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Old Friday, July 08, 2011
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Default Age of isms

Age of isms

Since ancient age to modern time, art and literature have come across multiple styles and movements. Most of them were new creation or transformation of one or other styles. Efforts by individual, group or brotherhood and schools lined up multiple art style in art and literature. French revolution ignited the feelings of the suffering people to deviate from the set standards. People from all fields of life purged the departments from the clamps of the bourgeois grandeur and brought it to the realm of the popular culture. The revolt was described in the words ‘we don’t live in an age of clear images’ and hence, all sorts of experimentation was done to celebrate the freedom.

Renaissance was an art style which was born in 14th century and lived up to 17th century. An art movement which was later broken down in more than eight regional forms of development by historians the "rebirth" was characterized by a radical development in the arts, medicine, politics and sciences in Europe. That was time in which individual expression and worldly experience became two of the main themes. Renaissance is Italian origin and later it was known as one of the most known European Art Movements. By region, Renaissance was identified by own regional movement in Italy, England, German, Northern Europe, French, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. By period it is known as Early Renaissance, High Renaissance, Harlem Renaissance and Northern Renaissance. The word Renaissance is now often used to describe other historical and cultural moments (e.g. the Carolingian Renaissance, the Byzantine Renaissances).

Leonardo da Vinci was the model Renaissance man representing the humanistic values of the period in his art, science and writing. Michelangelo and Raphael were also vital figures in this movement, producing works regarded for centuries as embodying the classical notion of perfection. Renaissance architects included Alberti, Brunelleschi and Bramante.

Renaissance Classicism sowed two different movements— Mannerism and the Baroque. Mannerism was a reaction against the idealist perfection of Classicism. The appeal of Baroque style curved deliberately from the amusing and intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerist art to an intuitive appeal aimed at the senses. Baroque employed an iconography that was direct, simple, obvious, and dramatic.

Baroque art drew on certain broad and heroic tendencies in Annibale Carracci and his circle, and found inspiration in other artists such as Correggio, Caravaggio, and Federico Barocci is nowadays often termed as 'proto-Baroque'. Although Baroque was antiquated in many centers by the Rococo style, beginning in France in the late 1720s, more than ever for interiors, paintings and the decorative arts, Baroque architecture remained a practical style until the arrival of ascetic Neoclassicism in the later 18th century. Ingres, Canova, and Jacques-Louis David are among the best-known neoclassicists.

Neoclassicism was nothing but a reaction against both the surviving Baroque and Rococo styles, and as a desire to return to the perceived "purity" of the arts of Rome & Ancient Greek. Neoclassicism was also solitary representation of the American Renaissance movement.

As Mannerism discarded Classicism, Romanticism too refused the ideas of the Enlightenment and the aesthetic of the Neoclassicists. Romanticism movement turned world’s attention toward landscape and nature as well as the human figure and the supremacy of natural order above mankind's will. Hudson River School was highly influenced by Romanticism.

Another sub branch Aestheticism rejected the cruelness of nature, its didactic purpose was swapped with the sensuous pleasures, Keat’s Gracian Urn, Ode to Noghtingale are some of the quintessential poems in this regard. Machine aesthetics rejected all Greek and middle age aesthetics with more emphasis on the affordable material, comfortable design , less ornamented and hence cheaper furniture, houses and the living standards.

In 19th Century, after impacts of industrialization - Poverty, squalor, and desperation were to be the fortune of the new working class. Where Romanticism was optimism towards mankind; situation put art looking towards reality giving chance to Realism. Social Realism, Magic Realism, Photo Realism and Contemporary Realism are newer forms of Realism. Related movements were the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Arts and Crafts Movement.

Neo-classical movement rejected the extreme romanticism of Dada ,that hunted the discovery of authentic reality through the abolition of traditional culture and aesthetic forms in favor of control, religion and a dyed-in-the-wool political programme. Dada ignored aesthetics. Dada became an influential movement in modern art. It also influenced Surrealism, Pop Art and Fluxus.

Surrealists amalgamated the irrational with the rational. The first surrealist work was Burton’s deviating from all the set norms and principles. He wrote about dreams in the time when Freud had coined his Oedipus and Electra complex, a new sense of morality had already been a topic of discussion.

Dreams their significance regarding conscious, unconscious, and sub conscious challenged the Elizbethan morality, holiness and the rationalistic approach towards life. It not only liberated imagination but gave a new bent to relationships. D.H .Lawrence Sons and Lovers portrayed the relation of a son with his mother in Freudian terms, though at that time even talking about that was a taboo.

The tendency of an artist to distort reality for emotional effect is called Expressionism. Though it was incorporated into the later literature, Miller’s Death of a Sales Man is the perfect example of incorporation of this technique. An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself, an Expressionist rejects immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures.

Realism’s concept of seeing world by human eye gave birth to Impressionism. Use of bright color improving more visibility (as opposed to Academic art) and strokes that were mixed in viewer's eyes were key features of impressionism. The Group of Seven was strongly influenced by European Impressionism of the late Nineteenth Century. Original response produced asymmetrically without any hindrance from the conscious mind was the essence of impressionism

Fauvism & Post-Impressionism followed Impressionism. Later Fauvism started shaping itself in multiple new forms including Cubism, Abstract Art, Dada, Abstract Expressionism , Futurism, Naïve art, Op Art, Surrealism, Minimalism, Pop Art and other forms.

Nietzsche’s Beyond good and evil and thus spoke Zarusthra questioned the deterministic ideas. The idea of Umbermench(superman) and denial of god with the assertion ‘man is condemned to be free’ became the beliefs of the Existentialists .Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Albert Camus’ The Outsider delineated their pessimists approach towards life.

Bohemianism took its roots after the Great Depression, the new technological developments, industrialization with the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment was an altogether opposite reaction after the economic crunch. The hippy culture became the sole purpose of life. Life was denied its domesticated moralistic boundaries

Mechanization Industrialization, cars, telephone became the needs and requirement, which reduced men to mere tools. The pathetic life style, people living in ‘holes’ became the future. Though this step was denounced by Ruskin and Hardy for reducing humans to mere ‘hands’, yet society did not listen the moralizers and followed what the industrialists had to offer.

In arts and literature some trends as simplification of diction, rise of cinema marked the new age. Realism of Richard Fielding seemed to have gone bankrupt when faced by the trench warfare and the machine age thus paving way for the social realism of Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western front.’

Social Darwinism assumes that whatever happens, ought to have happened. Based on Darwin’s redical theories, it opposed government intervention in the "natural" processes of human evolution, " It lent scientific support to the industrialist's exploitation of the workers and their dubious business practices as "natural" and, therefore, "moral. The theory explicitly declared the rich and successful to be the "fittest" and hence the ones having the greatest right to "survive. America was at the time, a relatively young nation, and more receptive to quasi-religious and philosophical ideas. Social Darwinism also provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were grossly underpaid and made to work in the most horrid conditions. The theory became particularly popular in the United States where it continues to influence the society and people's perception of social problems such as poverty and inequality. Such an aspect of Social Darwinism was encouraged by the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie

Western empiricism was built on the idea of a mechanistic universe; the universe both physically and socially was eventually conceived of as a vast machine whose principles of operation could be grasped by the human intellect without recourse to divine or superstitious explanations. Correspondingly, each aspect of the universe operated in a different manner: the machine of physical phenomena operated differently from the machine of social phenomena. Empirical science in the West, then, also involved the separation of bodies of knowledge one from the other. Physics could not explain politics, ethics could not explain chemistry, and so forth. This separation of areas of knowledge one from the other is perhaps the single most important aspect of Enlightenment empiricism for on one hand it allowed knowledge in each area to develop very rapidly and on the ohther, purged off the Western society from the boundage fo theological morals.

Structuralism a Modern movement spurred by Sassure .He focused not on the use of language (parole, or speech), but rather on the underlying system of language (langue) and called his theory semiology. However, the discovery of the underlying system had to be done via examination of the parole (speech). As such, Structural Linguistics are actually an early form of corpus linguistics (quantification). This approach focused on examining how the elements of language related to each other in the present, that is, 'synchronically' rather than 'diachronically'. Finally, he argued that linguistic signs were composed of two parts, a signifier (the sound pattern of a word, either in mental projection - as when we silently recite lines from a poem to ourselves - or in actual, physical realization as part of a speech act) and a signified (the concept or meaning of the word). This was quite different from previous approaches which focused on the relationship between words and things in the world that they designate. Structuralism rejected the concept of human freedom and choice and focused instead on the way that human behavior is determined by various structures.

Opposing structuralism were the proponents of post structuralists. Without a central fixation on the author, post-structuralists examine other sources for meaning (e.g., readers, cultural norms, other literature, etc.). A major theory associated with Structuralism was binary opposition. This theory proposed that there are certain theoretical and conceptual opposites, often arranged in a hierarchy, which human logic has given to text. Such binary pairs could include Enlightenment/Romantic, male/female, speech/writing, rational/emotional, signifier/signified, symbolic/imaginary.
Post-structuralism rejects the notion of the essential quality of the dominant relation in the hierarchy, choosing rather to expose these relations and the dependency of the dominant term on its apparently subservient counterpart. The only way to properly understand these meanings is to deconstruct the assumptions and knowledge systems which produce the illusion of singular meaning. This act of deconstruction illuminates how male can become female, how speech can become writing, and how rational can become emotional.

Individualism was another gift of the horrifying experiences of the wars. People alienated themselves isolation and loneliness, fall of family institutions, materialism took over society’s institutions. Family values, sanctity of marriage, respect for elders, love for neighbors was all given up in the aftermath of the Great Wars. The attitudes which underline most of the modern writings.

Though Einstein’s Relativism gave an end to absoluteness, opening up the biased minds to acceptance. For the first time negritism, racial equality movements, gay rights became issues to be discussed and pondered over. Unfortunately other rigid ideals like Muslim terrorism, extremism took over the minds of the people.

Karl Marx’s assessment that ‘Art is always and everywhere the secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time’ shows how art and literature has depicted the human progress. The ‘ism’ does not just record the episodes in art and literature but tell a whole history about the development and evolution of mankind.
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