Contemporary Art Concepts

The term ‘contemporary art’ denotes art that are current or produced in recent times. Art from the post World War II is often considered contemporary art. However, as an artwork stands through the test of time, it does not remain contemporary any more. It is then known as historical art. Generally, works of art are considered contemporary if they are produced from 20th Century onwards. However, it should not ideally always be the case. How would piece of art, which was produced well after the 20th Century, be considered an instance of contemporary art if it has an ancient theme and originated via orthodox methods? Well, it would be hardly considered a piece of contemporary art.

In order to consider an art as contemporary, a few factors have to be kept in mind. The first one of them is of course the idea or theme of the art. The idea of art needs to be contemporary in order to get it recognized as contemporary. A study of the evolution and history of art would reveal much about how the idea of contemporary art came about. The technology, techniques, concepts and media adopted for producing art largely defines if an art is contemporary or not.

Contemporary techniques like single brush strokes, that is, producing a form of art with the help of a single brush stroke, help to complete the artwork in a much lesser time. Speed is the prime factor that helped this contemporary artwork technique to become popular. Newer technologies are often used to create 2D and 3D models which are more defined than the traditional ones. Acrylic paints, which are water-based, non-toxic and fast drying, are the contemporary choice of paint medium for many artists in the present times.

All these examples prove only one thing. The three main factors that contribute towards coining art as contemporary are simplicity, speed and convenience. However, when it comes to concepts, the contemporary sense becomes a little confusing. “Contemporary concepts” is a relative term. What seems to be contemporary to some might not be the same for others. In order to remove this confusion, the date and age of the artwork are taken into consideration. This provides the line that distinguishes contemporary artworks from the traditional.

So we can see, it’s not only the timeline that is considered while coining a work of art as contemporary, rather contemporary art is a combination of modern techniques, choice of medium, simplicity, speed and convenience.

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The Art Of Love: Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War In Romantic Endeavour

Military historians have often speculated that Napoleon Bonaparte may have utilized Sun Tzu’s timeless treatise The Art of War in his victorious campaigns, losing only when he failed to follow its rules. Certainly, his often stunning mobility would indicate that perhaps he did. One thing is certain; The Art of Warwritten over two and a half centuries ago, had been translated into French in 1782 by the Jesuit, Father Amiot and was available to the Emperor. But if he did read and apply it, he wisely kept it to himself. Mao Tse-tung however made no secret that Sun Tzu formed the source of his copious works on military strategy, tactics and guerilla warfare and his writings follow the master almost word for word. And, clearly, the fingerprints of Sun Tzu are indelible when one examines the military defeat of France at Dien Bien Phu ending their role in Indo China, and, in what may be his shining hour, the defeat of the United States of America in Vietnam. The Art of War is probably the finest treatise on the conduct of warfare ever written. But what about its application in other fields, other endeavours?

In recent years we’ve seen a spate of books applying Sun Tzu’s rules of war to business strategy which includes most notably Mark McNeilly’s Sun Tzu and the Art of BusinessDavid H. Li’s Art of Leadership by SunTzu and The Art of War for Executives by Donald G. Krause. And by all accounts they work very effectively. But this should be no surprise. By any measure, The Art of War can be applied and lead to victory in many battlefronts, international relations, politics, business and in our personal struggle for survival in the socio-economic conflicts we daily face. But what about love? What about the sexual battleground?

My father was a British professional soldier. He caught the tail end of the Second World War serving in the Burma campaign at Imphal and Kohema. He returned to South East Asia in 1948 for the Malayan EmergencyBritain’s victorious 12 year battle to defeat communist insurgency in what is now Malaysia. And it was there that my father came into contact with Sun Tzu’s The Art of Waran encounter that altered the course of his life.

The final years of my father’s military career were spent in what he called the “backwater” of NATO, a military organism he learned to despise as an expensive tax free social club for well connected civilian and military elites. He referred to it as “America’s Foreign Legion. His experiences there led him to firmly believe that in a confrontation with the armies of the Warsaw Pact, NATO would have been swept aside like a flimsy cobweb.

Throughout his career, my father made no secret of his belief that Sun Tzu should be on the curriculums of all military colleges and even schools and universities and that military promotion should be contingent on a high passing grade in knowledge of Sun Tzu. Unfortunately, as Sun Tzu was obligatory in the political and military organisms in the Soviet Union and of course China, it was considered part of the philosophy of the Warsaw Pact, I believe my father’s open advocacy of him cost him dearly in terms of promotion.

When he retired with the rank of Colonel, he moved back to England and took up his love of fly fishing. But military history was his real passion. And he enjoyed re-visiting historic battles and applying Sun Tzu’s rules of engagement to the great battles of the past.

Visiting dad was, for me, always a pleasure in itself. But it was especially enhanced by the many delightful and lovely ladies who shared his life. My mother died when I was young, a schoolboy, and my father never re-married. Yet he had an endless coterie of lovely girlfriends. I was always puzzled since my father, while a charming and intelligent man, was no film star. Nor was he, strictly speaking, a ladies man. But he was a very successful lover. And his greatest conquest was Tam.

Tam was Eurasian, born in Saigon to a Vietnamese schoolteacher mother and a Danish diplomat father. A lawyer, Tam specialized in international law and worked in SHAPE, the headquarters of NATO’s Allied Command Operations in the Belgian town of Mons. She was employed in the civilian section of NATO and it was there that my father, working in military intelligence, met her. A woman of great beauty, very well educated and of independent means, she was also a linguist in fluent command of Danish, Vietnamese, French, German and English. When I first met her in Brussels she was working on Flemish (Dutch). At 35, she was closer to my age than my father’s and for a while I was jealous. I wondered how he was able to woo such a lovely, young woman, a speculation that was only answered after his death.

After he passed away, as his only offspring, I took on the responsibility of winding up his estate. I had known since childhood that he kept daily journals, but only after his death did I come to know how copious a diarist he had been. Fascinated, I steeped myself in the volumes of neat handwritten records that filled his library shelves. And it became clear that, for my father The Art of War was more than just a military text. For him it was about an overall life strategy for overcoming obstacles, a tool to attain specific goals. Consequently he applied it to most aspects of his life. And this included matters of the heart.

In his diaries my father wrote frankly on the methods used to win the ladies who attracted him. He was not always successful as sometimes the ladies were simply not interested, and not even Sun Tzu could overcome that. But in the cases where he had a glimmer of a chance, but where the conditions were difficult or unfavorable, the application of the Sun Tzu’s Rules won the day. This was especially true in the case of Tam.

As they moved in very different circles and worked in different areas, he saw her rarely and then usually in dry, stuffy meetings in the company of others. She had a luxurious home in Brussels in the exclusive suburb of Uccle, while dad rented a simple Mons flat. But whenever he encountered her alone as he occasionally did, such as in the office cafeteria, she offered a ready smile and he made a point of joining her. Sensing he had a chance, he moved quickly. Above all else, he needed to know everything about her. And so he used spies.

He hired an expensive, high quality and very discreet private detective agency and set them to task. And they were more than thorough. Apart from their normal surveillance they penetrated Tam’s citadel by replacing her cleaning lady for a single visit and that was enough. They handed my father everything he needed. He now knew her tastes in music, literature and art as well as her favorite foods and sports: she was an accomplished and keen sailor and sea kayaker. An accomplished pianist herself, she loved classical music and was an especially fond of Elgar as well as being a jazz buff and a Stan Getz fan. He knew where she shopped for clothes and even the brand name of her underwear. She had been married once to a Danish business man, was now divorced, and had a teenage son in school in Denmark. With photocopies of her diary in his hands, dad had her social itinerary for several months ahead. He also now knew something about the men in her life: his adversaries and how formidable they were. She had many men friends and, it appeared, four serious suitors: an American Major-General in NATO, a senior French Diplomat with the French Embassy in Brussels, a successful Belgian artist, a painter of impressive quality, some of whose works hung in her apartment. The fourth was a rich Swiss socialite. My father’s next step was to know more about them, specifically about their foibles, weak points and vulnerable areas. He was well aware of his own, particularly with reference to the ground where the contest would unfold. Sun Tzu said: “If you know the enemy and know yourselfyou need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” My father would often quote the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz who said: “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” As Sun Tzu said: “All warfare is based on deception.” And so it was with father’s winning of Tam. He began laying plans.

He steeped himself and became erudite in her interests. He developed a taste for jazz and the Big Bands of the ‘forties; he learned to appreciate Miles Davis and enjoy Stan Getz. He attended a sea kayaking symposium in England and took courses in the sport. And having knowledge of Tam’s social itinerary, he was able to surprise her and appear when he was not expected; such as at music concerts. Often he would bring another lady, but just as often he would appear alone

It was at one such “surprise” encounter, a Mozart event, that he hit her for a date and she accepted for dinner and an evening of jazz in a Brussels club the following week. His foot was in the door. He was in her network. He had joined her club.

My father was entirely objective and quite pitiless in the handling of his adversaries. The French Diplomat was a handsome, charming, smooth tongued roguish character. My father found him, very likable. He was also a roué with a secret vice: a penchant for occasional sex with low class underage hookers in a rough Brussels immigrant quarter whorehouse. A police raid found him with two of them one well under age. Faced with arrest he tried bribery: it failed forcing him to use diplomatic immunity. This worked, but resulted in publicity, embarrassment and his fast recall to Paris. And, of course, the news did not pass Tam by and he was out of her life.

Shortly after the demise of the Frenchman, Tam celebrated her thirty sixth birthday. Dad gifted her a boxed set of CD’s, Stan Getz: The Bosa Nova Years – and a nice bound copy of Sun Tzu. She threw a party in the garden behind her home. According to my father it was an impressive event which included an excellent jazz trio, a great buffet prepared by Tam and superb wines. And, according to dad’s diary entry, it was there he began his campaign to dismantle and discredit the American General in Tam’s eyes. Dad engaged him on the American’s hobby horse – Vietnam. Influenced by drink the General became unpleasant and offensive to dad. Tam diplomatically suggested he apologize which he did, and he then left the party early.

My father learned that despite his high tax free salary, the General had a gambling problem and considerable debts, in consequence of which he had engaged in serious black market dealings with a Belgian group based in Liege. A Financial Police raid on a warehouse revealed the General’s connection. To save face, not to mention his pension, and because of his profile, he was allowed to resign his NATO post ahead of his time and quietly moved back to America.

It turned out the Belgian painter was no threat at all, dad discovered; he was never more than a good friend of Tam’s. My father met him, liked him and bought a small painting from him. But the Swiss playboy was another matter.

Tam and he were old lovers and dad could see why. In his early forties, Hans had everything: a friendly outgoing personality and an infectious smile, good looks, a great athletic physique – and money to burn. He’d never worked or had employment of any kind. He played fine tennis and often coached Tam with her game. But his big passion was motor racing and he drove well and with panache, winning many races. He’d wanted to be a world class professional, but lacked the required discipline and commitment. And it was at a race meeting at Spa Franco-Champs that my father met him. Tam took my father to watch Hans race a Porsche in a sports car event. Unfortunately he crashed out of the race at the complex and infamous Eau Rouge corner while in contention for the lead and ended up in hospital with broken bones and concussion.

My father had no wish to share his women and Tam was no exception. He liked Hans and wished him no ill but he needed to move him from all proximity to Tam’s bed. He was working on that when fate took a hand. Hans suddenly announced from Zurich that he was going to be married for the first time. The lady was a lovely young French fashion model of 21 years. He sent out invites to all his friends including Tam and my father. Tam declined. Instead, she sent him a card signed by her and dad.

Tam remained with my father for many years. I last saw her after his death when she came over to England for his wake. No longer young, but still impressively beautiful, she had retired to live in Denmark. She invited me to visit, but I never took the offer up. She remains to this day one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. I was given my first copy of the Art of War on my sixteenth birthday, a gift from my father. I didn’t read it then and it lay neglected on my bookshelf. Dad would often quote Sun Tzu, reminding me of such wisdom as: “If you know the enemy and know yourself you will not fear the result of a hundred battles.” He would also often quote the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz who said: “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” Father would ask me questions could not answer. This disappointed him, so to keep the peace I got down to it and studied Sun Tzu. And I’m glad I did; what a wonderful it is. It certainly helped me in life.

Did The Art of War work for me in romantic endeavor? Well, yes it did. Following my father’s lead, and being already well aware of its potency in overcoming conflict and achieving victory, using The Art of War as a tool in developing romantic relationships came natural to me. Using the 13 Rules of Engagement to win on the sexual battlefront was remarkably easy. I have also come to believe it has been used this way by many other people. And not just by men. I believe that the great divaPamela Harriman, probably the 20th century’s most prominent courtesan used Sun Tzu in her many conquests. I once read an article on her and the writer mentioned seeing The Art of War on her book shelf. And reading of her exploits suggests she applied deception in her strategic and tactical drive to get the men she wanted. But if she did use him, like most people who utilize SunTzu, she took the secret to her grave.

There is no question that the Art of War provides us with powerful tools that can be applied to deal with conflict and difficulties in business or personal objectives. In sexual relationships, for men and women both, it excels no less.

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Marigold – Art Galleries Selling European Art In India

Marigold is one of the finest art gallery in Delhi, Introducing the Art lover to the Contemporary European art work in India, We have assembled literally thousands of famous works of art from the classics like Leonardo Da Vinci and Claude Monet, to more contemporary European Art work in a convenient and shopping service.

Our Fine Art Gallery have the Vast Collection of  Modern european art, Pop Art, Fine art oil Painting, and abstract oil paintings. Our delicate artists hand-paint everything from famous oil paintings to custom oil painting. All our oil paintings are made in the traditional way, Our artists hand paint each oil painting painstakingly and beautifully. You have pick our all artists names from mfa website.

Marigold Gallery hopes to bring to you the best in contemporary art of Indian & European period. We have an extensive collection of art works from around the World; Our aim is to give people round the globe easy access to good Indian & European Contemporary Art. The positive response is equally spread among art collectors, art lovers, those who are simply eager to see such unique and new art in their country and art students.

The Gallery aspires towards meaningful showings of European art work and discerning fresh artistic ideas with a view to making connections with the wider audience

The Marigold Group is continuing their expansion plan in bringing Luxury art to the Indian Retail segment with the introduction of the Marigold Fine Art Gallery. Paintings, sculptures and lithographs by these artists are available at their gallery at The Claridges Hotel, New Delhi.

Our professional Art Team will be happy to assist you with advice and offer information on the Artists, their works and make your visit an unforgettable experience.

Our Gallery Timing is : 12 pm to 8 pm – All Days a week.

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Why Art and Music Education is Important

For the past ten years, public schools have had trouble funding school programs such as art class and music class. Not having at least some kind of music or art education gives kids a severe disadvantage when they enter college and the work place. In art and music classes, children learn to be creative and use other parts of their brain besides the logical part of the brain used in most school subjects. Also, studies have shown that music and art help kids in other subjects like science and math. Studies have shown, too, that art and music class can help kids gain confidence needed to succeed in school and in the professional world. Finally, in art class, students learn how to use tools like drafting chairs and drafting tables that many professionals use, such as architects and graphic designers. Therefore, it is essential that public schools make sure they get the funding they need to keep these programs alive.

Music and art classes teach kids about creativity. When children are being creative they are using a different part of their brain that they don’t use in regular classes, like math and science. It is important to develop this creative part of the brain, so kids have a better chance at being successful in their chosen career path. For example, a child who wants to go into advertising as a career choice will need to have creativity to come up with new and innovative ads for a company. If kids only have an education in science, math, English, and social studies, then they will not be prepared for life after school.

There have been many studies that have proven that art and music education help kids do better in their regular classes. It is a fact that a good music education leads to better math grades. Art education helps teach children to be creative, which then helps them learn to come up with creative solutions to problems given to them in other classes. For example, in science class being creative would help the student come up with innovative and new hypothesis in class, which may result in better grades. Art and music class are important in helping teach children tools that can be applied to other classes.

Tools that are used in the art classroom and instruments used in music class teach kids how to be responsible for expensive equipment that they will most likely be working with for future employers. For example, having a child be put in charge of a musical instrument helps teach the child responsibility and it helps teach them to be respectful of equipment that is not theirs. This is important because employers will expect there future employees to be able to be responsible and take care of any materials that will be on loan to the employee, like a computer, for example.

Public school boards need to make sure that music and art programs in their schools are well funded. Art and music education helps teach children the creativity that is needed for numerous jobs. Art and music classes also help teach children tools that can be used in other classes that will help improve their grades. Finally, using instruments and art supplies in these classes help teach kids responsibility and respect for items that are not theirs. Children who do not have any kind of music or art education will surely be at a disadvantage when entering college or the work force.

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Art & Politics – Four Aspects

From skillful caricaturists to passionate crusaders for political causes, Israeli artists have throughout history in one form or another created a political work of art. Whether biblical stories of Jewish bravery and martyrdom, the birth of Zionism or more modern examples of courage, political art has always played a part in the soul of Israeli creations of art. At the same time, even in modern times of today artists are often scared to link their creations to history and politics.

In the following, this article examines four aspects analyzing the issue of art & politics.

Artists & Politics

The first aspect addressing the subject of artists and politics examines the extent of public involvement by Israeli artists in taking a political standpoint expressed through their art paintings.

From a democratic point of view which seeks to protect freedom of expression, it is important that art work tackle political issues and influence public debate

However, the problem in Israel for artists who want to express an anti-establishment view is the concern over the fact that the establishment represents their main source of support and financing. While those who want to back up the establishment are not doing so out of fear of being accused by their artist friends that their creative work is influenced by economic reasons. As such it can be concluded that in our time the majority of Israeli artists are “fearful” when it comes to touching upon political issues.

Politicians & Art

In the second aspect addressing politicians and art, I examine the involvement and understanding of political leaders in the creations of art. There is no doubt, that an artistic point of perspective opens horizons contributing to the development of a more open-minded way of thinking.

For this reason, Israeli leaders – whose personalities are often channeled through the security and/or party platform – should show interest in the arts as a tool for personal development which can widen their world view.

From a public point of view, a politician, who has knowledge and proven interest in cultural issues, will be considered as having preferable characteristics of experience and knowledge.

Politics in Art

Addressing the third aspect of politics in art, the following questions I believe are at the heart of the issue: To what extent does the political and public activity of the artist influence the artistic evaluation of his creations in the present and the future? If the official establishment wants the prestige of a particular artist can it increase or decrease the value of his art?

Art in Politics

In the fourth aspect of art in politics I raise the question if to a certain extent there is an artist at work in the political making? Can we make the assertion that certain people have a political-artistic talent which makes it easier for them to succeed in the political arena?
In this context, I very much believe, that in order to be a player in the political arena winning public opinion, a leader needs to be creative and have strong interpersonal skills combining artistic elements.

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The Relevance of Arts to Practical Living

INTRODUCTION

For the avoidance of doubt, the concept of the arts can be viewed from two perspectives. On the one hand, the arts could be understood to mean the subjects one can study at school or university which are not scientific, which do not employ scientific methods. Subjects such as history, languages, religion, literature, and so on, would be appropriate examples. On the other hand, it could be interpreted to encompass a wide range of creative activities bordering on the skillful and imaginative expression of ideas, feelings, actions or events. Music, literature, theatre, and art (in the sense of painting, drawing, sculpture, etc) are what make up the arts in this sense. For the purpose of this discussion, however, our focus is on the second understanding of arts as proffered above.

The arts can then be classified into literary arts (poetry, prose, and drama), performing arts (music, dance, theatre) and visual arts (encapsulating the entire creative activities covered in the field of fine and applied arts: drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics, textile, etc).

WHY THE QUESTION OF RELEVANCE?

In developed economies of the world where the basic necessities of life seem to have been met, the question as to whether the arts are relevant or not to practical living is no longer an issue. Thousands of American citizens would troop down to the auditorium in Bard College to hear Chinua Achebe’s reading of his Things Fall Apart, not minding that they have heard the same reading over and over again, not minding that the book is over fifty years old; the same way the English audience would cluster at The Royal Theatre in London to watch the presentation of Wole Soyinka’s The Trials of Brother Jero or any of the plays of Shakespeare, not minding that Shakespeare wrote centuries ago. In the same vein, even though Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo are long dead and gone, Italians would pay their very last lira to watch an exhibition of their paintings.

In our own context, economic hardship and the search for basic necessities of life have meant that only a few have had the time to appreciate the arts for what they are worth. In other words, the problem is not whether the arts are relevant or not, for it is not in doubt that the arts are relevant to practical living as much as any profession, or even more so. The real problem lies in the fact that people are too hungry or too busy to see the real worth of the arts. A man who lives on a monthly salary of paltry ten thousand naira, with seven mouths to feed, and so many other family problems to solve may not easily pay five hundred naira just to watch a drama presentation; a Nigerian graduate who has walked the streets of Abuja, Lagos, or Port Harcourt in search of a job for three years without success would know what to do with money rather than spend it on a piece of landscape paintings; likewise, a young man who has had nothing to eat for days, and has no hope of where the next meal is coming from, would not possibly be coordinated enough to read, not to talk of appreciating, works of poetry. If arts cannot satisfy hunger or thirst, can they still be said to be relevant?

THE RELEVANCE OF THE ARTS

The word ‘relevance’ presupposes usefulness and value. So the right questions should be: are the arts useful in any way? And our answer: yes, they are. Do they have value? Our answer again: yes, they do. If the arts have use and value, and those are the things that relevance implies, then we can say that the arts are relevant. That conclusion raises another vital question: in what ways are the arts relevant? The relevance of arts can be found in the following areas.

Entertainment/Relaxation: The various forms of the arts mentioned above provide one form of entertainment, amusement and relaxation or the other. In Biblical times, when the spirit of God deserted King Saul and he was tormented by evil spirits, David was employed to play his harp. The sound of music produced by David’s harp kept Saul’s mind at peace, for whenever David was not around to play his harp, the evil spirits came back. In ancient Mali too, court poets/historians called Griots were known to entertain the audience during national festivals by reciting long narrative poems recounting the heroic achievements of their forebears. At a time in history, court jesters were employed to entertain the king or the queen and their visitors by telling funny stories and jokes (as can be seen in most of Shakespeare’s plays). In traditional African societies, moonlight tales were a veritable source of both entertainment and relaxation for both old and young. Praise singers and dance groups entertained the crowd during communal ceremonies.

In modern times, in the not too distant past, the late Sani Abacha was alleged to have employed the famous comedian, Chief Zebrudaya, to provide entertainment for him and his cohorts through his funny jokes and stories. It was also reported that the former Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo, is a great patron of stand-up comedy. Besides, at least one out of every three people in the world today find peace of mind in music; one out of every four Nigerians relax at home at the close of work to watch a home video; and one out of every five relax in bed with a literature book. Since the advent of stand-up comedy in Nigeria, even though hardship has continued unabated, a lot of Nigerians have begun to look at the lighter side of things. Mere listening to a single volume of ‘Nite of A Thousand Laughs’ would drive away sorrow in people’s hearts. Since these developments began, I bet that had the medical practitioners started taking stock, they would have discovered that high blood pressure and other stress-related conditions have reduced by more than half over the past decade.

Financial Value: The arts are equally a very lucrative venture for serious-minded artists. All arts practitioners who are worth their salt make a living out of their practice. So many examples of such people could be found around us. The famous Osuofia (Nkem Owoh) is a living example. The majority of the practitioners in the movie industry today were not even originally artists. Their professions could not provide for them, and so they switched over to the arts. Besides, works of art, especially paintings, are considered very highly valuable intellectual property that can be accepted as collateral the same way that gold or diamond or buildings would be accepted.

Didactic: The arts are known to teach practical moral lessons. The old folklores about the tortoise and his craftiness always ended with one moral lesson or the other. The story of the feast in the sky where the tortoise claimed that his name was Mr. All of You, for example, ended with the lesson that greed always landed one in disaster, just as the story of the beautiful girl who refused to marry all the young men approved by her parents only to finally fall into the hands of a ghost taught that it was not good to disobey one’s parents.

Exposing and Correcting Societal Ills: All aspects of the arts are deeply involved in the crusade against societal ills like corruption and bribery, ritual killing, etc. They have all been involved, for instance, in ridiculing the excesses of political and religious leaders as well as the gullibility of the followers who fall victims to the whims and manipulations of the tricksters. This they achieve through satire. By so doing, offenders who had earlier thought that their activities were unknown would begin to retrace their steps when they discover that their so-called secrets have been exposed. Intending offenders would think twice, while would-be victims whose eyes will have been opened by such exposition would come to terms with reality and become wiser. Cultism on our university campuses has been fought to a reduced rate through the instrumentality of the arts: music, drama, novels, etc. All these have made society a better place to live in.

Aesthetic Value: The arts have beauty and face value, in addition to their intrinsic qualities. We talk about the beauty of a poem, a play, a story, a piece of music, but this beauty applies more to the visual arts, the ones one can see and admire their physical outlook, like drawing, painting or sculpture. People go to art exhibitions to discover, behold and admire the beauty of art works. Those who can afford them buy them and use them for interior decoration. How wonderful it is to walk into a well furnished sitting room to behold art works exhibited on the walls! They equally serve as status symbol for those who can afford them.

Preservation of Culture: The arts serve to preserve a people’s culture. Art itself is an integral part of culture, that is, culture in the sense of customs, beliefs, practices, art, way of life, and social organisation. So many aspects of Nigerian cultural practices, for instance, that would have been lost and forgotten are recaptured through the arts. Before the appearance of Things Fall Apart in the world literary scene, Western writers like Joseph Conrad and others had led the world into believing that the African continent was one long night of darkness and that Africans themselves were uncultured and barbaric monkeys who had tails and lived on tree tops, and who had no souls worthy of salvation. But Things Fall Apart and other works after it joined in the crusade and changed the world’s perception of Africa by presenting the true picture from the inside. Africans, the world came to see, were after all a reasonable people with heart, body and soul, created by one and the same God. They had culture and a mode of worship guided by norms and regulated by the principles of human relations even before the advent of the Europeans. Continuously, African poems, novels, plays, music, paintings, and so on, as much as possible portray life in both traditional and modern African societies. The rest of the world has continually shown increasing interest in African arts and culture. Some of us with a sense of history would remember that during the early colonial period, some of Nigerian artifacts were stolen by the colonial masters and taken to the British National Museum. An example of such is the Benin bronze mask.

Fame: It is incontestable that the works of Chinua Achebe and the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, have brought more fame to Africa than the achievements of all the African political leaders put together. It could be argued that before the emergence of these men, the continent was only a dot on the map of the world. But their works and the works of others after them proved to the world that something good could after all come out of Nazareth.

THE CHALLENGES

The challenges facing Nigerian artists are multifaceted: lack of encouragement and patronage at both the home front and outside, disparaging comments about artists, the neglect of the arts by the government, among others. Many homes today discourage their children from going into the practical arts simply because they do not believe that a man can feed his family just writing literary works or just drawing and painting. Until recently musicians were seen as wayward people and children who opted to sing were disowned by their parents. People still see actors and actresses in the light of the roles they play in movies or stage plays. One particular actor was nearly mobbed at Aba in Abia State of Nigeria for his role in a movie: a wicked man who killed his brother.

For the literary artist, it is really a trying time. Reading culture is at its lowest ebb. Students of literature would rather watch a half-cooked film version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth than read it in print. Many of them do not even know the recommended texts. So, for those who write, they face the lowest patronage. The books never get bought. Even when the books eventually find their way into the syllabus, pirates quickly swing into action. The same predicament faces movie makers and musicians. The government on its part does not help matters. The dilapidated state of the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, is a pointer to this fact. Since FESTAC ’77, no concerted effort has been made towards the promotion of the arts or the encouragement of artists. Concerned citizens and corporate bodies have been crying out, but the government has turned deaf ears to all the yells.

In the face of all this, I still believe that arts practitioners in Nigeria could make a head way the moment we begin to look inwards. The sooner we begin to see the arts as a serious business, the better for us. Names like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ben Enweonwu, John Munonye, J. P. Clark, Niyi Osundare, Odia Ofeimun, Chimalum Nwankwo, Chimamanda Adichie, and so on became household names because they believed in the arts and in themselves and took the arts seriously. No one can save us but ourselves. At a time when Communist Russia faced one of its greatest trials, when the nation was far behind the West in technological advancement, Stalin rose to the challenge. ‘We are more than fifty years behind the rest of the world’, he told Russians. ‘We have only ten years to catch up with them. We either do this or they will exterminate us’. Pious pronouncements were backed up with positive actions, and within the next ten years Russia was on the verge of being pronounced a world power.

In the same spirit, arts practitioners, both established and intending, should stand up to the challenge and not be discouraged because those who question the relevance of the arts are themselves among the greatest patrons of the arts, one way or another. They must hold their heads high, and hold their own against other professions. They must begin to think of who to replace the Achebes, the Soyinkas, and so on. They must always remember how esteemed above other professions they are because they are co-creators with God, who himself is the foremost artist. Until this is done, people will continue to question the relevance of arts to practical living.

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Several Facts About Karate

Contrary to popular opinion, the martial art Karate was not invented in China. Rather, it has its origins in the island of Okinawa in Japan. The word “Karate” means the “empty hand” or the “Chinese hand”, and it has been given this name because it involves a rapid use of hands and legs in an extreme close combat.

It was sometime in the sixteenth century that Chinese Kung Fu fighters experimented around with their styles and formulated the “te” technique (“Te” means hand). The art grew in China and evolved from a very rough and simple fighting style into a hard, close-combat style.

Around the late nineteenth century, Gichin Funakoshi, a famous martial arts practitioner from Japan, blended new moves into the “Te” style and displayed his art to the Japanese martial arts masters in early twentieth century. This was the beginning of Karate, as we know it.

Karate kicked off with the original Okinawa style; later on, the Japanese patented their own styles, which are now appropriately called Japanese styles of Karate. With time, many karate schools all cross the world began naming their Karate after their school’s or master’s name, giving birth to many sub-styles.

The original style – known as the Okinawa style – is a very hard and external style. It employs circular means of defense while its attack is linear in nature. The physical condition is extremely rigorous, as compared to the Japanese style of Karate. The Japanese style of Karate is more stylistic and its movements are linear in both defense and offense.

Some of the important Karate sub-styles are: (i) Wado-Ryu style, which combines JiuJitsu movements with Okinawa karate techniques, and (ii) Uechi-Ryu style, which blends Okinawa Karate with Chinese martial arts tactics. The Uechi-Ryu style appears more Chinese than Japanese though it is a blend of both the cultures.

As you know, Karate is a fast-paced martial art that involves electric movements of the hands and legs. So, you need to ensure that you are attired in a comfortable Karate uniform.

As Karate involves close combat and can be lethal, you will also need to protect your head and groin by strapping on a head guard and groin protector, respectively. Arm, chest and leg guards are available too, and so are karate mitts and shin protectors. And, of course, mouth guards can be considered too, just in case.

To train for Karate, you will need jump ropes, breakable boards, a Karate training board and a Karate training system. To perform Karate exercises, you will need leg and body stretchers, mats, water training bags, punching bags and pull-up and push-up bars.

And, finally, before you go out there to practice Karate, do not forget to plug in a first aid kit in your bag.

Karate not only keeps your body fit, it also strengthens your mind and enhances your concentration. Only thing, you must learn to respect it and practice it seriously as an art.

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Ancient Egyptian Art — Timeless and Beautiful Today

Ancient Egyptian Art is one of the most recognized, admired and collected art in the history of the world. From delicate gold jewelry to vivid paintings to massive statues dozens of feet tall, for over 5,000 years Egyptian art has fascinated, delighted and awed generation after generation with its beauty, style and mystery. While genuine ancient pieces of art are rare and extremely valuable, modern Egyptian artists make beautiful art and jewelry that is inspired by some of the greatest recovered works from ancient sites, and which adheres strictly to the styles used by ancient artists. Jewelry in gold and silver with inlaid stones are fashioned after pieces of jewelry recovered from ancient tombs. Papyrus Paintings are painted in vivid color on genuine papyrus, made using the same principles developed thousands of years ago on the banks of the Nile, where the papyrus plant grows to this day. Paintings are executed in the style of frontalism, one of the most striking characteristics of ancient Egyptian Art.

Frontalism

Frontalism is the style in which every known piece of ancient Egyptian art was produced. In paintings, the style of frontalism means that the head of the character is drawn in profile, while the body is drawn from a front view. However, even though the face is in profile, the eye is drawn in full, as it would be seen from the front. The legs always face the same direction as the head, with one foot forward and one back.

Ancient Egyptian figures, especially of gods and pharaohs, are noticeable for their very formal, even rigid stance and posture, but their faces are always serene, regardless of the scene in which they are depicted. There were very strict rules about how a god or pharaoh could be represented, which even included a prohibition against anything being drawn in front of the face or body of the pharaoh, even when the scene depicted clearly required it for any kind of realism. Realism was simply not a goal of ancient Egyptian Art. It is these very formal and stylized rules that have made Egyptian Art one of the most widely recognized forms of art in the world.

Over thousands of years Egyptian artists adhered to this one style, which is quite remarkable, especially as compared to the extreme differences in art expression that have occurred in the modern world in just the past 100 years or so. The only acknowledged variations are in the portrayals of animals and common people as compared to the more formal depictions of pharaohs and gods. As can be seen in many Egyptian paintings, animals and common people or slaves are represented in a more natural manner, though still within very strict and formulaic rules.

This frontalist style is the primary reason why ancient Egyptian art is so easily recognizable, and its appeal has lasted through many centuries to this day.

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Art Appreciation and Looking at Art

I am going to suggest ways to appreciate art and experience it n a way that is honest and fair to the viewer visiting art galleries, art exhibitions, and art museums and other art displays. Being an art viewer can be very fulfilling and enjoying but it also causes causes unease among those who don’t really know how to approach art because of all the uncertainty.

It’s important to acknowledge that I’m not providing a check-list of ways of looking at art but providing a guide for more engaging art viewing. I would like to change the attitude some people have which is giving a two second glance at an artwork (although if you can’t grasp the viewer’s interest this is simply being selective) or trying to find meaning in the exhibition label rather than looking at the art face to face.

First of all I will start with a quote by Robert Henri taken from “The Art Spirit” who has a sharp observation on what consists a good viewer:

“The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an art education; he is already qualified. He needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order.”

Scanning an artspace is perfectly normal, there is no way that anyone can view every piece for several minutes nor are they interested in everything exhibited. Scan the place to see what you are most attracted to and go to that artwork.

Then, try to understand what it is that attracted you to this piece (although beauty attracts many people and many artworks are beautiful, all art isn’t beautiful so this might not be your primary reason for liking a particular piece.)

Look up close and take steps back (circle around it if it’s an installation or sculpture that allows for engagement at more than one special perspective.) Try to understand why a certain medium was used, how it feels like physically and how that relates to the visual product. If a painting look at the brush strokes, the edges between foreground, object and background, the color transitions, where does light come from, and how do you react emotionally to the way the piece presents itself.

If a sculpture or installation walk around it, think about the material, how it was made, how it interacts with the space it’s in, what do the shapes look like, what effect does it have on you the viewer.

After personal interaction with the piece on an emotional and raw level where only you interact according to your primary feelings, it can be helpful to contextualize. This means looking at the exhibition label, does its title reflect, change, or support the way you initially reacted to this art piece? The curators of this exhibit put a lot of care and time in creating the labels or wall panel supporting the artwork through words so it can be helpful to read what their thoughts are as well as your own. Sometimes contextualizing and knowing how the art fits in historically can understand why it was special for its time, why people thought it was so original, and you may learn a bit of art history and ideas also occurring at the time this artwork was produced.

If this is an artwork you have really been connected to and appreciate, it can be useful to keep a personal log of artists or artworks for future reference and personal expansion. For example, to keep in touch with upcoming exhibitions from this artist or to know more about a time period or their art, you can read up on articles for better understanding about the artistic process. You can gain a better understanding of what attracted you to the artwork in the first place, it spoke to you more than the others in your vicinity, and this way you can learn about yourself as well. Resources like MutualArt.com are marvelous for this type of personal artistic expansion. It can be useful for all kinds of art lovers such as students (everyone is a student), teachers, collectors, dealers, and consultants in the arts.

In conclusion, once you’ve fully enjoyed a work of art move on to the next one that attracts your interest and you will be surprised to find you may be attracted to it for completely different reasons than the last one. It’s a journey of self-discovery and visual pleasure so enjoyment is key. It’s more important to appreciate a new pieces because it will be more memorable than to give 2 seconds to every artwork in a museum simply because you feel the need to step foot on every floor.

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Wildlife Art – Its History and Development

Summary

Some of the earliest of all known art (pre-historic cave and rock art) features wildlife. However, it might be more properly regarded as art about food, rather than art about wildlife as such.

Then for a lot of the rest of the history of art in the western world, art depicting wildlife was mostly absent, due to the fact that art during this period was mostly dominated by narrow perspectives on reality, such as religions. It is only more recently, as society, and the art it produces, frees itself from such narrow world-views, that wildlife art flourishes.

Wildlife is also a difficult subject for the artist, as it is difficult to find and even more difficult to find keeping still in a pose, long enough to even sketch, let alone paint. Recent advances such as photography have made this far easier, as well as being artforms in their own right. Wildlife art is thus now far easier to accomplish both accurately and aesthetically.

In art from outside the western world, wild animals and birds have been portrayed much more frequently throughout history.

Art about wild animals began as a depiction of vital food-sources, in pre-history. At the beginnings of history the western world seems to have shut itself off from the natural world for long periods, and this is reflected in the lack of wildlife art throughout most of art history. More recently, societies, and the art it produces, have become much more broad-minded. Wildlife has become something to marvel at as new areas of the world were explored for the first time, something to hunt for pleasure, to admire aesthetically, and to conserve. These interests are reflected in the wildlife art produced.

The History and development of Wildlife Art…

Wildlife art in Pre-history.

Animal and bird art appears in some of the earliest known examples of artistic creation, such as cave paintings and rock art

The earliest known cave paintings were made around 40,000 years ago, the Upper Paleolithic period. These art works might be more than decoration of living areas as they are often in caves which are difficult to access and don’t show any signs of human habitation. Wildlife was a significant part of the daily life of humans at this time, particularly in terms of hunting for food, and this is reflected in their art. Religious interpretation of the natural world is also assumed to be a significant factor in the depiction of animals and birds at this time.

Probably the most famous of all cave painting, in Lascaux (France), includes the image of a wild horse, which is one of the earliest known examples of wildlife art. Another example of wildlife cave painting is that of reindeer in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas, probably painted at around the time of the last ice-age. The oldest known cave paintings (maybe around 32,000 years old) are also found in France, at the Grotte Chauvet, and depict horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth and humans, often hunting.

Wildlife painting is one of the commonest forms of cave art. Subjects are often of large wild animals, including bison, horses, aurochs, lions, bears and deer. The people of this time were probably relating to the natural world mostly in terms of their own survival, rather than separating themselves from it.

Cave paintings found in Africa often include animals. Cave paintings from America include animal species such as rabbit, puma, lynx, deer, wild goat and sheep, whale, turtle, tuna, sardine, octopus, eagle, and pelican, and is noted for its high quality and remarkable color. Rock paintings made by Australian Aborigines include so-called “X-ray” paintings which show the bones and organs of the animals they depict. Paintings on caves/rocks in Australia include local species of animals, fish and turtles.

Animal carvings were also made during the Upper Paleolithic period… which constitute the earliest examples of wildlife sculpture.

In Africa, bushman rock paintings, at around 8000 BC, clearly depict antelope and other animals.

The advent of the Bronze age in Europe, from the 3rd Millennium BC, led to a dedicated artisan class, due to the beginnings of specialization resulting from the surpluses available in these advancing societies. During the Iron age, mythical and natural animals were a common subject of artworks, often involving decoration of objects such as plates, knives and cups. Celtic influences affected the art and architecture of local Roman colonies, and outlasted them, surviving into the historic period.

Wildlife Art in the Ancient world (Classical art).

History is considered to begin at the time writing is invented. The earliest examples of ancient art originate from Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The great art traditions have their origins in the art of one of the six great ancient “classical” civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, India, or China. Each of these great civilizations developed their own unique style of art.

Animals were commonly depicted in Chinese art, including some examples from the 4th Century which depict stylized mythological creatures and thus are rather a departure from pure wildlife art. Ming dynasty Chinese art features pure wildlife art, including ducks, swans, sparrows, tigers, and other animals and birds, with increasing realism and detail.

In the 7th Century, Elephants, monkeys and other animals were depicted in stone carvings in Ellora, India. These carvings were religious in nature, yet depicted real animals rather than more mythological creatures.

Ancient Egyptian art includes many animals, used within the symbolic and highly religious nature of Egyptian art at the time, yet showing considerable anatomical knowledge and attention to detail. Animal symbols are used within the famous Egyptian hieroglyphic symbolic language.

Early South American art often depicts representations of a divine jaguar.

The Minoans, the greatest civilization of the Bronze Age, created naturalistic designs including fish, squid and birds in their middle period. By the late Minoan period, wildlife was still the most characteristic subject of their art, with increasing variety of species.

The art of the nomadic people of the Mongolian steppes is primarily animal art, such as gold stags, and is typically small in size as befits their traveling lifestyle.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) suggested the concept of photography, but this wasn’t put into practice until 1826.

The Medieval period, AD 200 to 1430

This period includes early Christian and Byzantine art, as well as Romanesque and Gothic art (1200 to 1430). Most of the art which survives from this period is religious, rather than realistic, in nature. Animals in art at this time were used as symbols rather than representations of anything in the real world. So very little wildlife art as such could be said to exist at all during this period.

Renaissance wildlife art, 1300 to 1602.

This arts movement began from ideas which initially emerged in Florence. After centuries of religious domination of the arts, Renaissance artists began to move more towards ancient mystical themes and depicting the world around them, away from purely Christian subject matter. New techniques, such as oil painting and portable paintings, as well as new ways of looking such as use of perspective and realistic depiction of textures and lighting, led to great changes in artistic expression.

The two major schools of Renaissance art were the Italian school who were heavily influenced by the art of ancient Greece and Rome, and the northern Europeans… Flemish, Dutch and Germans, who were generally more realistic and less idealized in their work. The art of the Renaissance reflects the revolutions in ideas and science which occurred in this Reformation period.

The early Renaissance features artists such as Botticelli, and Donatello. Animals are still being used symbolically and in mythological context at this time, for example “Pegasus” by Jacopo de’Barbari.

The best-known artist of the high Renaissance is Leonardo-Da-Vinci. Although most of his artworks depict people and technology, he occasionally incorporates wildlife into his images, such as the swan in “Leda and the swan”, and the animals portrayed in his “lady with an ermine”, and “studies of cat movements and positions”.

Durer is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern European Renaissance. Albrecht Durer was particularly well-known for his wildlife art, including pictures of hare, rhinoceros, bullfinch, little owl, squirrels, the wing of a blue roller, monkey, and blue crow.

Baroque wildlife art, 1600 to 1730.

This important artistic age, encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy of the time, features such well-known great artists as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez, Poussin, and Vermeer. Paintings of this period often use lighting effects to increase the dramatic effect.

Wildlife art of this period includes a lion, and “goldfinch” by Carel Fabrituis.

Melchior de Hondecoeter was a specialist animal and bird artist in the baroque period with paintings including “revolt in the poultry coup”, “cocks fighting” and “palace of Amsterdam with exotic birds”.

The Rococo art period was a later (1720 to 1780) decadent sub-genre of the Baroque period, and includes such famous painters as Canaletto, Gainsborough and Goya. Wildlife art of the time includes “Dromedary study” by Jean Antoine Watteau, and “folly of beasts” by Goya.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry was a Rococo wildlife specialist, who often painted commissions for royalty.

Some of the earliest scientific wildlife illustration was also created at around this time, for example from artist William Lewin who published a book illustrating British birds, painted entirely by hand.

Wildlife art in the 18th to 19th C.

In 1743, Mark Catesby published his documentation of the flora and fauna of the explored areas of the New World, which helped encourage both business investment and interest in the natural history of the continent.

In response to the decadence of the Rococo period, neo-classicism arose in the late 18th Century (1750-1830 ). This genre is more ascetic, and contains much sensuality, but none of the spontaneity which characterizes the later Romantic period. This movement focused on the supremacy of natural order over man’s will, a concept which culminated in the romantic art depiction of disasters and madness.

Francois Le Vaillant (1769-1832) was a bird illustrator (and ornithologist) around this time.

Georges Cuvier, (1769-1832), painted accurate images of more than 5000 fish, relating to his studies of comparative organismal biology.

Edward Hicks is an example of an American wildlife painter of this period, who’s art was dominated by his religious context.

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was also painting wildlife at this time, in a style strongly influenced by dramatic emotional judgments of the animals involved.

This focus towards nature led the painters of the Romantic era (1790 – 1880) to transform landscape painting, which had previously been a minor art form, into an art-form of major importance. The romantics rejected the ascetic ideals of Neo-Classicalism.

The practical use of photography began in around 1826, although it was a while before wildlife became a common subject for its use. The first color photograph was taken in 1861, but easy-to-use color plates only became available in 1907.

In 1853 Bisson and Mante created some of the first known wildlife photography.

In France, Gaspar-Felix Tournacho, “Nadar” (1820-1910) applied the same aesthetic principles used in painting, to photography, thus beginning the artistic discipline of fine art photography. Fine Art photography Prints were also reproduced in Limited Editions, making them more valuable.

Jaques-Laurent Agasse was one of the foremost painters of animals in Europe around the end of the 18th C and the beginning of the 19th. His animal art was unusually realistic for the time, and he painted some wild animals including giraffe and leopards.

Romantic wildlife art includes “zebra”, “cheetah, stag and two Indians”, at least two monkey paintings, a leopard and “portrait of a royal tiger” by George Stubbs who also did many paintings of horses.

One of the great wildlife sculptors of the Romantic period was Antoine-Louis Barye. Barye was also a wildlife painter, who demonstrated the typical dramatic concepts and lighting of the romantic movement.

Delacroix painted a tiger attacking a horse, which as is common with Romantic paintings, paints subject matter on the border between human (a domesticated horse) and the natural world (a wild tiger).

In America, the landscape painting movement of the Romantic era was known as the Hudson River School (1850s – c. 1880). These landscapes occasionally include wildlife, such as the deer in “Dogwood” and “valley of the Yosemite” by Albert Bierstadt, and more obviously in his “buffalo trail”, but the focus is on the landscape rather than the wildlife in it.

Wildlife artist Ivan Ivanovitch Shishkin demonstrates beautiful use of light in his landscape-oriented wildlife art.

Although Romantic painting focused on nature, it rarely portrayed wild animals, tending much more towards the borders between man and nature, such as domesticated animals and people in landscapes rather than the landscapes themselves. Romantic art seems in a way to be about nature, but usually only shows nature from a human perspective.

Audubon was perhaps the most famous painter of wild birds at around this time, with a distinctive American style, yet painting the birds realistically and in context, although in somewhat over-dramatic poses. As well as birds, he also painted the mammals of America, although these works of his are somewhat less well known. At around the same time In Europe, Rosa Bonheur was finding fame as a wildlife artist.

Amongst Realist art, “the raven” by Manet and “stags at rest” by Rosa Bonheur are genuine wildlife art. However in this artistic movement animals are much more usually depicted obviously as part of a human context.

The wildlife art of the impressionist movement includes “angler’s prize” by Theodore Clement Steele, and the artist Joseph Crawhall was a specialist wildlife artist strongly influenced by impressionism.

At this time, accurate scientific wildlife illustration was also being created. One name known for this kind of work in Europe is John Gould although his wife Elizabeth was the one who actually did most of the illustrations for his books on birds.

Post-impressionism (1886 – 1905, France) includes a water-bird in Rousseau’s “snake charmer”, and Rousseau’s paintings, which include wildlife, are sometimes considered Post-impressionist (as well as Fauvist, see below).

Fauvism (1904 – 1909, France) often considered the first “modern” art movement, re-thought use of color in art. The most famous fauvist is Matisse, who depicts birds and fish in is “polynesie la Mer” and birds in his “Renaissance”. Other wildlife art in this movement includes a tiger in “Surprised! Storm in the Forest” by Rousseau, a lion in his “sleeping Gypsy” and a jungle animal in his “exotic landscape”. Georges Braque depicts a bird in many of his artworks, including “L’Oiseaux Bleu et Gris”, and his “Astre et l’Oiseau”.

Ukiyo-e-printmaking (Japanese wood-block prints, originating from 17th C) was becoming known in the West, during the 19th C, and had a great influence on Western painters, particularly in France.

Wildlife art in this genre includes several untitled prints (owl, bird, eagle) by Ando Hiroshige, and “crane”, “cat and butterfly”, “wagtail and wisteria” by Hokusai Katsushika.

Wildlife art in the 20th Century, Contemporary art, postmodern art, etc.

Changing from the relatively stable views of a mechanical universe held in the 19th-century, the 20th-century shatters these views with such advances as Einstein’s Relativity and Freuds sub-conscious psychological influence.

The greater degree of contact with the rest of the world had a significant influence on Western arts, such as the influence of African and Japanese art on Pablo Picasso, for example.

American Wildlife artist Carl Runguis spans the end of the 19th and the beginnings of the 20th Century. His style evolved from tightly rendered scientific-influenced style, through impressionist influence, to a more painterly approach.

The golden age of illustration includes mythical wildlife “The firebird” by Edmund Dulac, and “tile design of Heron and Fish” by Walter Crane.

George Braque’s birds can be defined as Analytical Cubist (this genre was jointly developed by Braque and Picasso from 1908 to 1912), (as well as Fauvist). Fernand Leger also depicts birds in his “Les Oiseaux”.

There was also accurate scientific wildlife illustration being done at around this time, such as those done by America illustrator Louis Agassiz Fuertes who painted birds in America as well as other countries.

Expressionism (1905 – 1930, Germany). “Fox”, “monkey Frieze, “red deer”, and “tiger”, etc by Franz Marc qualify as wildlife art, although to contemporary viewers seem more about the style than the wildlife.

Postmodernism as an art genre, which has developed since the 1960’s, looks to the whole range of art history for its inspiration, as contrasted with Modernism which focuses on its own limited context. A different yet related view of these genres is that Modernism attempts to search for an idealized truth, where as post-modernism accepts the impossibility of such an ideal. This is reflected, for example, in the rise of abstract art, which is an art of the indefinable, after about a thousand years of art mostly depicting definable objects.

Magic realism (1960’s Germany) often included animals and birds, but usually as a minor feature among human elements, for example, swans and occasionally other animals in many paintings by Michael Parkes.

In 1963, Ray Harm is a significant bird artist.

Robert Rauschenberg’s “American eagle”, a Pop Art (mid 1950’s onwards) piece, uses the image of an eagle as a symbol rather than as something in its own right, and thus is not really wildlife art. The same applies to Any Warhol’s “Butterflys”.

Salvador Dali, the best known of Surrealist (1920’s France, onwards) artists, uses wild animals in some of his paintings, for example “Landscape with Butterflys”, but within the context of surrealism, depictions of wildlife become conceptually something other than what they might appear to be visually, so they might not really be wildlife at all. Other examples of wildlife in Surrealist art are Rene Magritte’s “La Promesse” and “L’entre ed Scene”.

Op art (1964 onwards) such as M. C. Escher’s “Sky and Water” shows ducks and fish, and “mosaic II” shows many animals and birds, but they are used as image design elements rather than the art being about the animals.

Roger Tory Peterson created fine wildlife art, which although being clear illustrations for use in his book which was the first real field guide to birds, are also aesthetically worthy bird paintings.

Young British Artists (1988 onwards). Damien Hirst uses a shark in a tank as one of his artworks. It is debatable whether this piece could be considered as wildlife art, because even though the shark is the focus of the piece, the piece is not really about the shark itself, but probably more about the shark’s effect on the people viewing it. It could be said to be more a use of wildlife in/as art, than a work of wildlife art.

Wildlife art continues to be popular today, with such artists as Robert Bateman being very highly regarded, although in his case somewhat controversial for his release of Limited-Edition prints which certain fine-art critics deplore.

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Source by Thomas Goldman