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The Body II – The subjective body

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The Body II – The subjective body

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  1. By the end of the 19th century, some artists were treating the figure in radically different ways. There was a move away from describing the figure illusionistically, as we have seen previously. There was a growing interest in the subjective, that is, our own personal responses, feelings and attitudes towards the world, as individuals. Artists found that distorting the figure could be a powerful way to describe feelings. The Body II – The subjective body Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863 – 1944) The Scream, 1893, oil, tempera & pastel on canvas, 91 x 74cm.

  2. Vampire II, 1893, lithograph, 29 x 55cm Madonna, 1894-95. Oil on canva, 91 x 70 cm

  3. Life at the end of the 19th/ beginning of 20th century was becoming increasingly industrialised and urbanised. People were becoming more individualised and alone. The machinewas becoming more a part of people’s lives. Some artists rebelled against this, and interest in subjectivity, dreams, death, the imagination, the occult and spirituality became popular. This was called Symbolism. NOTE: Some Symbolist art was going on at the same time as Impressionism. There was no one single way of describing the world. Fernand Khnopff(Belgian,1858 – 1921) The caresses, 1896, oil on canvas, 51 x 151cm

  4. Symbolism had a lot in common with the Romantic movement of the beginning of the 19th century. These ideas never truly went away. • Review of Romantic ideas…. • Emphasis on emotion; drama; imagination. • Power of nature; • Subjectivity and individuality of the artist; • Importance of feeling over objective truth and fact. • The Symbolist’s art was a long way from Realists like Manet and the various Impressionist styles, who were interested in the real, modern world (more or less.) Another common Symbolist feature was the Idea of the power of woman as a witch; Goddess; vampire – the femme fatale – deadly woman. This of course was a male idea about what women were, or might be. It takes away the true nature of any particular woman. We can see this in Munch’s images.

  5. OdilonRedon (French, 1840-1916) Cup of Mystery, 1890, oil on canvas, 58 x 36cm For the Symbolists, an idea wasmore important than a realistic depiction of Nature. There was often an interest in literature or stories, myths, legends etc (sound familiar?)However, often the surface of the work was very decorative; and the overall treatment of the image was mysterious and imaginative. Colour was often very important. Gustave Moreau (French, 1826 –1898) The Apparition, 1876, watercolour on paper, 105 x 72cm

  6. Arte Nouveau, another art movement, was happening around the end of the 19th century also, and had a somewhat different flavour to Symbolism. The Art Nouveau style was used for design and decoration,including architectural decoration. Again, scenes from everyday life were not valued as they had been in Impressionist art. In Art Nouveau, a sinuous curve was a common feature. As with Symbolism, there was much less interest in the realistic treatment of skin and form. Aspects of design became more important, often inspired by Nature but not describing Nature in a realistic manner. Also, the surfaces of things was valued. Beauty was valued. Alphonse Mucha, Maude Adams as Joan of Arc, 1909, 208 x 76cm, oil on canvas. This image was designed as A poster to advertise the play ‘Joan of Arc’.

  7. Aubrey Beardsley (U.K, 1872 – 1898) Design for the frontispiece to John Davidson’s plays, 1894, ink & graphite on paper, 29 x 19cm William H Bradley, (U.S. 1868 – 1962)Thanksgiving No. from The Chapbook 1895, journal cover. With Art Nouveau there was a blurring of boundaries between fine arts (traditionally this was architecture; painting; sculpture ) and applied or decorative arts : jewellery; furnishings; design; ceramics; graphic arts. There was a desire to regard all these art forms as equal, rather than the fine arts being seen as superior.

  8. By the end of the 19th century, advertising and signage were becoming more widely used. Bearing in mind the increase in industrial production, how might this affect our Conceptual Framework? (That is, the relationshipsbetween artist, artwork, audience and world…) Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860 – 1939) Nature, c.1900, gilt bronze, silver, marble, amethyst, 69 x 27 x 30; Hector Guimard ( French 1867 – 1942) Metrosigns Paris, c. 1900

  9. Art Nouveau ideas were used in architecture as well: Rene Lalique (French 1860 – 1945) Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, 23 x 26cm, 1897-8, Gold, chrysoprase, enamel, moonstones and diamonds. Louis Comfort Tiffany, (U.S. 1848 – 1943)Vase, glass, 1893-6