The Transition to Modern Art in the Western World: Movements from 1800-1930

Timeline created by dwbanks
  • Romanticism: Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica, Ludwig van Beethoven

    Romanticism: Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica, Ludwig van Beethoven
    Beethoven’s music instigated the Romanticism movement in music, shifting away from the Classical norms. Music moved from predictable to emotional as composers attempted to represent the human experience, including autobiographical works. Self-expression was paramount as the Industrial Revolution encroached on the people. Composers and musicians attained status as artists. Listen: youtu.be/InxT4S6wQf4. Image: “Ludwig van Beethoven.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_van_Beethoven.
  • Romanticism: La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People), Eugéne Delacroix

    Romanticism: La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People), Eugéne Delacroix
    This painting epitomizes Romanticism with its evocative imagery of Lady Liberty, goddess and symbol of freedom against monarchy during the French Revolution. The piece retains a sense of neoclassical beauty from the movement preceding it yet surges forward with elevated emotional and symbolic content that began the transition toward modernism. This work is the masterpiece of artist Eugéne Delacroix. “Liberty Leading the People.” Britannica, www.britannica.com/topic/Liberty-Leading-the-People.
  • Romanticism: Giselle (Ballet), Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot

    Romanticism: Giselle (Ballet), Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
    The beauty of the ballet surged during the Romantic period, as tutus and ballerinas en pointe were introduced. Giselle premiered at the Paris Opera Ballet, a fairy tale set in Germany beset with tragedy, fantasy, magic, and romance. Giselle introduced the stunning ballet-blanc aesthetic effect of white-dressed ballerina corps moving in sync. “A Brief History of Ballet.” Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, https://www.pbt.org/learn-and-engage/resources-audience-members/ballet-101/brief-history-ballet/.
  • Realism: Le Desespere (The Desperate Man; Self-Portrait), Gustave Courbet 1845

    Realism: Le Desespere (The Desperate Man; Self-Portrait), Gustave Courbet  1845
    This painting is a famous and interesting work that bridges the emotion of Romanticism and the “reality” of the Realism movement. Courbet pictures himself shockingly honestly, with wide eyes, fearful expression, and in exile. He also used a landscape orientation, which was atypical for the time for portraiture. “Le Desespere (The Desperate Man; Self Portrait) Gustave Courbet, 1845.” Arthur, arthur.io/art/gustave-courbet/le-desespere-the-desperate-man-self-portrait?crtr=1.
  • Barbizon School: The Beech Tree, Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray

    Barbizon School: The Beech Tree, Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray
    The Barbizon school was important in loosening the reins for artists away from the academic, Classical approach, a source of later inspiration for the Impressionists. Light, naturalistic composition, lack of narrative, and sense of beauty in the moment were paramount, as exemplified by this iconic photograph. Le Gray focused on a single tree to highlight this perspective in the work. “The Barbizon School.” The Art Story, www.theartstory.org/movement/barbizon-school/.
  • Victorian/Egyptian Revival: Jewelry, Carlo Giuliano

    Victorian/Egyptian Revival: Jewelry, Carlo Giuliano
    Carlo Giuliano was the jeweler to the Queen of England, often creating romantic pieces in the popular movement of the era. However, discoveries from Egyptian excavations that were revealed at the World’s Fair led to a surge in demand for Egyptian inspired jewelry with bold colors and geometric designs. “Egyptian Revival Demi-Parure.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/682823.
  • Realism: The Cotton Pickers, Winslow Homer

    Realism: The Cotton Pickers, Winslow Homer
    During the Realism movement, artists were passionate about representing only what they could see. After the Civil War, racist imagery pervaded American art. Rather than the caricatures of African Americans popular at the time, Homer depicted daily life, providing a narrative grounded in reality. This painting shows two women picking cotton, burdened with heavy loads. “Winslow Homer Artworks.” The Art Story, www.theartstory.org/artist/homer-winslow/artworks/.
  • Realism: The Thinker, Auguste Rodin

    Realism: The Thinker, Auguste Rodin
    Rodin created this sculpture to represent Dante gazing over the Gates of Hell, based on The Divine Comedy. While representative of Realism, it is also symbolic of philosophy and learning, as well as a nod to socialism during this tumultuous period in French history. The form yields to some conventions of Classicism or Neoclassicism, though brings the “heroic nude” to humble form as the essence of human nature. “The Thinker.” Artble, www.artble.com/artists/auguste_rodin/sculpture/the_thinker.
  • Romanticism: Neuschwanstein Castle, Christian Jank and Eduard Riedel

    Romanticism: Neuschwanstein Castle, Christian Jank and Eduard Riedel
    In architecture, Romanticism ushered in a Gothic revival, moving away from Classical and Neoclassical. Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany is an example of the “Romanesque Revival” works throughout Europe during the 1800s, which included restorations. High arches, towers, and highly detailed trim was characteristic of neo-Gothic style. “Neuschwanstein Castle.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle#/media/File:Schloss_Neuschwanstein_2013.jpg).
  • Neo-Impressionism: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Georges Seurat

    Neo-Impressionism: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Georges Seurat
    The Neo-Impressionists continued to work with light, color, and shape in new ways. What distinguishes this movement from Post-Impressionism is the more precise, scientific approach to the work. Seurat’s pointillism painting demonstrates the tighter and more controlled style, providing a flat appearance. “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sunday_Afternoon_on_the_Island_of_La_Grande_Jatte#/media/File:A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884.jpg.
  • Aestheticism: The Adoration of the Magi (Tapestry), Edward Burne Jones

    Aestheticism: The Adoration of the Magi (Tapestry), Edward Burne Jones
    Burne-Jones was a Pre-Raphaelite, Aesthetic painter of the Victorian era as well as a costume and tapestry designer. He honored many of the classical forms in his artwork, including a Classical sense of proportion and drapery. The Aesthetic emphasis was on beauty and “art for art’s sake,” connected to the philosophies of Kant and others. “Seven Sides of Edward Burne-Jones.” Tate, www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/sir-edward-coley-burne-jones-bt-68/seven-sides-edward-burne-jones.
  • Post-Impressionism: The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

    Post-Impressionism: The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh
    Van Gogh’s bold use of color, brush strokes, and nature themes built upon the groundwork of the Impressionists, adding vibrancy and a visceral depth that extended beyond what was simply present in front of the artist. He married the earthly and the heavenly, making room for imagination in his compositions. “The Story of Starry Night.” The Van Gogh Gallery, www.vangoghgallery.com/painting/starry-night.html.
  • Expressionism: The Scream, Edvard Munch

    Expressionism: The Scream, Edvard Munch
    Expressionism allowed the artist to express his feelings and internal world, transforming art from the representational to the personal. Flowing lines were an influence of Art Nouveau, while the use of color and light came from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist lineage. “The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch.” Edvard Munch, www.edvardmunch.org/the-scream.jsp.
  • Art Nouveau: Grand Palais, Paris

    Art Nouveau: Grand Palais, Paris
    Rejecting industrialization, the Art Nouveau movement embraced images of nature, fluidity, and a sense of openness. The Grand Palais is a true Beaux Arts, which incorporates Classical ideals on the outside, including columns, friezes, and other features, though inside, open spaces framed by arches, conservatory roof with thousands of small glass panes, and floral detailing are a showcase of Art Nouveau architecture. “Grand Palais.” Britannica. www.britannica.com/topic/Grand-Palais.
  • Art Nouveau: The Four Seasons (Stained Glass), Louis Comfort Tiffany

    Art Nouveau: The Four Seasons (Stained Glass), Louis Comfort Tiffany
    As part of the Art Nouveau movement, Tiffany’s goal was “the pursuit of beauty.” He incorporated nature themes, delicacy, detail, and a sense of the ethereal in his works, primarily in stained glass, though also in ceramics, metalworks, and jewelry. His stained glass took form in art panels, cathedral windows, mosaics, and perhaps most famously, lamps. He was heavily influenced by Alphonse Mucha. “Louis Comfort Tiffany.” The Art Story, www.theartstory.org/artist/tiffany-louis-comfort/artworks/.
  • Expressionism: Styx, Else Lasker- Schüler

    Expressionism: Styx, Else Lasker- Schüler
    Lasker-Schüler was a master of lyric poetry and part of the German Expressionism movement. She wrote poetry, short stories, and plays, exploring many personal themes regarding childhood, family, and romance, as well as fantasy and symbolism. Her work was noted for the visual imagery associated with her words and ideas. “Styx: Gedichte.” Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=FY0wtQEACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  • Impressionism: Claire de Lune, Claude Debussy

    Impressionism: Claire de Lune, Claude Debussy
    As in visual art, Impressionism in music represented mood, emotion, and highly textured expression. Use of timbre was prominent to signify a sense of color. New ways of working with chords, harmony, and a variety of other artistic concepts also pushed the boundaries of music to create a new movement. Listen: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFH_6DNRCY Image: “Moon Facts: Fun Information About the Earth’s Moon.” Space, www.space.com/55-earths-moon-formation-composition-and-orbit.html.
  • Expressionism: Self-Portrait with Amber Necklace, Paula Modersohn-Becker

    Expressionism: Self-Portrait with Amber Necklace, Paula Modersohn-Becker
    Considered the “missing piece” in the transition to modern art, Paula Modersohn-Becker was a prolific German artist who painted the first female nude self-portrait. She painted children, women, and herself. Her work was sensual, textured, with bold lines and shapes that some called primitive, despite the abstraction of the time. “Paula Modersohn-Becker: Modern Painting’s Missing Piece.” New Yorker, www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/paula-modersohn-becker-modern-paintings-missing-piece.
  • Fauvism: Dance I, Henri Matisse

    Fauvism: Dance I, Henri Matisse
    Fauvism was an avant-garde movement that blossomed from the groundwork laid by the Impressionists and Expressionists, coming out in bright colors and abstract concepts. Launching off the Post-Impressionists, Fauvists worked with color theory for bold effects, as well as the “spatial ambiguity” Matisse demonstrates so well in this painting. The work is carefully composed though designed to look easy and joyful. “The Dance by Henri Matisse.” Henri Matisse, www.henrimatisse.org/the-dance.jsp.
  • Impressionism: Water Lilies, Green Harmony, Claude Monet

    Impressionism: Water Lilies, Green Harmony, Claude Monet
    “Water Lilies” was a series of works by Monet that represent central themes in Impressionism. Building upon ideas hatched in Realism, these works captured the essence of a single moment, or the “impression.” Artwork was created quickly, often en plein air, highlighting colors, mood, and overall beauty versus any particular messages or symbols. “10 Facts You Might Nor Know About Claude Monet’s ‘Water Lilies.’” Claude Monet, www.claude-monet.com/waterlilies.jsp.
  • Cubism: The Large Horse, Raymond Duchamp-Villon

    Cubism: The Large Horse, Raymond Duchamp-Villon
    Cubism gave a multi-dimensional vantage of space and time, creating a sense of movement in two dimensions – and sometimes in 3D, such as in the sculpture of Raymond Duchamp-Villon. The Large Horse is strong and grounded yet has a sense of grace and ease with rounded forms and open spaces as it lunges forward. This work and the artist’s others later inspired Futurist artists. “Here Are Some Brilliant Examples of Cubist Sculpture.” IdeelArt, www.ideelart.com/magazine/cubist-sculpture.
  • Film & Expressionism: Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie Des Grauens (A Symphony of Horrors), F.W. Murnau

    Film & Expressionism: Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie Des Grauens (A Symphony of Horrors), F.W. Murnau
    This German film explored fear and inner darkness as a part of the Expressionist movement. This silent film about vampires, despair, and even the ravages of the plague represented a new medium for artists at the precipice of the modern age. “Nosferatu,” IMDB, www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/.
  • Literary Post-Impressionism: To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

    Literary Post-Impressionism: To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
    The Bloomsbury Group was an avant-garde troupe of writers who were a part of the Post-Impressionist movement, particularly as it extended into England and literature. This novel explored family relationships, emotions, and change. Woolf had a stream of consciousness writing style and was the author of several books. “To the Lighthouse.” Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/book/show/59716.To_the_Lighthouse.