a compensatory pride for h 'r
son over his self-sacrifice for th w llur 01
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 to 1564 AD)
the world. She has no tears as she '.\1, 'S
He ~as born in a village known as Caprese, that lies in the centre of wistfully at his still body. She s 'ms to
It~y. His father was a judicial administrator there. At the time when gesture with her palm outwards, at the
MIchelangelo was a child, his father may have thought the former would savagery of the murderers. Jesus Ii s with
become a banker on~ day. His mother died when he was only six. He is not virtually no clothes on him. His bar' fa"
known to have received love or compassion by any woman till he was 60 seems to look upwards. All th
~ears old. As a child, he was seen consistently drawing. He was not at all characteristics of Michelangelo' work are
interested in schooling. He was scolded often for scribbling on walls. He manifested in this masterpiece. He b licvcd
~as known to have been physically weak since childhood. His nose was emotions are expressed not just through th face, but through all parts of
disfigured when he was struck in a fight with a pupil during his boyhood the body, which is evident from thi s ulptur . While carving the form of
stint of working with a the dead Christ, he had actually u ed a corps model. Therefore, we
sculptor. This nasal witness a life-like replica of frozen bl d v ins of a dead body in this work.
deformity remained Proportionality, all minute details of th b dy, pleat and creases of the
lifelong. Michelangelo attire, tendons of the limbs, the pity n Mary's face and her helpless
went on to become a expression - all these features led to this statue b oming a world-famous
misanthrope, with a
perennial misgiving
At the age of 26, when he wa in lorence, Michelangelo built a
about humans that
handsome and huge idol of 'David', carved out of marble.
lasted his lifetime.
The achievements of the sculptor Mi helangelo had reached the Pope
It ought to be said
Julius II. He summoned Michelangelo to erect forty full-sized idols of his.
that his true calling
This deal did not materialize for some reason. Later on, when a mega plan
was 'sculpture', but
to paint murals in the Sistine Chapel was laid out, the Pope was sure that it
providentially he
could be done by no one other than Michelangelo, and he personally took it
became a painter. At
upon him to invite the sculptor to take upon this mammoth work. Sistine
the age of 23, he
Chapel is a sprawling edifice of 600 sq. yard. It had a roof at a height of
sculpted 'Pieta (Pity),
24 metres. It required scaffoldings to work at such a height, and these
the tatue of a

The History of Western Art / III

110 / The History of Western Art
were made by Michelangelo himself, without any delegation, because he Raphael (1483 to 1520 AD)
seemed to have lost trust in the whole humankind. He locked the doors of He was born in the idyllic villa) of Urbino in 1483, and having been
the Chapel inwards for four years (1504 to 1508 AD). raised in the proximity of such natur , he had experienced it's pristine
Only the guy who mixed the paints, and sometimes, the Pope were splendour in all its glory. His Iath 'r iovanni was a painter, from whom he
allowed inside. Michelangelo paid more attention to portray religious learnt the fundamentals of painting. lie worshipped the pure natural
themes. He worked day and night, lying supine on the scaffolding, and surroundings all his life through his art. Raphael's fame as a painter was
created a kind of different heaven. Later, this affected his sight too. He not restricted to just his era, but is celebrated even today. His paintings of
p~nted frescoes creating divisions in the ceiling vault according to the Madonna are known to the world.
architecture. This wall was 41 metres long, 13 metres wide. He painted His life as an artist, can be lassificd into three phases:
stories from the Bible's, Book of Genesis with the three parts, namely;
• During the period 1483 t 1504, he lived a an apprentice with the
Creation of Earth, Creation of humankind, and their downfall; Noah's tale,
painter Perugino. Raphael's painting during this era are influenced
etc. There are said to be altogether 340 human figures in these frescoes;
largely by his works.
mostly in the nude. They are all powerfully portrayed and lively. Doing
most of this grand project himself, he would keep on trying till he got it right, • In the period 1504 to 1508, he lived in I rence, from where his life
many a times removing and starting afresh from reapplying the plaster. took a different turn. After painting and studying imitations of the
And all this was done in candle-lit circumstances. Sistine Chapel is an works of Masaccio and Leonard da Vinci, he developed an
unprecedented work of heaven created by an artist. Michelangelo spent independent style of his own. The painting 'Saint George and the
the last 30 years of his life in Rome. Dragon', 'Madonna of the Chair' bIng to this phase.

'Holy Family' is a famous tondo (circular painting) created by him. It • The third phase is when he started working independently. He
has a uniquely strange composition. Due to its linear composition, a kind of came into the limelight; due to
weaving of lines has been brought about. Very difficult movements have the Ires coes; the portraits of
been attempted to be shown in a very limited space. The child form of , istine Madonna Julius' and
Christ and posture are done excellently, his eyes are shown to have an 'Le X'.
introspective expression. The portrayal of nude men in the background Raphael established for the
seems unnecessary. They seem to have no relevance to the theme. fir t the genre of portraiture, by
A fresco which he painted, when he was in his 64th year, on the altar painting life-like pictures of
of the Sistine Chapel is the 'Last Judgement'. It took nine years for him to people who sat as models. He
paint this. The fresco's depiction is as follows: 'Half of the mankind are studied the methods of
consigned to heaven, with their faces exhibit a curiosity to behold the Lord, Leonardo, Donatello and
and those being sent to hell are hiding their faces while the devil is taking Michelangelo very closely. He
them in a boat.' The expressions on the faces of all the characters are did not copy anyone; he took the
perfect. be t from all and created his
own unique style.
Michelangelo later on designed the outline of the St. Peter's Basilica,
His paintings of the
proving that he was an able architect too. At the age of 89, he saw the
completion of the Basilica and passed away in the year 1564. Madonna were the talk of the

112 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 113

Raphael's Madonna or the Virgin Mary looked ditto like a real woman. 37th year, in the process of painting hi last work, 'Transfiguration'
Her lively eyes reveal the expression of motherhood. She has cuddled the breathed his last. Raphael in this la t beautiful work, was painting a Christ
'Infant Jesus', who in turn holds her tight. The manifestation of fondness, with a crown of thorns on Earth, heading to heaven to wear the crown
that motherly attachment, the infant's innocence, had never been so being offered by God. This painting remained incomplete.
effectively depicted with a painter's brush. The painting was immensely
appreciated, and people from all over began queuing to get such paintings Titian Vecelli (1488 to 1576 AD)
done from him. Titian was born in a picturesque village named Pieve di Cadore. His
The paintings commissioned for churches till then were entirely father was a distinguished councillor, soldier and Titian's relatives, his
different. The figures in the Byzantine paintings of the churches looked like grandfather were notary lawyer . The economic conditions at home may
dolls. Their popping eyes lacked expression; limbs looked wooden; folds not have seen him go to school, but his father sent him to an uncle in Venice
looked unnatural as they were rendered in an ordered manner; a halo to serve as an apprentice under a painter. It is from here that he began to
shined behind or the sky looked golden. It seemed as if the figures were not acquire fame. He later trained with a mosaicist for carving and colour
human, but gods of an artificial world. The paintings were always devoid of application, to be further transferred to learn from an excellent teacher,
light and shade. This Byzantine styled synthetic representation was Giovanni Bellini. He came to be renowned as a foremost painter of
customary, and it changed during this era. Venice. He was commissioned to do a 23' x 12' in a church. The large
The 'Sistine Madonna' is considered to be the finest portrait painting. figures and superb colour scheme made many people take note of him. But
He depicted the Christian religiosity, philosophy, justice, history, arts, etc. in this never affected him enough to forget his village roots; the village
his paintings. 'The School of Athens' among these is a seminal work of art appearing as a recurrent part of hi paintings. He is considered the leading
by Raphael. In this fresco, he has epitomized through the figures and figure of the Venetian School. He was a painter of Realism and Idealism.
elements, the evolution of all arts and sciences during the Greek era. The He is seen to have achieved a fine blend of poetry and drama through form
backdrop ambience is immense in this painting. In the centre, Plato and and colours.
Aristotle are seen in discussion as they climb down the steps, and around He has painted themes of mostly all the famous issues of those times.
them, absorbed in passionate conversation of innovative research - Venus was a town known for trade and commerce, therefore the
experts of geometry, astronomy, botany and other disciplines. The study concerts of music and dance, banquets were heavily indulged in. Titian
and research that took place during the Greek era proved to be a guide to manifested all this leisurely Venetian life in his paintings with the help of
the world for a number of centuries. Raphael has brought to life the Greek mythology. He brought to life in them, nature's beauty in all glory, with the
hunger for research through this fresco. In this work, every figure, and its brocaded silken clothes people wore, the radiant shine of the velvety
expression is shown in separate detail. It has a Michelangelo kind of carpet, soft complexion of the ladies, the stream, the flower-garden,
vivaciousness in its figures. Raphael is immensely adept at adorning the fountain We witness in his paintings: mild texture, lighter outlines,
ambience in "his painting. The group of human figures, varied facial convenient and wilful use of light and shade technique for composition and
expressions, the proportionate weaving of the forms, the appropriate overall rendering; with a variety of brush strokes. The hair seems to be
composing of the background in the back and the architecture; the done with such immense detail that every strand looks like having been
completeness and consistency brought about by all of these is highly coloured separately. The softness of the human epidermis can be felt.
Titian's works continued to influence the painters till the 17th-18th
The turmoil of the efforts that had to be put in while producing such centuries. Painters like Rubens, VanDyck followed the aforementioned
mega opuses took its toll and Raphael fell ill. At the peak of his prosperity, Titian's painting techniques and made slight individual changes that suited
this mild-mannered and wonderful painter, on the 6th of April 1520, in his their styles.

114/ The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 115
was given the epithet 'EI Grec " which in identally, was not his real name.
The paintings by Titian, namely; 'The Rape of Europa, Garden of
Love, Assumption of the Virgin', etc. are his most celebrated works. Later he went to Venice, and th n happened to be a disciple of Titian
Besides, he painted portraits of the royalty. In the portraitures he produced, for a long phase. Having been expos 'd to a c nfluence of diverse cultures,
Titian magically made his subjects look more better than they were. The EI Greco at a very early age of about 22, volved a unique style of his own
characters could be identified in his paintings, but they were seen to be and was noted to be also op rutin his own workshop. The Gods in his

equipped with unmatched beauty and manifestation of extraordinary merit. paintings had vibrant colour sch III sand r ference of Spanish mysticism,
For instance, he is known to have brought about a transformation in the the latter being due to his deep involvcm nt in the religious environment of
portrait of Charles the Vth, by showing him as a magnificiently courageous Spain. All his paintings are seen to v erflow with piritual contexts, with a
warrior mounted on a horse; an auburn-haired queen changed to a golden- self-invented distortional style, wh r in th human figures are elongated,
haired one; white beard with a shimmering silvery shine, etc. Such colour with slender and long necks. A set of sp ci fie colours are found in his
application came to be known as 'Titian Colour' . works, viz., ivory white, black, vermilion r d, yellow ochre, etc. Philip II,
the then King of Spain, disapprov d of I r 'co's work commissioned by
He started an innovative colouring process. He began with painting the
him, which prompted Greco to move to Tol do, pain' religious capital.
whole drawing with brick colour, continued by colouring the illuminated
Here, EI Greco's work was appreciated. II' produced wonderful works
portion with a mix of white, black and yellow; to be left to dry for a month,
for chapels, monasteries and convents. The first contract of assignments
and then taken up for detailed colour application. He had a unique style of
of painting he secured in Toledo was given by th anto Tome, Toledo
'glazing' wherein due to the application of dry crackling layer of colour, the
underlying background hue could be seen. Glazing helped his colours
church there; which included 'The Assumption or the Virgin'.
shimmer. Another best-known work by EI Greco is 'The Burial of the Count of
Orgaz'. The visualization of a
Despite having acquired a lot of honour and respect, as well as
sacred path that connects
affluence, Titian had remained prudent in money matters. He had offered
lives of common people on
his last painting 'Pieta' as a payment for booking his grave that he had
Earth with heaven has
selected in the chapel. He was 88 when he passed away in the year 1576.
appeared often in EI Greco's
Paintings of France, Spain, Netherlands and Germany paintings; another instance
being 'The Annunciation'.
The wave of the Italian Renaissance was brought to France, thanks to
certain lawyers, bishops, tradesmen and painters. For instance, a few Every form in his
French painters went to Italy and returned with certain paintings. Also, paintings seems to be of a
owing to the frequent raids by the French royalty on Italy, Italian art geometrical nature; every
flourished in France; similarly, in Spain, Netherlands and Germany. There figure morphed into the other.
is an extensive list of the famous artists from these regions; providing Lines going up like flames are
information about all of them is quite impossible. Therefore, let us dwell a also apparent. This method of
little here upon two famous painters, namely, Spain's 'EI Greco', and colour application, form
Germany's Albrecht Durer. presentation and animation,
being a novelty for those
El Greco (1541 to 1614 AD) times, did not elicit much
A prime and widely known artist of the age of Renaissance is EI demand. But, after more than
Greco. He was born on the Crete island in 1541. Being a Greek by birth, he

The History of Western Art / 117

116 / The History of Western Art
a century, towards the end of the 19th century, his paintings came to be In Germany, there was no real royal patronage or support of anyone
regarded with keen interest by certain modem painters' thereby shooting affluent to the artists there a such, and the commissions were very few in
up the prices for his works. His special technique which was free of all comparison to the other countries; hence the painters had to survive on
inhibitions in terms of form, colour and light later inspired even Picasso. their own courage and conviction.
EI Greco's life and works were heavily influenced by Christian
Donatello (1386 to 1466 AD)
ideology. He looked upon himself as a philosopher, with Byzantine and
Mannerist styles having made an impression on his works. Atmospheric Michelangelo is known to everyone to have been the best sculptor of
light, pure colours, reddish figures, devotional element: all these were the Renaissance, but 'Donatello' a very famous Florentine sculptor of this
preconceived and figured out by him at the outset. He also produced oil era also left a stamp of his art. Having worked for a brief time in Lorenzo
paintings on the theme of the ultimate truth, besides a few portraits. A Ghiberti's studio, he later was an
prodigious painter and sculptor of the Spanish Renaissance age, EI Greco's associate of the architect Fillipo
many paintings, viz.; 'Christ Carrying the Cross', 'Immaculate Brunelleschi. The innovation that
Conception', 'The Adoration of the Shepherds', etc. are in the Museo del Donatello set in, is comparable with
Prado in Madrid. the works of Michelangelo. Donatello
viewed the cultural essence and
Albrecht Durer (1471 to 1528 AD) enchantment of the universally
He was a most reputed painter, a theorist and a printmaker of acclaimed Gothic style with disdain.
Germany, noted to be in the league of greats like Leonardo and He studied through observations of
Michelangelo. He intensely believed in the truth of nature and theorized the modelling sitters.
'ideal beauty'. With his ability to sketch fluently, this artist acquired The bronze sculpture, 'David', is
proficiency in woodcuts and copper engravings. He left a vast body of a renowned work of art by Donatello.
portrait works too. He sculpted it in 1430 AD. Its height is
The smaller portraits he has made reveal the wrinkles on the face, the 60.5 inches. This is the first known
hair and scars in minute detail. His perseverance and accuracy while nude, free-standing statue of the
making printing plates is absolutely noteworthy. He was an expert in ancient Western art. Wearing a
producing a variety of textures in his engravings. He used watercolours helmet, with flowers adorning it,
like a pen to draw his sketches. In one of his portraits, now in the Berlin David stands in then court of Palazzo
Museum, one can see the reflection of a window in the eyes of the subject. Medici. This sculpture looks very
DUrer endeavoured to draw finer details to bring out the character of his realistic and lively.
sitters, and seems to have largely succeeded in revealing their liveliness in Donatello worked in all kinds of media: wood, bronze, stone .and
his portrait paintings; certain famous ones being - self-portrait where he terracotta. He had studied human anatomy rigorously and is hence seen to
wears a fur robe, St. John Paul, St. Peter and St. Mark. have made use of it to produce innovative artwork. Other certain
His sketches of animals, plantations, flowers and vegetation are significant sculptors of the Renaissance were Andrea Sansovino, Jacopo
incomparable. His watercolour landscapes which were in a class of their Sansovino and Benvenuto Cellini.
own, were four steps ahead of the works by others of that era. The
restlessness and sensational excitement can be felt in his woodcuts.

118 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 119
Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Michelozzo were three key
figures that defined the architecture of the Renaissance. Brunelleschi's
design diagram of the dome structure for the Florence Cathedral is Modern Era: Baroque Art
considered to be a landmark in architecture. The dome is the largest and
the most attractive structure to have been built after the Pantheon's. 1600 to 1800 AD
The balanced and harmonious perspective in the paintings of the
Renaissance rubbed off on architecture. To repeat vital structural forms in The creation of Modem Europe involved the search of a new world
the edifices being built, to plan that the diagonals remain parallel while and revolution of ideas, besides movement of religious alterations; due to
replicating right-angled or square-shaped forms; such factors came into which Europe came to be divided into atholic and Protestant. This schism
significance, and a belief that the beauty of any structure is dependent on did not fail to affect art. The countrie belonging to the Catholic cult
them, started forming root. Certain super-human statues of the Colossal depicted religion through art. The church protected art and the artist. In
Order were invariably erected during this phase. contrast, there were nations like England, Holland and Germany following
Andrea Palladio was another influential architect of the latter phase of the Protestant doctrine; it was prohibited in these places to depict religious
the Renaissance. He changed the design of the churches of the Middle themes. Earlier it was a practice to have landscapes as backdrop to
Ages and prepared new plans of modem construct. The echoes of paintings on religion, which took a back seat, and the art of painting only
improvements that took place in Italian architecture during this era fell on picturesque landscapes came into vogue.
the architecture of countries outside Italy too. The artistic and wonderful The art that evolved in the interim phase of two centuries (1600 to
use of bricks and stones is seen in this period. 1800 AD) between the Renaissance Age and the French Revolution is
The artists of the Renaissance having discovered and applied alluded to as 'Baroque Art'. Certain hi torians divide the art of this period
innovative ways of discoveries, could not however get themselves out of into two parts; namely, the art in the 17th century as 'Baroque Art' and the
the compulsions of religion. They could not do away with the practice of 18th as 'Rococo Art'. During this intermediate period, paintings by
borrowing themes from the religious volumes. But for certain, they Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael were considered as the ideals, and
provided a refreshing path to the flow of art. Therefore, in the time ahead, Realism began to be over-emphasized. The artists began to assume the
winds of glory began to blow in the realm of art. execution of detailed, intricate work as mastery; they even began to
exaggerate the light and shade aspect. The human figures in the painting
began to look stiff like wood and began to seem inanimate like celluloid
dolls. Just as the art critics mocked the pre-Renaissance art as Gothic,
similarly their 19th century counterpart used the word 'Baroque' rather
sarcastically to describe the post Renaissance art; Baroque refers to an
uneven, incomplete pearl. In the same vein, the 18th century art was
termed 'Rococo'.
During the Renaissance, the portraiture that was of courtly stature
now reached the common man. The royal authority was being rebelled
against. For instance, the Freedom Movement in Netherlands, the French
Revolution. The church and the princely states came together and tried to

120/ The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 121
establish their rule. The common people became aware of the shape of the from Michelangelo. He thu
earth and they began to think of the Universe. Mathematics became executed an appropriate
known. Different machines and gadgets were discovered. The field of combination of the methods
music evolved. Architecture came to be applied in the designing and of all the great painters
constructing of cities. through his paintings. A
new art world was
The artists were bereft of royal patronage during this era, and only the
incarnated in Netherlands
affluent individuals remained. The overall situation of the artists was not
and an unusual art tradition
secure. Authoritarianism went on rising, with the exception of Spain and
came into existence due to
Italy, the only remaining significant art hubs. This period saw the art doing
the extraordinary genius of
away with religious themes, which were replaced by portrait and
landscape paintings. This freedom to choose the themes for works brought
in a new liveliness in the paintings. Peter Paul Rubens and Van Dyck were In his painting, 'The
excellent Flemish painters of this era. Rape of the Daughters of
Leucippus', with the help of
Peter Paul Rubens (1577 to 1640 AD) movements of two horses,
He was born in Siegen in Germany. At the age of 23, he travelled to four people and one little
infant, the contradictions in it, the perfect repetition of lines and forms,
Italy, where he studied the art of Leonardo and Michelangelo. After
effective result has been achieved. If the painting is observed keenly, then
spending eight years in Italy, he returned home in Antwerp in 1608, where
'the transparency of the clothes, the oft texture of the skin and the silken
the influence of the Italian paintings gradually wore off. His earlier impulse
shine of the loose hair' are seen to have been excellently rendered. This
of producing serene paintings with dull colour methods gave way to festive
ones with refreshing colours, and a most influential Baroque painter was painting is now in the Munich Musuem.
born. In another painting, 'The Garden of Love', the Flemish men and
women are seen picnicking in a garden, lounging, chatting, playing music
Rubens painting had a lot of drama. Michelangelo's paintings held
and generally merry-making. There is a lot of interest and variety that has
drawing as the key, whereas Rubens preferred strong play of light-and-
shade, that were manifest in his works. This led to a liveliness in the been brought about in this work by Rubens.
ambience in them, and added vitality to the figures. He painted political Last but not the least, Ruben's painting, 'The Felt Hat' is a portrait of
themes, as seen in the paintings of King Henry IV, of France's wedding his sister-in-law, showing reflected sunlight. A perfect background that
scenes, which are unique. He has added poetic essence to his paintings by goes with her mild smile, attire and hat is painted. Although, at some places,
skilfully imbibing mythological deities in political settings. more than required details are seen to have been put in.
He is said to have painted about 1200 paintings, and done around 380
Anthony Van Dyck (1599 to 1641 AD)
paintings during his lifetime. His studio was virtually a large factory which
churned out paintings, with numerous students and assistants. Varied type He had acquired fame when he was only 18, due to his works. Without
of paintings was produced here: ranging from portraits, landscapes, any envy or insecurity on his mind, Rubens included him along with his
historical, mythological to allegorical ones. assistants in the studio. Van Dyck's method of working, helped Ruben's
paintings evolve better. They became more impressive and elegant. In Van
Known as a great painter to have ever handled human figures, Rubens Dyck's paintings, one finds the dominant use of cool colours. His portraits
picked up Titian's style of using warm colours, and depicting of emotions

The History of Western Art / 123

122 / The History of Western Art
seem more expressive and brilliant than Ruben's. Van Dyck painted
allegorical and mythological themes too, yet portraiture is what he was Johannes Vermeer (1632 to
known for. His portraits seem sensational and incisive. Robustness, which 1675 AD)
is a feature in Ruben's works cannot be found in Van Dyck's works, but Vermeer is understood to be one
the latter was as technically skilled as the former. In the later years, Van of the three great painter of the
Dyck's muse in paintings very often entailed: backdrops of the London Dutch denomination. He studied the
~ardens, marble pillars or thick curtains; with pale coloured human figures light beam pouring in through the
m the foreground. We see glimpses of the nobility through these works. He windows and doors. A fusion of
portrayed the King of England nearly 38 times. The portrait of England's blue, yellow and grey can be mo tly
Charles I among these is magnificient, and in the painting featuring seen in his paintings. In this portrait
Charles's five children, one can see their favourite pets featuring painting, 'Girl with a Red Hat', he
prominently too; with a large dog and a smaller one attracting the viewer's has created an illusion of a till
attention. picture. Inspite of the smooth face,
Dutch painting came to be regarded with great reverence in the glossy flat surface and accurate
Western world of art during the Baroque period, and the contemporary highlight, the portrait seems
social transformation contributed to it. During the intermediate phase, rural inanimate. This painting is in the
life was never safe and had to face hardship owing to the menace of National Gallery of Art, Washington
robbers, bandits who would victimize the common folks and make social D.C.
life miserable. Thanks to the establishment of certain rules in the later In his illusionistic painting, 'Painter in his Studio', or 'The Allegory of
years that these tendencies were curbed. Life became much safe and Painting', a woman subject poses in calmingly lit corner. The illusion of a
peaceful. People became economically better off, and an average person room is rendered beautifully. Every object in the room is realistically
too was in a position to buy paintings. Thus, the themes handled by artists treated with the accurate texture and material effects. There is a suffusion
became varied, thanks to the needs of the people and the desire of the of grey throughout the painting, bringing out the classic colour scheme.
patrons. Landscapes, objects and household decor painting became the Vermeer has effectively achieved the feat of making it an enriching
main characteristics of Dutch painting. experience for the viewer, exhibiting his mastery.
The Dutch paintings are remarkably realistic. Certain iconic names
among the Dutch painters are Jacob van Ruisdael, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt (1606 to 1669 AD)
Rembrandt. Rembrandt has created a unique position for himself through his
extraordinary artistic capabilities in the world art field. He was as excellent
Jacob van Ruisdael (1628 to 1682 AD) an etcher as he was an artist. He has painted around 500-600 works of art.
He is said to have brought poetry into landscape paintings. In the Like Raphael, his works do not seem to have been affected by any other
scenes of nature that he has painted, Ruisdael has kept them free of human painter. He painted whatever theme he could conceive of, at his will. He
figures. In his painting, 'The Jewish Cemetery', he has shown graves, with painted - scenes from the Bible, mythology, portraits, landscapes, animals
barren and dead trees around. In the background, we see ruins and the and numerous self-portraits. A wonderful combination of Realism and
ambience is shown to be stormy. We see a stream flowing and a rainbow inner spirit is seen through his works. He has painted scenes from the Bible
in the sky. In this way, the visual manifests an illusion of the atmosphere from humanitarian perspective. Rembrandt has more passionately
and an expression that matches it. expressed humans and their feelings through his etchings.

124/ The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art / 125

In his etching, 'The Return of the Prodigal Son', he has depicted a the others in the picture se m d to hav been attached lesser significance
'father meets son' visual. Meeting after a long hiatus of estrangement, the by him.
father is quite moved, as he is seen embracing his son who is on his knees. Rembrandt is recognized in the art world as someone who had an
The emotions registered through their body language are expressed imperial command over light. In any of his paintings, the figures and objects
magnificiently. A servant is seen excitedly opening a window. The cook- are not considered not that important; light is the central element. It seems
assistant kid wearing a kind of long chef-cap, is seen very keenly watching that in order to project the ma ic of light, he painted the figures. All his
and listening to the conversation with great curiosity. Despite this work paintings have one common factor a figure virtually in the dark, and a
being an etching, the Drypoint method is not applied anywhere. light beam from an undefined dir lion of ource falling on it. Due to the
Rembrandt's prime objective was to show the proper division of light. reflected light off the person f th figure, the existence of a light source is
Due to the subtle yet prominent brushstrokes, the figures in his paintings assumed, conveying an illu ion that the light may be emitting from the
give an impression of having been showered in light. This was the essence figure towards the viewer. ertain part of the figure's face would fade
of his paintings. Due to this style of rendering light in his paintings, the away in the shadowy dark regi n. The bright cloth on the person's breast
visual emitted a certain ambience. or the bright collar reflected glowing light. uch a mystical play oflight and
shade is testimony to his unprecedented ingenuity.
'The Night Watch', is the largest and most famous of his works. It is
also known as and is a group portrayal of 'The Militia Company of Captain Rembrandt used light, also to manifest emotions. The self-portraits he
Frans Banning Cocq'. Many layers of varnish applied on it may have painted are but a seeming autobiographical statement made through colour
darkened it slightly. It was misunderstood to be a night scene, which and strokes. He rendered about 60 self-p rtraits; through which we
explains the title of the painting - 'The Night Watch'. In order to create a experience a silent history of fluctuations in his life.
beautiful compositional visual, Rembrandt represented only two specific His landscapes too happened t b remarkable, in which he
characters in the centre of the spotlight; but the painting was rejected as represented his surrounding world. Windmills. waterways, cattle grazing
on the greens; these regular scene of Hiland life were depicted in his
landscapes, where he conveyed the imple, lean pleasures of life to the
world. It was Rembrandt who wa re p nsible for the windmills to have
become a regular feature in the European land capes.
Inspite of numerous adversitie ,he never quit and kept on painting. His
service to art remained unbroken. He remained loyal to art, and did not look
upon it as trade. He was a sage who was not bothered about the world and
which is why he could achieve what he has in the world of art.
In the 18th century, art supremacy in Italy declined and the art scene in
France prospered. During the reign of Louis XIV, art assumed an entirely
different status. Art till that time had been the prerogative of the kings, the
affluent and the pawn-brokers; but under Louis's rule, it began to
experience better days. A new fine art academy, namely, the 'Ecole de
Beaux-Arts' was established in Paris, so that painting and sculpture
flourished. Art Competitions were declared and the winning artists were
awarded. Besides, the budding artists were given scholarships and sent to

The History of Western Art / 127

126 / The History of Western Art
foreign nations for study. Such an exciting and promising atmosphere the characteristic elements of thi
influenced French art effectively. The famous painters of that era are Poussin creation.
Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, etc. In England, in the year 1768,
'The Royal Academy of Art ' was
Claude Lorrain (1600 to 1682 AD)
established. A renowned artist of
He was a French painter of the Baroque period. He lived in Italy for this Academy was Joshua
many years. He focussed on landscape painting depicting land, sea, sky Reynolds. In the latter part of the
with the inclusion of small figures with references from bible or mythology, 18th century, there was a surge in
and thus proved a unique painter to have painted landscapes that also fell portraiture art in England. The
into the genre of history paintings, all his life. In his paintings, all elements cause for this rise were Van Dyck
from the very nearer ones to those on the horizon seem to have been and Sir Peter Lely, painters from
placed after careful contemplation. The architecture in his painting looks outside of England, who settled
like a backdrop scene created for a stage play. Owing to having formed a there and provided supply to the
firm impression on his mind that nature is an inseparable part of the demands by painting portraits. Their
Universe, he seems to have painted a varied range of landscapes. paintings became the byword. This
influenced the other painters of England. They too joined this bandwagon
Nicolas Poussin (1594 to 1665 AD) of painting portraits.
He spent a large part of his life in Rome. He produced paintings with a One of such painters was William Hogarth. He brought international
proper combination of landscape and human figures. He rendered the repute to English paintings. 'The Shrimp Girl' is his best portrait. In it, one
nearer elements with more prominence. For instance, one manifestation of
notices all his art skills corning together.
this characteristic that can be cited is his painting titled, 'Triumph of
Neptune and Amphitrite'. Here we see the figures given more importance. Joshua Reynolds (1723 to 1792 AD)
This work is reminiscent of Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus', as we see a
He was one of the most influential painters of British portraiture. He
backdrop of the ocean. In this Poussin visual, one may notice a hint of
was a court painter during the regime of George III, and the first President
Raphael's paintings too. Poussin has endeavoured in his painting to present
of the Royal Academy of Arts. He is said to have given a series of 15
the figures in light, depicting them appropriately in the settings and thus
discourses on art. Titian and Rembrandt were his inspiration. The 150 odd
resulting in the whole scene to look very effectively appealing. Amphitrite
portraits that he painted are forceful and attractive. He accurately copied
is shown seated in the centre, with the clouds and cherubs flying above in
the murals of the Vatican. One notices in hi art, an amazing fusion of the
the clouds. The sitting nymphs and the drapery cover the large black triton
draughtsmanship of Rubens, Raphael, Michelangelo's larger than life
they are seated on. All the other surrounding prominent figures are seen
power of creation and Rembrandt's light and shade scheme.
watching Amphitrite. The gestures and actions of everyone complements
the composition. The masses loved the themes and figures of Poussin's In the Baroque era, the rapid changes that took place in paintings,
painting. could not be matched by sculpture. But there emerged another genre of art
which added to the genres of painting and sculpture, which was 'various
Another of his famous paintings is 'The Arcadian Shepherds', held in
kinds of fountains'. The creator of these fountains was Gian Lorenzo
the Louvre Museum, Paris. This picture shows three shepherds gathering
Bernini (1598 to 1680 AD), the Italian sculptor and architect. The fountains
around a mysterious tomb, signifying in a way the shadow of death. The
are a distinctive feature of Baroque art. Bernini created a marble bust of
composition, the appeal, and the eye-catching, sculpture-like figures are

128/ The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 129
Louis XIV. He is portrayed as a pompous military commander. The
wonderful feature of the sculpture is the illusion created by the king's
drapery shown to be undulatingly blowing in a strong breeze, that adds to
the pomp. His hair curls seem like ocean waves and the drapery suggesting
the movement of the wind. Modern Era
1800 to 1950 AD
Triton Fountain
Bernini has made a remarkable introduction of fountain sculpture in Modern Art of Europe
architecture. The Triton fountain is a famous monument created by him The French Revolution affected the human race gravely. The
around 1640 AD. Triton, son of the Greek God Poseidon is seen in the traditional customs and art styles gradually made way for, and the
centre, in the form of a merman, blowing a conch. He is seen to be kneeling emphasis was laid on, individualism. Day by day its idea grew in strengt?
over the tailfins of four dolphins, with shell forms around. It was Close on its heels, Industrial Revolution'S impact was added to It.
commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, and is an allegorical creation to Resources of speedier transportation like Railways, Motor Cars,
enhance the Pope's grandeur. The tailfins of the dolphins interweavingly Aeroplanes, etc. became available. Camera, Cinema, Television were
hold the 'papal tiara' (crown worn by the Pope of the Catholic Church in invented. The entire world, therefore looked smaller. Art was affected
the earlier days) in the centre, again an allegorical allusion to the Pope. indeed, as these resources came into the possession of more and more
people. Drawing from the influence of owning these resources, newer and
Architecture innovative movements emerged in art, and it assumed a practical mode.
A drastic change came over architecture during the reign of Louis During the Renaissance, the arti ts and artisans had assumed certain
XIV and the Decorative art was ushered in. The decoration that was done positions, and there was a kind of stability that had settled their lives. In the
earlier only on the facade and the outward part began to be used to adorn Baroque era, art had become a matter of luxury. In that phase, artists ~~re
the interiors too. Inclined shapes appeared on the walls and the roof; appointed and commissioned to produce their works. When the nobility
designed with the help of plaster and wood. Inclined stripes, conch-shells, declined, the artists were forced to depend on the modem society, and to
strings, branches of leaves-flowers - invariably formed the elements of the sell their works themselves, they had to create newer markets. Handling
decor. The furniture of this regime is especially remarkable. He had two things at a time became a nuisance. Consequently, the disparity
ordered large wooden cabinets designed. between the artist and society grew wider.
The establishment of art-academies in the Baroque era spread glory in Post the French Revolution, a radical transformation took place in the
the world of art. These art schools played a key role in the History of society, and as mentioned, the Industrial Revolution influenced the artisans
Western Art. In such an exuberant milieu, art flourished variedly and novel and their art. The manual labour began to be executed by machines. This
manifestations of art began to be explored. This caused the transformation gave rise to Industrial art. William Morris was the father of this art.
of art in the times ahead. Handicrafts took a back seat and were replaced by machine made
products. Availability of cheap and inexpensive products diminished the
aesthetic tastes of the society. Art turned industrial. Photography was
discovered and the art of producing coloured photo prints too came into
existence. All these things together largely affected 'painting'. It had to be
at the behest of the demands of the society. Art took on a national aspect
and became a matter of national pride. Art academies came into being.

130 I The History of Western Art The History of Western Art I 131
Jacques-Louis David (1748 to 1825 AD)
They began to impart the knowledge of art. It came to be accepted that art
He made fascinating portrait , and felt that portraiture is a marvellous
is an inseparable part of life and culture. In this way, Art changed its
form of art. From his painting, 'The Intervention of the Sabine Women',
language. To come up with newer inventions, innovative forms and media
one witnesses the Grecian style he introduced in it. The theme is about the
began to be put into practice.
Sabine Women, who have been abducted by the Roman soldiers, and the
It became difficult for an artist to compete with the camera. There leader of the Sabines, Hersilia earne tly appeals to warriors to spare the
being no value for realistic painting and land capes anymore, an wives from their husbands, and mothers from their children. The viewing
atmosphere of freely exhibiting individual expression and thoughts began of this spectacle leaves one with an illusion of having watched a dramatic
to prevail. The earlier unified community of artists in a changed scenario scene. The shapes of figures eem like sculptures. The expressions borne
were divided into two classes: amateur and profes ional. Thus, art shaped by the faces are shown in detail. A scene of a battle has been rendered
human lives differently, provided different interpretations; became an without showing bloodshed or dead bodies. Jacques Louis is said to not
inevitable necessity. have been able to sell his paintings. Yet, through the queues for his
Paris in this hour became the art hub. Gradually, artists were freely exhibitions, he is said to have earned 72000 francs. One can imagine his
expressing their individuality. Novel themes were being explored for popularity through this.
expression. The idea, that the real objective of art is self-discovery, began David's disciple Dominique Ingres was an able draughts man like him,
to gain strength. Every artist generation in France was endeavouring to and his draughtsmanship became the ideal later for the French artists.
create paintings that were different from the academic and uniform, and Ingres's figures look more glorious than David's figures. Even his
which attempted to explore one's individual personality. Therefore, the art portraiture is emphatic. Some of his portraits are held by the Louvre.
realm always remained tumultuous. Artists from allover the world settled
A Spanish painter of extraordinary significance who is among the
in France. They formed smaller art associations. An exchange of ideas
painters who gave up the conservative themes to depict newer ones, and
took place between them. The artists began to hold collective exhibitions.
who painted battle scenes, was Francisco Goya. He was a contemporary
Thus, this trend of individualistic art creation gave rise to different debates
of David. It was rare for anyone else of his generation to have effectively
resulting into diverse 'isms'. For instance, Realism, Neo-Classicism,
painted the horrors of war and invasion.
Romanticism, Impressionism, etc.
The French Revolution provided the stimulation to the sense of historic Francisco Goya (1746 to 1828 AD)
inquiry among the artists, and drawing from historical events, paintings
Goya's childhood was spent at Saragossa, in Spain. Early in his career,
appealing to the heroic tendencies began to be produced. This gave rise to he was appointed as a court painter to the Spanish royalty, where he
a new 'ism' in art. designed a series of tapestry cartoons for the royal palace. Leaving behind
the mythological and historical themes, the cartoons depicted were
Neo-Classicism popularist. He rendered landscapes and paintings of shepherds, farmers.
Jacques-Louis David and later Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres were His style became very popular. Goya's portraits of the aristocracy were
the earliest representatives of Neo-Classicism. They had certain pre- not flattering, and one notices Goya's inclination to depict the flaws rather
defined notions that, the essence of sculpture should reflect in paintings; than their merits. He portrayed the royalty, with an inclination to expose the
the volume witnessed in sculpture should manifest in the depiction of person within, by revealing their hypocritical pomp, whimsical and crafty
human figures in paintings; the forms should be given more importance sides. While depicting Charles III through his portrait, he emphasises the
than the light-shade and colours; all the elements that epitomize chivalrous king's hump, the fatigue of old age on his face, and a toothless gummy
attitude are appropriate themes for paintings. mouth, in a very realistic way.

The History of Western Art / 133

132 / The History of Western Art
Goya's 1797 painting titled, 'The Nude Maja' was a sensational one renowned and successful painter of the royal court and among the public.
that gave a terrific jolt to the moral values of those times. He later came up He had a uniquely confident, fearless styl ' of painting. The influence of
with another painting in 1800, titled 'The Clothed Maja'. Both these Goya's works can be clearly een on s vcral styles adopted later in art, i.e.
paintings lay in captivity for many years, but later gained popularity in the Romanticism, Impressionism, xprcssionism,
history of European art.
During this period, a new movement of Romantici m began to emerge.
Goya was witness to the French military invasion over Spain and the
radical transformations brought about by the French Revolution, which Romanticism
inspired him to create a painting titled, 'The Third of May 1808'. In this
This movement lasted from the fall of Napoleon till the French-Persian
war. The leading painters of it were Theodore Gericault, Eugene
Delacroix, Honore Daumier. The thoughts they laid and followed up in
their paintings were as follows: ertain aspect like - the sprinkling of
colours, fantasy and passionate manifestation - are very significant in a
painting and a painter should focus more on them. The themes taken up for
paintings were conscientious. They were generally based on poem.
(depicting chivalry, courage), by pets like Shakespeare, Tasso, Goethe or
Dante. The subject that began to b chosen were of deep, imaginative,
emotional, pitiful and grieving a pects.

Theodore Gerlcault (1791 to 1824 AD)

Romanticism gained much significance through the first appearance of
his painting, 'The Raft of the Medusa' at the Paris Salon in 1819. This
painting depicts a real event of the aftershock of the wrecking of the
painting, he has attempted to depict the dreadfulness of war. Goya's art French naval vessel, Medusa. It show people on a raft trying in vain to
was dedicated to humanity. Rather than applaud the gallantry of battle, his obtain rescue, with many of them already dead with their bodies lying one
paintings focussed on the depiction of the inhuman brutality of war. over the other on the raft. Theodore i aid to have visited hospitals and
morgues to study the
Through 'Caprichoso', a series of 80 prints and etching by Goya is a aspects of the dead,
condemnation of all the wicked customs of society. He sheds light on all first hand. He even is
the destructive inclinations in the society such as Poverty, Gullibility, known to have
Hypocrisy, Crime, Injustice, Perversion, Bribery, Cheating, etc. These constructed a detailed
pictures do not merely depict the Spanish life of that era, but serve to model of the raft in his
spread the message of humanity across all eras and the world. These studio with the help of a
visuals manifest Goya's flight of imagination. The pictures include figures carpenter. This painting
of witches, men wearing donkey masks, and demons. Just as he was an was executed by him
incredible etcher, Goya was a lithographer too. as an attack on
Francisco Goya was of a slightly uncanny disposition, but a very Classicism, bearing the
wrath of many, and

134 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 135
ignoring their condemnation. He died at the age of 32. When democracy was
installed in France, Millet
Honore Daumier (1808 to 1879 AD)
was grandly honoured with
He began to shed light on public life through his caricatures produced a Gold Medal in 1867, by
through the then newly evolved medium of Lithography. Through his the Academy of Arts. In
works he depicted satires on the errors committed by the state, and the his painting titled,
supremacy of lawyers and courtiers. Daumier, due to his association with 'Angelus', he shows
Paris, had keenly observed people from all strata, from soldier to lawyer, farmers, on hearing the
~d clerk to book seller. Due to many of his works having been done in church bell toll, halting
LI~o~~phy, ~e application is linear. His emphasis is largely on expressing their labour and standing
~ ~ndIvId~al ~ character and ?ehaviour. His attempt to portray what stirs still to pray. This painting is
inside one s mmd, through facial expressions, is noticeable. His caricatures held in the Louvre
and metho~s of showing several types of exaggeration is such, that they Museum.
can be applied even today.
After the wave of Romanticism, there was another wave that followed Painting Outside France
in the realm of art, when a few artists gathered in a French hamlet called John Constable was largely drawn towards pamtmg rural life in
B~bizon. Some of these artists were Theodore Rousseau, Jean-Francois England. He painted the landscape there. One of his contemporaries was
MIllet,. Jean-Bapti~te-Camille, Corot. They painted landscapes with a Joseph Turner.
refreshing perspective of nature, and this method was very soon given a
name. Joseph Turner (1775 to 1851 AD)
The name Joseph Turner, the king of landscape painting is at the
Barbizon School Art forefront of the history of British art. Although he was born into a family
The paint~rs of this school were particularly fond of painting rural that had absolutely no connection to the art world, he went on to
scenes of the lively hustle and bustle, rather than the still formal ones. revolutionise landscape painting. In those days paintings were mostly about
historical and mythological subjects, as well as portraits of famous men. It
Jean-Francois Millet (1814 to 1875 AD) was Turner who presented landscape painting as an independent art form
The paintings of farm labourers produced by Millet brought about a by itself. He attempted to depict the ever-changing subtleties of Nature
re:olu,tion .in. the history of art. The peasant became the protagonist of rather than trying to paint identifiable locations. His subject matter included
MIllet s pamtmgs and created a sensation in the art universe. He wanted to scenes of fog and emerging dawn, moi t mornings, storms, clouds and
realistically depict the events in the life of the farmers, due to which he sunsets. Watercolour landscapes were being done earlier, but they were
p~nted labourers actually working in the field. He wanted to present the mainly sketches in black ink with washe of faint tones. Attention to detail
dally scene at the farm, and reveal the true conditions of farmers. Initially was the highlight of such paintings. On the other hand, Turner would take
there were no takers for his paintings. Later circumstances changed lots of paint in his brush when painting. His oils also reveal the same
gr~du~ly. ~h~ people championing the cause of social rights bought all of freshness as his watercolours. He had his own style of doing landscapes.
Millet s paintings. Others too began to like his works. 'The Sower', 'The He would make lots of detailed sketches on location, and then complete the
Gleaners' are the works by Millet which were a rage in the Salon Paris paintings in his studio. His sketches were realistic, but while painting he
exhibitions. would use all his imagination. So we see a fine blend of realism and fantasy

136/ The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art / 137
in all his work. Impressionism
Turner worked In the period 1855 to 1856, certain radical paintersthat emerged, kept
hard throughout his the form simple and gave much importance to self-expression. Making
life. The National almost a paste by mixing two colour , they created a sense of a third hue.
Gallery holds 362 A trend to apply direct colour without first drawing or sketching came into
oils, 135 vogue.
watercolours, 1757 In their opinion, the traditional perception of looking at nature was
colour sketches, and based on misconception. Prior to this era, portraits were done in the
1000 sketches by artificial lights of the studio. In uch a closeted and artificial light, the
him. His style was absolute identity of any object cannot be understood. The same object
Impressionist but it looks very different in natural light. The impressionists proved this by
did not have the showing how the shadow of an object in a studio-light looks black or grey,
usual objective and having observed the shadow in natural light, it does not. In nature, the
approach that others had. light falling on various elements in an environment is reflected and
Turner's era was also the period that witnessed new trends in refracted over each other. Similarly, it falls over the objects we hold as our
literature. French literature applauded realistic depictions in art. No subjects. Therefore, due to the various colour shades reflected off the
wonder this began to be reflected in the world of painting. Thus was born surrounding items that mix with the original colour of the object, make it
realism. The foremost proponent of this new movement was the French look different. This discovery by the impressionists served to change the
artist Gustave Courbet. perception of the contemporary artists of that time. The traditional notions
of painting underwent a transformation, owing to this new practice of plein-
Gustave Courbet (1819 to 1877 AD) air painting done in sunlight, in the proximity of nature. To pass on and
He was a farmer's son. Through his paintings, he showed how art may share the visual experienced by them on the spot, with the viewer, was the
be useful in human lives. He introduced a great deal of variety in the prime object of the impressionists. They asserted that landscape painting
subjects he chose. For instance, his painting titled, 'The Artist's Studio'. ought to be done out in the open air, at the spot, and the constantly changing
We see a strong manifestation of Realism in his paintings. He used deep light and atmosphere ought to be captured then and there.
colours like the old renowned masters. He is seen to have adopted a The leading painters in this style were Claude Monet, Edgar Degas,
classical approach to colour application and the themes are simpler to Pierre-Auguste Renoir, etc.
understand. In the exhibition Ibat was held in 1855 in Paris, when
Courbet's paintings were rejected, he set up shop on bis own expenses, just Claude Monet (1840 to 1926 AD)
adjacent to the place of exhibition, and named it 'The Pavilion of Realism He is said to be the founder of French impressionistic painting, He
(pavilion du Realisme)'. He displayed 40-50 of his paintings here, which along with Manet are known to have held a joint exhibition. The traditional
included the rejected ones too. One more of his famous paintings is 'The viewers found the paintings displayed in this exhibition quite different from
Beautiful Irish Girl' .
Gustave Courbet's Realism was quite a sensation in the art world. This
was a period when movements were emerging one after the other. Among
them, the movement that Claude Monet and his friends brought about
proved to have a far-reaching consequence on art.

The History of Western Art / 139

138/ The History of Western Art
the conventional ones. This exhibition had Monet' pamnng titled,
'Impression, Sunrise', and an art critic in his review of it, coined the term 'Luncheon on the
Grass' is another famou
'Impressionism'. It was in fact an attempt to denigrate this movement, but
painting by Manet. In this
the name stuck to them, as the impressionists accepted it and used the
painting, Manet has
word to their advantage, and it remained as the tile of a eminal movement
in painting. applied new trappings to
a drawing by Raphael,
Monet was born in a small town in France. He mostly painted and hence Manet had to
landscapes. He was very proficient in depicting the atmosphere through his court a lot of controversy.
nature paintings. He considered colour and the surrounding atmosphere as We see in this picture, a
important aspects of his painting. Thus, the significance of forms in background of garden
paintings turned virtually non-existent. Monet very readily rendered the greenery, with two fully
transient phases of nature through the entire day. For instance, he uses to dressed men sitting on the
depict the constantly changing light and conditions during sunrise. 'Water grass in the foreground.
Lilies', 'Tulip Fields' are some of his famous paintings. The Practical Faraway, a skimpily clad woman is seen bathing herself in the pond, and
painting methods of the impressionistic style adopted by Monet like the seated with the men, is a woman in the nude. The fruits spilling out of the
brush strokes, application of colour directly from the tube - to showing basket close to the woman have been coloured in detail. In the older,
abundant light, are noteworthy.
conventionally styled paintings, portrayal of a nude Venus was never
objected. But, a woman of the current era hown naked was. Manet has
Edouard Manet (1832 to 1883 AD)
tried to point out this inconsistency through thi work of his. The light falling
His style created quite a stir, disturbing the established notions of on the figures upfront, and the depiction of light and shade with delicate
painting and causing great controversy. His painting, 'Olympia' was in the shades, the use of black and the b ld and sh eking theme chosen, are the
eye of a storm. This extraordinary work is currently held in the Louvre characteristics seen in the painting.
Museum. He painted this in 1863 and exhibited in 1865.
Olympia in this painting has been depicted very attractively in a reddish Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 to 1919 AD)
tone. Over a dark coloured background, the depiction of this lady in nude He was a French artist; a leading impressionist painter. His paintings
looks prominent. Although, her face does not register much emotion. The reveal the use of a fair proportion of pink and ivory colours. He dwelt upon
colours have been rendered shiny, as in Rembrandt's paintings. A black the natural form of any object by capturing it. He mostly focussed on
woman stands behind her; people in his paintings. He seems to have intentionally avoided faces.
showing her in entire contrast to Many of his paintings are on the theme of 'Bathers'. In some of these, we
the white nude lady. This project see the use of blue with the pink colours. He has used light colours and
the physical beauty of Olympia depicted nude figures in the shade very distinctly. He seems to have
much more emphatically. There depicted the pleasures in his life through his paintings. His works were
is an ease and boldness in the easy to understand and attractive to look at, and thus his paintings
lines defining the anatomy. The contributed to his fame.
theme of this painting created a
controversy, with critics
disapproving it.

140 I The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art I 141
on their own, in conducting innovative experiment. They could not form a
movement, like that of Impressionism, but the similarity between their
works cannot go unnoticed. As a reaction to Impre ionism, their style
assumed different identitie ; and hence they are alluded to as Post

Post Impressionism
The Post Impressionists did not depict the ephemeral experience, but
endeavoured to explore the eternal, steadfa t and immortal aspects and
capture them in their works. They stre: ed upon forms and their aesthetic
arrangement; besides the elab rati n of figures in proper proportion.
According to Paul Cezanne, in terms of the overall making of an artwork
and its construction, there were certain drawbacks in the Impressionistic
Edgar Degas (1834 to 1917 AD) art, and he sought to redeem them. Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin felt
emotions have not been rightly manifested in art and they tried to do it
He was an able. French artist known for his drawings, paintings,
through their paintings.
~cul?tures and drawmgs. He loved working in pa tels, and was rather
mclmed to ~tudy figures in action. Degas profoundly aimed to capture the
Paul Cezanne (1839 to 1906 AD)
speed acquired - by a dancing human body, or in a horse race through
colours and his painterly strokes. To study such dynamic figures: he even A French artist and initially an Impre sionist painter, Paul Cezanne
used photographs, and sketched many figures pertaining to one theme He made constant efforts to transcend Impressionism. He was born in an
has sketc~e~ many. drawings on ballet dancers. Among them, a pain·ting average family. He was a prolific painter who faced adversities with
where a gIfII weanng shoes and preparing for her dance, is quite famous. courage and remained principled till the end. People realized the potential
J:Ie was very a~acted to theatre, and he has tried to show this several of his paintings, after him. He adopted innovative and analytical method to
tlI~es through his works. His depictions of dancers in rehearsals conducted produce unique paintings. Many of the principles of the art, architecture
pnor to an event are remarkable. Degas has also painted invariably on and decorative layout of designs, of the 20th century are found to have
racecourses. been heralded in Cezanne's art. He painted like the Impressionists in the
beginning. But he was not satisfied with it. Primarily, he felt like making
The ~pressionists brought painting out of its old moulding. But it could
changes in the arrangement of form ., and he emphasized on the structure
not be said that they were at the forefront of modem mind set and methods.
of the object and its eternal form. The object forms of the works that he
. They at~buted much importance to colour and atmosphere, due to painted seem to have been bound by pointed, neat and small-and-big lines.
which, the Importance of forms turned negligible. The Impressionists He was intrigued by the simplification of natural forms that is seen and felt
promptly portrayed the constantly changing components in the by us, as we classify them into geometrical shapes; cylindrical, circular,
atmosphere. But due to their readiness, the principles of drawing began to conical, square, etc. this perception became the objective of the Cubists
?ISappear. The .experience of permanence, unchangeable and eternally later. According to Cezanne, the warm colours seem nearer, and the cool
Important expenences of the paintings could no longer be shown. receding backwards. If the saturation of the colour is high it looks close,
. He~ce,. certai.n artists were consistently struggling to transcend and the greys seem like having gone far in the distance. He tried to show
lffipresSlOllism. Painters Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin were involved in , the effects of colour and shades. Similarly, he classified objects in space,

142/ The History of Western Art

The History of We tern Art / 143
restless nature. He wa religiously inclined and held high views Oil
humanity, and hence he was always passionate about helping the needy 01
the society. His life till the period 1883 is a tragic taJe. He was never able to
be successful in his lifetime as an artist. lie tried various jobs like being a
missionary, a teacher, an art d eal .r, a shopkeeper assistant, etc. Finally,
though, he dedicated himself completely to painting.
His earlier paintings were in very thick colours, as Rembrandt's
paintings had cast a spell on him in those day. In 1886, he was inspired to
use bright colours due to the works of the impressionists. He found new
vigour from it and a new path of painting opened up before him. Many 01
his best works were painted by him around 1888.
From the letters, he wrote t hi. younger brother Theo, he is seen to
have expressed intense feelings, em tions that were on his mind. He used
this emotional spontaneity to paint. The letters have been compiled in a
famous book. He writes in them, 'I have as of now very clear emotions in
depending on whether they were coming nearer or going far. He used a my mind and hence I find nature to be very beautiful. I get immersed in it,
flat brush stroke for rendering every shape; revealing separate patch of lose my senses, and see painting in my dreams.' Having become one with
colour. But it proved awkward, when it came to revealing the solidity, the art of painting, he may have been able to come up with such great,
volume of round objects. While distributing an apple into shapes according wonderful and immortal works. It wa Van Gogh who started the method
to the colour shades, Cezanne rendered patches of colour. He achieved the of, pointillism, where one colour i generally not mixed with other as far as
intended effect by using objects in the background. The distribution of possible, or of small delicate brush strokes. His paintings reveal blazing and
these objects too was done in such a way, that it would seem, that location impactful manifestation of emotion . His brushwork seems very light and
was dug out specifically for the object. He brushed aside the realism easy, and powerful at the same time. His paintings also exhibit a
principle of the Renaissance. In a single landscape, he depicted at various suggestiveness in
levels. He had the ability to render and depict from any point in space. He terms of colour
showed an object from all conceivable angles. Therefore, the distant and themes. He is
objects seemed to be on the same level as the nearer ones. The seen to have used
composition of his painting is seen to have been composed of various very dense and
colour shades. glittering colours.
This is how Cezanne took his innovative art to a new realm. Hence, In the paintings,
Modem Art, according to certain art critics and historians, has started from 'Cornfield' and
him. His 'Still Life' paintings are very famous. 'Cypresses' , the
fields coloured in
Vincent van Gogh (1853 to 1890 AD) golden yellow are
Van Gogh was a Dutch painter and a contemporary of Cezanne. He a symbol of human
was very passionate about colours; but was of a quite temperamental and life. All his
landscapes create

144 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 145
an illusion of fierce winds blowing. Every constituent of his painting. The
Gauguin painted
distant hills too seem to sway. All these things seem to be an indication of 'The Yellow Christ' in
Van Gogh's state of mind. 'Starry Night' is his most popular work. 1882. Borrowing the
In this painting, colour application, and the figures, seem blended with image of the crucified
one another. The whole village is peacefully asleep and an illusion of star- Jesus from Breton folk
explosions in the sky is created in this painting. It was done in 1889. The art, he has shown it
colour of the trees is deep green. But the tree in the front is shown in surrounded by innocent
colours auburn and green. Breton peasant
In 1889, Van Gogh turned into a lunatic. His mental agony is palpable women. In the
to us through his last few works. He ultimately committed suicide. His background, he shows
behavioural characteristics and emotions are clearly felt in his paintings. the hamlet, and the far-
When such expressions of intense emotions were revealed capriciously in off spread-out
paintings, it came to be called 'Expressionism'. It would be fair to say Van mountainous view. The
Gogh was the father of Expressionism. Christ image is shown in yellow and the trees in red. Bold outlines and flat
colour application are the methods seen in the painting.
Paul Gauguin (1848 to 1903 AD)
Gauguin followed the innovative styles adopted by Paul Cezanne and
Van Gogh. He started painting very late in his lifetime. He quit his The span of this movement was hort-lived. The paintings done in this
profession as a businessman in the middle of a thriving business and at the style were based on optical illusion. The painters of this 'ism' applied small
age of 35 dedicated himself completely to the cause of painting. He patches of pure colour one close to the other, and more often used
disdained Western painting methods and culture. He moulded his art to be complementary colours while doing this. They claimed, that two
simple and natural. He was the first modem painter to explore the roots of complementary colours kept close to each other, seem merged, when seen
art in the tribal culture. He therefore tried to remain distant from Western from a distance, and hence produces a profound effect. For instance, small
culture. He spent about three years on the island of Tahiti. A beautiful and strokes of blue and yellow, applied close to each other, create an illusion of
simple depiction of human figures is found in his paintings. Also, his works the green colour. Georges-Pierre Seurat was the leading painter to have
are famous for their pleasant and attractive colour schemes. A unique rendered paintings using this unique method.
experiment in his paintings would be the abundant light on every element.
Prior to this, as a method, light was shown on one side. His paintings of Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859 to 1891 AD)
inhabitants and landscapes of Tahiti are exceptionally famous. Seurat was really a post Impressionism painter. But certain historians
Gauguin also painted many portraits as well as self-portraits. They and art critics include him in the Neo-Impressionist cult. He worked for
reveal a human's simple and emotional depiction. two years on the painting, 'A Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grande
Jatte' .
In the painting 'Two Women', done on the Tahitian island, the
depiction of heavenly beauty of woman has been attempted. Owing to the As a preparation to this painting, he is said to have painted 20 pencil
rendering of patches of distinct colour shades of yellow, green in the sketches and 40 coloured ones of various people. He paid close attention to
background, the paintings seems like a relief. Due to the deep shade over the colour scheme and arrangement of spaces. To the innovative style of
the eyes and shoulders, the effect of the painting is noticeable. Seurat who inferred, that nature is made of colours and it is devoid of any
texture, people bestowed titles of Pointillism, and Neo-Impressionism.

146/ The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art / 147
evokes is seen. Certain prints of his
produced with the lithograph method
are famous. In all his works, grief is
the recurring theme. He seems t have
indulged in depicting the tragic and
dark side of human life.

Drawing inspiration from
Cezanne's paintings, Pablo Picasso
and Georges Braque started painting
unusual kind of pictures. Some years
Georges Seurat emphasized upon the impression formed by the prior to World War I, their paintings
relationship of one colour shade with the other. reveal expressions of characteristics
Cezanne's endeavours culminated in Cubism, whereas the outcome of of 'Cubism'. But Cubism had
Van Gogh's struggle in Expressionism. undergone a lot of transformations till then. This style impacted a lot of
artists. Many painters began to paint pictures following Cubism. Some,
Expressionism inspired by it, tried to develop a style of their own.
It originally initiated and flourished in Germany. It was intended to The peculiarity of Cubism is showing the depth of the object to depict
evoke emotions rather than stimulate the intellect. The paintings of this its identity. For instance, if a kettle has to be presented, the Cubist painter
movement expressed tragic emotions like mental agony, sufferings, would paint a part of the kettle as it appears on the front, and a little part as
poverty, violence According to the presumption ofthe expressionists, it would look laterally. Thus, an attempt to show the kettle from all sides is
real incidents that would terrorize human existence, and the related made. Therefore, these paintings look awkward. The painters of Cubism
emotions therefore ought to be expressed in a distorted fashion. Pleasant did not see nature in its authentic form, and simplify it in geometrical
forms pertaining to aesthetics, charm were prohibited in their realm. While shapes; drawing overlapping or entangled forms. In this 'ism', the
portraying emotions, they did not adhere to compulsions of Realism. They classification and rearrangement of forms is important. The leading
held that all that is desired needs to be expressed, and while doing it, colour, painters of this movement are Picasso and Braque.
medium, etc. cannot prove to be an obstacle. If a painter wishes to show a Cubism is mainly classified into two categories:
green horse, he may very well do it. The leading artists of this movement
• Analytical Cubism
were Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch.
• Synthetic Cubism
Edvard Munch (1863 to 1944 AD)
Analytical Cubism
This Norwegian painter is considered to be a pioneer of
Expressionism. He has depicted the dreadfulness of life through his works. The painters, Picasso and Braque, in the earlier days, depicted many
His best-known work is a painting titled, 'The Scream'. In it, he has painted sides of a single object as they appeared to them. Hence, Painting came to
a scene showing a woman on a bridge screaming loudly. He has used shrill acquire a geometrical aspect, and this style came to be regarded as
colours for the effect. An impactful expression of sound and the emotion it 'Analytical Cubism'.

148 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 149
The characteristics of this style are: a specific level, to keep them together in terms of the context,
• In this style, owing to the focus on the construction of dimensions Synthetic Cubism was developed in the visual and contextual
of forms, colour combination has not been addressed. aspects.
• Conservative Realism is conspicuously absent here. • In order to somewhat identify the objects shown in a painting and so
that its composition turned out to be attractive, a method (collage)
• Many of the works of this era have grey coloured orientation.
of pasting ready-made cuttings, items emerged or in other case,
• The paintings of this period look like a folded paper, after having texture matching the object was used.
been unfolded. One notices the centralization of shapes invariably in the
• This method includes the factor of colour combination.
painting and these many times tend to turn elliptical.
• The paintings in this method were executed by following principles
• Having tried to analyse all
of construction.
dimensions of the forms, a centralization of
space is noticeable. Pablo Picasso (1881 to 1973 AD)
• Having ignored the factor of Picasso, a Spanish painter, grew up in an environment of art. His
proper arrangement of the painting space, father was a Professor in the 'Barcelona Academy of Fine Arts'. He
it looks shallow. encouraged Picasso and provided him formal artistic training in figure
• The art of this era having been drawing and oil painting. Picasso tried out different concepts, methods and
materialistic, factors of emotional context ideas. According to him, aesthetics, colour, drawing and form are all
or specific theme are absent. related to Cubism. He painted with this predilection.
During the war times, canvasses were scarce, and art materials too
Synthetic Cubism
were not available. Picasso made use of whatever he could find around to
The paintings in this category give us a produce works of art. For instance, he created a 'bull's head' sculpture out
sense of the three-dimensional. A colour in of a decrepit bicycle; the handle forming the horns, and the seat as the head
Picasso: Portrait of Wilhelm Uhde relation to the object or a suitable texture is of the bull. This proved to be a modern method in the realm of sculpture. It
used to complete these. Such a texture is is he who established the method of distorting shapes in painting to create a
used only in some part of the painting. Using this texture dimensions are composition. It was he who started the practice of collage art prolifically,
added to the visual. Similarly, a group of objects are taken, and a certain by actually using diverse materials available around us, such as mats,
element out of it is prominently projected, with collage-work arranged in wires, papers, strings, labels, letters and enhanced the scope of visual
relation to the object. For instance., 'Paul in a Clown suit' a collage sensitivity. And it was again he who had the courage to brush aside the
painting by Pablo Picasso, and certain other ones, in the series of clown objectivity aspect of themes in a painting. This is precisely why Picasso is
paintings by him, with texture application. known to the world as the father of Modern Art. His very famous works
include 'Guernica' and 'Three Musicians'.
Characteristics of this style:
• In order to make up for certain limitations which were spotted in Guernica
Analytical Cubism, Synthetic Cubism came into play. This is a famous oil painting by Picasso. It was created in response to
• In the former type of Cubism, forms were fragmented into small the brutal bombing of the Guemica village in Spain, on 26th April 1937,
pieces in a painting, but when it was realized that it was required at destroyed the village com ,ete'l . so is said to have started working on
.~ ..0
150/ The History of Western Art -4 The History of Western Art / 151
French sculptor and doll maker. With a backdrop of this sculpture, stark
contradiction was noticed between the works of the modem painters and
cultural art values. The general public, and the public of the broadcasting
agencies gathered there felt thi too. They labelled this group of Modem
Painters as 'Fauvist', derived from the French words, 'Le Fauve',
meaning 'Wild Beast'. The painters too held on to this epithet and
presented their art accepting it. Thi gave birth to Fauvism.

it after just two days of this incident. He is known to have done about 25 A disdain for realistic value and a tendency to use violet, are the two
preparatory sketches, after which he began painting this 25 x 11 foot main characteristics. There wa nothing wild about them as the epithet
mural. He has used a palette of black, white and grey for it, due to which given to them suggests. Like the Cubists, they largely played with shapes
the despair and mercilessness looks more impactful. In this mural, we see and tried out different experiments with them. But their works turned out to
be so outlandish, that it pricked the fans and art critics. Matisse was a
the emphasis on emotions; and the whole visual has been done with the
leading painter among the Fauvi t .
constructional use of symbols. This painting has projected the dreadfulness
of war to the world. Here he shows a bull as an allegory for symbol of
Henri Matisse (1869 to 1954 AD)
cannibalistic power, and the whining horse for the common people. A
lamenting woman, broken limbs and body parts are shown. This has very Matisse went to Paris and studied law. After earning his degree, he
effectively depicted the terrors of war and destruction. The first protest worked as a court administrator. In hi 20th year, he was bed-ridden due to
against the injustice of the Second World War, the appalling cruelty was an attack of appendicitis. While he was recovering, he took to painting, and
registered by Picasso through 'Guernica'. This explosive expression formed an association with colour and brush. He became possessed by
created by the Cubist method proved more impacting. painting. In his extensive life, he conducted many experiments based on the
elements of colour and shape. He began to intentionally break the
Expressionism and Existentialism affected Picasso severely, but he
conventions of painting. Like a child, he u ed primary colours directly in his
digested it to such an extent that Picasso style was born. The effect of the
works, etched bold lined shapes. Ultimately, he freed himself of colour
Picasso style on his contemporaries and the next generation of artists
combination compulsions, and eliminated the turbidity from colours. He
seems to have effected in some way or the other.
invented unusual techniques of construction. All this makes his portrait
In 1905, artists from Germany, Italy, inspired by painters, Van Gogh, paintings a pleasure to watch. He had uniform ideas about the individual
Cezanne, Gauguin, etc. migrated to Paris. They found Paris to be a perfect and his surrounding environment. The individual, the design on the
place where the environment for experimenting in art was nurturing and individual's attire, the curtain in the background, the bouquet of flowers on
open. The group of painters, Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Georges the table and chairs; he thought of all these together and paint his picture.
Rouault, etc. were involved in conducting entirely different kind of This led to the background and the human figure being interweaved,
experiments. The first exhibition of their paintings was held at the making the face of the figure being included like an object in the beautifully
prestigious, and what is considered to have a traditional legacy, Salon constructed form of colours and lines. Emotions would not be registered on
Gallery in Paris. The Salon had a revered position in the minds of the the face, which nevertheless did not have much significance in the whole
people, and it was a venue which nurtured values of classical art. In the scheme of the painting. It would be considered only as one of the beautiful
centre of the hall, stood a sculpture 'Torso of a Child', by Albert Marquet, objects.

152 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 153
One of the famous portraits by him is 'The Green Stripe', a portrait of established art, Leonardo da Vi nci' s, 'Mona Lisa' , by painting a moustache
and a little beard on the face. This sort of representation in art came to be
his wife.
called, 'Found Object' or 'Readymade'. Some of the Dadaists depicted a
In this painting, the depiction of the face is quite powerful. A distinct mock monkey pasted in a frame and entitled it as 'Portrait of Cezanne'.
band of green in the centre running from the hairline to the chin vertically
(Cezanne is considered to be the father of 'Modern Art'.
splits the face into two parts. The colours used in this painting are the
characteristics of the painting.
His paintings were pleasant. Slowly people began to like them. After Man Ray (1890 to 1976 AD)
the World War I, his paintings touched the highest point of popularity. It
He was an American visual artist. He stuck a vertical line of nails in
seemed as if the aggrieved and dejected world which had come out of the
the centre of the glossy side of an iron and exhibited it as a sculpture. It
war got a message of the modern-life through his paintings.
arouses the curiosity of the viewer to have viewed an object of everyday
During the First World War, in Zurich, the disappointed and use presented in this fashion.
disillusioned poets and painters gave birth to a new art movement. Its name 'Found Object' is not any object
was Dadaism. This movement began in 1916. found lying around and exhibited,
but a familiar object interpreted
Dadaism differently, and presented, with
The way of looking at life, of people of this movement was destructive, changes made to it, as an art form.
and to express it they began to meaninglessly fiddle with art. This
movement included the Romanian poet, Tristan Tzara, German-French Hans Arp (1886 to 1966
artist, Hans Arp, and German writer, Hugo Ball. 'Dada' is a French word AD)
meaning, 'Toy Horse'. Various kinds of ventures were undertaken through Hans Arp, a German-French
this movement, including public programmes, irrelevant poetry reading, artist, produced works based on
magazines, poster creation, etc. Dadaism flourished through such 'The Laws of Chance'. It is said,
undertakings. they echoed the sentiments evoked
This movement was transformed into a system, thanks to the works of by, and parallels could be drawn to,
certain artists. Dadaism was a rebellion against war. War brought about a 'the chaos during the war'. He is
great loss to social life. All that was considered pure, was wiped out known to have experimented in the beginning, by kind of accidental collage,
without leaving a trace and man's emotions were futilely crushed; this was using torn and pasted paper. Similarly, Tristan Tzara, the Romanian and
the claim of Dadaism. But this was not a meaningless craze created by French avant-garde poet, playwright, art critic expressed meaninglessness
artists. If we examine the work of these artists, we realize that this was an by joining and arranging disparate letters, text from newspaper cuttings.
incisive comment on the hapless situation of that period. Certain instances Thus, Dadaism in the real sense proved to be only a sign of the 'state
of Dadaism artists are as follows: of mind'. Later, from Dadaism, emerged 'Surrealism'.

Marcel Duchamp (1887 to 1968 AD) Surrealism

In 1917, Duchamp, a French-American painter exhibited a work of a It is indeed based on dreams. Visions, day-dreaming and the 'as pliable
'porcelain urinal' as a sculpture form, with the signature, 'R. Mutt' written as dreams', power of imagination are the foundations of surrealism.
clearly on the piece. He also kind of parodied the much exalted, symbol of

The History of Western Art / 155

154/ The History of Western Art
Dreams are a part of life. The occurrences at the sub-conscious level are
Abstract Art
volatile and unrestrained, free from all sorts of ethical compulsions. These
happenings are free of even limitations of time. Surrealism is largely An important
related to the Freudian theories of dreaming. (Freudian Theory: The visions debate among all the
of dreams are not projected as they are in reality, but in unimaginably debates is the debate
changed forms. Because if they are projected as they are in real, then due of 'abstract art'.
to fear or inhibition, there is the terrifying thought of dreams being broken. Abstract art can be
Since it is imperative that dreams are not broken in order that desires are considered to be the
fulfilled, these desires project themselves in changed forms in the dreams, prominent art style of
and familiar images seem strange, and stranger ones familiar.) The a few past decades.
surrealist painters of those times considered themselves as devices that The artists following
captured the sound emanating in the latent state of sleep. They devotedly this style do not
believed that dreams can immensely contribute to solving numerous represent any object
problems of the mind. Therefore, they began to paint pictures that seemed found in the
like having been arranged with elements gathered from the imaginative surroundings. According to this sch 01 of thought, only form and colour are
realm. The leading painters of Surrealism were Salvador Dali, Marc the two elements of significance in abstract art. There is no strand of
Chagall, Max Ernst. relation between these abstract forms and the ones found in the real world.
It is futile to inquire, what theme has the artist dwelled upon in the painting,
Salvador Dali (1904 to 1989 AD) or which event, incident ha been depicted. Everything that has been
Dali initiated the process of rendering tangible form to the thoughts on depicted is abstract. Therefore, to understand abstract paintings and to
the science of psychology. For instance, the visual of closet drawers revel in their artful joy, one needs to be educated about enjoying the
coming out of a feminine form. In his famous painting 'The Persistence of pleasures of only colour and shapes. In short, abstract art and realistic art
Memory', he shows - an ocean expanse in the background; on the front are almost mutually exclusive. This is an up-to-date modem style of art.
towards the left a plinth, and on it a shrunk barren tree, melted clocks all There are no compulsions in abstract art, of any subject, nation, religion or
over on the tree, plinth; an ants-infested clock and on the floor in the front: ethical rules. The painters of abstract art are disposed to arrive at their
a weird form; a composition of such disparate and incoherent forms is seen aesthetic expression only through the arrangement of colour and shapes,
in this work. and therefore have painted pictures empha izing on abstract exclusively.
The leading painters of abstraction of the first-half of the 20th century are
A strange mix of the truth and dreamscape is revealed in this painting.
Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Joan Mir6, Piet Mondrian. Their art is also
An attempted harmony of academic technique, and a miraculous and
addressed as 'Non-objective Painting'.
imaginative vision, is seen to have been brought about in this Dali's
painting. His works brought about an awakening on the contemporary Expressionism, as has been mentioned, was initiated in Germany.
society. There are two classes of artists of this style:
A few painters absolutely refused to consider themes as important part • The Bridge
of paintings, and began to just colour the canvas. Such paintings created by • The Blue Rider
these artists came to be known as 'Abstract Art'. The expressionism of the class, 'The Bridge' has been touched upon
here before, but the 'The Blue Rider' class includes the painters Wassily
Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, etc. In 1911 AD, in Munich, Wassily

156/ The History of Western Art

The History of Western Art / 157
Kandinsky and a group of like-minded artists formed this class. Kandinsky
had a painting with the same title, which is how this group came to be called
'The Blue Rider'. All these artists were fond of the colour 'blue'.
These artists were inclined to indulge in expressions of the sub-
conscious, dormant mind. The works of this era are een to have turned
more and more abstract. Paul Klee's paintings too are seen to have grown
gradually abstract, based on his individual experiences. The wonders of a
child are experienced through his paintings. He has put forth a new form of
abstract art.
The thought behind this kind of abstract art was that, instead of getting
entangled in false, materialistic values, people must become aware of their
self, inner world. This abstract art reveals the use of abstract language,
priority to expressions and variety of medium. This is precisely why this
period is seen to have prepared a background for the evolution of all the he began to contemplate on creating his works without objectivity. After
arts of the future. reflecting on colours, their codified meaning, the forms created while
applying colour; he slowly began to perceive the subjectivity of colours. He
Wassily Kandinsky (1866 to 1944 AD) began to relate colours with spirituality. He said, 'Art creation is a creative
Kandinsky used to teach law and economics, which he gave up and process that is conducted at a latent level; the painter just plays the role of
embraced the path of art. This Russian artist rendered resembling form to an agent and onlooker.' About hi art he states, 'I experience the same
all natural elements and rejected the method of realistic depiction of the emotions as may have been experienced by Michelangelo, while making
natural identity of objects. The forms in his painting look like they are 'The Creation of Adam', in my painting arrangement conducted with the
entangled with each other or derived from one another. His paintings are use of triangles, circles.' One more feature of Kandinsky's works is that
mostly sequentially numbered and untitled. The paintings rendered by him the colours and forms cannot be eparated in his paintings.
reveal the use of forms and lines for construction, and have refreshing
colour combinations. Hence, despite his works being allegorical, they are a Joan Miro (1893 to 1983 AD)
treat to watch. They may be having resembling forms for namesake, but it He was a Spanish painter who painted pictures based on dispositions
is cannot be said necessarily that they would be related to the original of surrealism and dreaminess. His pictures give a sense of the wonderful
forms. The whole painting weighs heavily on the mind. He has tried in his illusion found in the fantastic universe of children. The objects in the spatial
works to manifest his inner feelings. He experimented invariably with perspecti ve rendered in his painting do not necessarily have any ~onn~ction
colour application and shapes. He says that the glittering colours and the with each other. The tendency to appreciate the dormant feelings III the
brushstrokes in his works make them to talk to him. About the various mind had impressed itself on the society then. Miro's paintings do not in
symbolic forms, he has rendered he says, that they have emerged from his any way reveal intellectualism or emotional anxiety, but an attempt to
experiences. transcend these to depict the latent feelings in the mind can be seen. The
Kandinsky was first influenced by the Expressionistic methods. He forms in the imaginative space of Miro's paintings are unnatural, yet one
believed immensely in the spiritual in art. He later came to Paris, and was can identify forms such as Sun, Moon, Stars, Feminine figures, Sparrow,
very impressed by the meaningful colour application of Henri Matisse. But etc. and the viewer tends to get lost in the wonderful world. For instance,
he did not want the objectivity of Matisse's works in his paintings. Hence,

The History of Western Art / 159

158/ The History of Western Art
the painting, 'Women and Bird in the Moonlight'. Also, one senses on association. He was keen on entitling hi paintings himself, as he believed
seeing certain works where he has painted imaginative forms, a that the viewers ought to perceive the same visual as he did. He depicted
resemblance to insects-spiders and weird beasts. For e.g., his painting objects in sizes smaller than the original. He ~erefore used smaller
'Motherhood'. Miro's pictures give us a feeling that his depiction is not just canvasses. He has used differ nt media together. Lively colours and wavy
art, but a research technique, which manifests hidden beauty and an lines are the features of hi paintings.
imaginative world. Paul Klee's principle is, that an arti t is like a tree trunk, and his
experiences are the roots. He derives e sence from his roots and creates
Paul Klee (1879 to 1940 AD) art. He expresses this essence in paintings and conveys them through floral
He was a German-Swiss painter. He possessed an independent and and foliage forms.
individualistic style. The themes he dealt with for his paintings were In 1917 AD, 'The Style', a Dutch Artistic Movement came into
entirely expressions of his imagination. He is considered to be a existence. It consisted of mainly poets, painters and architects. This
compassionate and sensitive artist of the modem era. Rather than movement later came to be known as 'Neoplasticism'.
reconciling with the social practices-beliefs, he relied on his self-belief.
The magical element in his paintings is a great contribution to Modem Art. Neoplasticism
Instead of being shackled in the established art methods, this artist
Neoplasticism was founded in Netherlands. 25% of its te,:ain b~in.g
constantly tried to hold a futuristic view of art. He was influenced by
below sea-level, the horizon line is r und to be constantly changing. This 1S
Surrealism. He was fond of Music; which manifested in his paintings. The
said to have affected the paintings. Also, the presumption that developed
harmony in music, the method of the notes unravelling, one after the other,
among the artists was that simplicity itself is purity, an~ this purity c~
is seen in his works. He like Cezanne, firmly believed that the soul of
manifest through vertical and horizontal aspects of design. The plastic
nature lies in what lies within, not in the exterior.
element means the design element of the materialistic world visible to the
In 1920, he, along with Kandinsky taught at the Bauhaus School of Art, eye. For instance, a tree grow vertically as well a.s ~oriz?nt~l~. The
Design and Architecture, in Germany. Meanwhile, he grew fond of nature of expanse of every object was understood in 1tS slm~hc1ty by
concepts in African art, and he studied them. He did not adopt these; artists and which was consciously presented through their works.
instead he created out of his own unique imagination. His works reflect the Neopl~sticism is based on the mathe~atici~n M.~.J. Sch?enmaekers'
influence of children's psyche on him. He tried to explore the world of formulated principles, in which the entire universe 1Sperce1ved. thro.ugh
happiness, with a child's perspective; experiencing feelings of joy, wonder. vertical and horizontal energy-source. According to him, the vertical lines
He compassionately addressed their feelings, embracing them and began are energy of the solar rays, whereas horizontal lines me~ the stability of
to understand their problems. Therefore, his paintings have a resemblance
to those painted by children. At first sight, his paintings may appear
Earth. Three primary colours are seen to have been used m th~ wO;ks
this era. 'Yellow' stands for the velocity of the Sun, as agamst Blue
childish, but gradually while one engages with every form in them, the denoting stability, and 'Red' which accomplishes the compound effect of
mysteries are unravelled to the world. Simplicity, delicate lines, dreamy, all.
meaningful details, etc.; the characteristics of drawings by little children
are seen in Klee's paintings. Also,, they seem like fairy tale descriptions. Piet Mondrian (1872 to 1944 AD)
Paul Klee, was the first such modem artist who studied the psyche of He was a Dutch painter. Derived from the mathematical and
the innocent human-child. He was the first to keenly engage with the philosophical formulations, Mondrian's painting philosophy was sha~ed.
ideas-fantasies of little minds. He constructed a new universe of His paintings are seen to have been made using horizontal and vertical
imagination by linking the observations of children, nature and their close

The History of Western Art / 161

160/ The History of Western Art
lines. He painted many visuals of trees. Trees grow vertically as well as paintings were always larg in size. 11 laimed, 'due t? .the large ~anva . it
horizontally. He tried to depict this basic tendency. In the beginning, he becomes convenient to move the body at will, and facilitates playing With
rendered branches of trees, their interweaving, the trunks, the sleeping and colours.'
standing lines. He then used colour, and developed an individualistic style. His painting, 'Blue Poles', which has blue thick verticalline~, over the
One gets the feel of this after seeing his painting, 'Boogie Woogie'. It has backdrop of pink and yell wish lin s, is a famous work. Earlier, ~any
blocks of red and blue, with yellow lines running throughout. In his critics from Europe, America ridiculed these kind of, theme-less or subJec.t-
compositional paintings, along with yellow, we ee the use of black less paintings. But around 1950, this method found many f?llo,:er~ III
outlines. Breaking away from the conventional painting parlance, Europe. Yet, critics kept on attacking. It wa not ~at Pollock s pamtm~
Mondrian created paintings of extensively fluid and spiritual aspects. He is influenced only the young paint rs. Even paJ?ters .who were. hi
a very significant contributor to the Neoplasticism Movement. contemporaries, or painter eld r to him and working With con.ventlo?al
In the beginning, he was drawn to Cubism of Picasso and Braque. approach, had begun to experiment with new methods and techniques like
Later he evolved to only lines, linear forms, and latticed design of vertical, his.
horizontal lines, in paintings of trees. The square , the parallelograms
formed due to these lines, are visible in his works. These designed and Futurism
clean-cut lines were painted with black or white colours by Mondrian, In the paintings of this 'i m', s metimes recur:rin~ lin~s around for~
while the squares and parallelograms with shining hues. The purity of e lin s the main objective is to make til!
are ren dere d . Through the ., .
colour and forms, and the ease, are the features due to which Mondrian's paintings look like moving ones. Thu ,the u e of hnes to denote movement,
works make an impression on the mind. proves complementary to the context expressed through the whol
In the later phase, Expressionism emerged in Abstract art as well, painting.
which came to be called 'Abstract Expressioni m'. The famous painter, The Italian artists realized the new connection between the speed and
Jackson Pollock belonged to this. products brought about due to the emergence of communic.ation res~~r~es
owing to mechanical progress. Thi relation wa based on visual ~enSitlVlty
Jackson Pollock (1912 to 1956 AD) of experiences. The objecthood of the peedy objects of ~xper:ence was
Pollock was an American painter. He began painting during the year on the verge of getting destroyed. The Futurists tried to depict this.sen e of
1947 using liquid paint. The method adopted by him is called 'drip transformation. A visual language evolved while doing ~s. Drawing fr?m
technique'. He believed that due to this technique, inner feelings are this, movements of the natural object (humans, beasts). in the surrounding
manifested in abstract art. He spread the large stretched canvas on the began to be seen by these artists with the same m~ense. awarenes e
floor, pierced holes in the paint cans, and began pouring the dripping paint Therefore, movements of race hor e, dome tic dog, flying bird, also ar
allover the canvas. While doing so, aping a spider weaving its web, he seen to have become subjects of their paintings.
began to pour horizontal, vertical, diagonal-shaped drips and lines. He even At the outset, Futurism, the movement in literature, was founded b~ ~
smeared himself with paint and rolled his body on the canvas. He Italian poet, Filippo Marinetti, in 1909, through a declaration. He stat~ IIIIt,
emphasized only on the inspirational power of the mind and internal that speed was their God, and the new measure of be~uty was speed its~I~.
thoughts, bereft of logic, and did not simultaneously think of any other kind Certain Italian artists ofFuturi m were Russolo, Carra, ~alla, and Sevenfll.
of plan or specific form. During the year 1947, the notes he has prepared They regarded as more important 'the issue that combme~ together - th
along with the paintings, give an idea of the thoughts that occupied conduction that was felt through everal forms denved from, th
Pollock's mind while he painted and help shed light on his works. His movements in the visual, and the painted objects and the background . T

The History of Western Art I 163

162 / The History of Western Art
implem~nt. this, they took aid of the colour-division from Neo- Auguste Rodin (1840 to 1917 AD)
Impressionism, besides the plane-division of Cubism. Even This sculptor worked in the impre sionistic mould. In his marble
Crono~otografia, which was ~omething that spotted the many stages of sculptures, he has kept the prominent parts glossy, and the others rough.
hu~an s mov~ments, and which was a type of photography practised by Through this contrast he ha br ught liveliness in his works. The very
artists, Muybndge and Marey had references to Futurism. famous creation of his is the id I 'The Thinker' . Rodin was a great admirer
of the poet, Dante. Therefore, he had intended to title this sculpture 'The
Symbolism Poet' initially. This idol is 78 in hes in height, 51 inches in width, and 52
This movement began at the end of inches in depth. A strong looking, larger than life nude male figure is seen
the 19th century in France, Russia and sitting on a rock, gazing down, with his right-hand elbow resting on the left
Belgium. The symbols borrowed from knee and his chin resting on the inverted palm of his hand; a thoughtful
mainly poetry and other art literature pose, as it were. The left-hand rest on the left knee, with its fingers
were used in paintings. The reactio~ downwards. The frame of the idol is neat and sharp. One gets a feeling
against Realism and Naturalism was that this lost in thought thinker may in a moment raise his chin and look up.
converted into Symbolism. Symbolism His aspects are rather moving, with his physicality, clean-cut limb ,
backs spirituality, imaginative power protruding veins on the inward-turned hand on which the chin rests, the
and dreams. The famous painter of this sturdiness of the wrist, and the firm muscles. Both his cheeks are hollow,
movement was Carlos Schwabe, (1866 which may have been shown 0, to suggest the result of long time
to 1926 AD), from Germany. When his pondering. Though the moulding of the eyes, nose, ears are a bit uneven,
close friend pas ed away, he painted, yet they seem very human. The fingers of the left-hand convey a lot. The
'Death and the Gravedigger' . A fingers of the hands and feet are remarkably characteristic in Rodin'
dramatic arrangement of Death sculptures. Through the construct of
symbolized by the Angel and the hands, Rodin reveals the mind and
... Gravedigger, pure-white snow is character of the subject.
playe.d out m this creation. The painter tries to show symbolicall d th Several of his subjects' hands,
a d Iif dins i Y ea ,
n . .e surroun rng It. Schwabe is known to have modelled his wife for like the Thinker's, are very
depicting the angel. communicative. He believed, the
. . Experi~ents tru:ough.various art movements still continue. Every artist attributes of the human behaviour
IS mvolved m .creatrng his or her own individualistic style, giving rise to ought to be perceived through the
~ewer styles, l~e Pop Art, Action Painting, Colourful Painting,, It is composition of hands, rather than
mdeed not possible to cover everything here. the nose, eyes or lips. Pieces on the
composition of hands of many of his
Sculpture works like, 'The Kiss', 'Eve' have
been written. Of these, 'The Kiss',
The emergence of art movements in the painting sector had its effects
an idol of a man and woman in a
?n sculpture too. ~e sculptors of Germany, England are seen to have been
kissing embrace, caused a sensation
~mpacted by Realism. Moved by this influence, they were driven to create
Idols of leaders, poets, etc. on many accounts.

164/ The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / J65
Henry Moore (1898 to 1986 AD) seems to have handled several ubjects in sculpture, among which again,
He was a first-rate, leading sculptor of the 20th century, known for his nature and human image are mo t1y found. Faith in the concept of
enormous bronze sculptures. He was born in 1898 in Castleford village of 'family', devotion and respect are inherent in his works.
Yorkshire. He was the son of a coal-miner. He desired to be a sculptor The movement of modern culpture is seen to run parallelly with the
from his childhood. While in England, observing and studying the rock- movement in painting. Sculptors, like painters are prone to free themselv~s
formations there, the art inclination in him was further escalated. The from the compulsions of objective artworks, and are seen to be absorbed ill
landscape and hills in Castleford proved immensely inspirational to Henry's creating modern experimental sculpture.
creative disposition. He had a remarkable tendency towards nature
observation and exploring wonders of the smaller things. Sometimes he Architecture
found this wonderment in a little piece of rock, or sometimes in the remains The 19th century architecture continued to be conducted in the
of an animal, or at times in a completely barren tree-branch. erstwhile feudal fashion. There wa not much of difference. Today, one
Apart from this, certain seemingly-strange events too provided a does see a change happening. In the 19th century - railway stations,
motivation in Henry's sculpture journey. A nice instance to cite would be; factories, business centres, ocial and political offices, large houses for
about his mother's ailment due to arthritis. Henry used to often nurse her living, theatre houses and cinema hall ,airports, etc. were b~ilt in tandem
painful back-bone with massage. In the process, the form of his mother's with the needs of the modern society. It involved the use of iron, cement,
spine that his hands could sense, was replicated in his sculpture 'The concrete, glass, aluminium, etc. Thi transformation is seen to have t~en
Seated Woman'. In 1957, Henry completed this creation. He firmly opined, place in the beginning of the 20th century with great speed. The castmg
that it is as important for a and motif designing of the earlier con truction became redundant, because
sculpture to be addressed in the modern society found the e ob olete. Egyptian era, Greek, Roman,
detail on the back side, as it is Renaissance Ages, Baroque era methods - all remained just as a part of
while being moulded on its front historical study.
side. In the 19th century, innovative experiments began to be applied,
His sculptures are located all especially in countries like England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Am~ric~.
round across the globe as public The city of Paris was completely transformed to become the best CIty ill
works of art. They are found to Europe. A new phase began in the hi tory of architecture. The hono~ of
have been installed in parks, or starting a new movement in architecture is attributed to Amencan
on mountains. With open sky, architect 'Frank Lloyd Wright'.
greenery and rocks serving as a Le Corbusier, Walter Gropiu are the leading architects of the 20th
backdrop, his unmatched works century. Aesthetical form and u efulness were combine~ to erect
seem to be a part of nature. structures. Certain distinct characteristics of 20th century architecture are:
The simple, straight, huge Fitting of large glasses in place of walls and building of multifloored
and somewhat abstract form of skyscrapers.
the human anatomy in his New cities were built and setup. Population began swelling; scarcity of
sculptures leave one astounded. space became an in-the-face issue. To solve these ~rob~e~s, architects
Henry's works always reveal his drafted new plans. Buildings for hospitals, schools, universities, offices, ~
special individualistic style. He museums, began to be erected. Moreover, mills, factories increased In

166 I The History of Western Art The History of Western Art I 167
The Prehistoric Period
number, and structures were built for them as well. All in all, ever-novel
and varied forms of architecture began to be constructed. The Middle Ages: Ancient Christian and Byzantine Art
Today, due to the discoveries in technology and science, industrial
development is rapidly increasing. Add to it, the advent of Information
Technology. The world therefore is rapidly shrinking. Catering to the need
of the times, advertising and commercial art have gained widespread
popularity. All these changes are seen to influence 'Art' eventually. Even
if an international style has developed today, artists of varied countries are
engrossed in exploring innovative ideas. Their struggle and endeavour to
find newer expressions of 'aesthetics' goes on.

Cave paintings at Lascaux Vladimir Madonna

Christ entering Jerusalem - Duccio

168 / The History of Western Art
The History of Western Art / 169
Period of Awakening: Age of Renaissance

The Tribute Money - Masaccio

The Creation of Adam - Michelangelo Buonarroti

The Last Supper - Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa - Leonardo da Vinci
The History of Western Art / 171
170 / The History of Western Art
Modern Era: Baroque Art Modern Era

Girl with a Red Hat - The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus - Peter
Johannes Vermeer Paul Rubens

Angelus - Jean-Francois Millet The Raft of the Medusa - Theodore Gcricault

The Artist's
Studio -
The Night Watch - Rembrandt Gustave

172 / The History of Western Art The History of Western Art / 173
The Bathers - Pierre Auguste
Dancers at the bar - Renoir
Edgar Degas

Object Drawing -
Paul Cezanne

Olympia - Edouard Manet

Luncheon on the Grass - Starry Night -

Edouard Manet Vincent van Gogh

174 / The History of Western Art

A Sunday afternoon - Georges-Pierre Seurat

The Dance - Henri


Improvisation 27 - Wassily Kandinsky The Scream - Edvard Munch

176 / The History of Western Art