The Start of Modern Art
Edouard Manet’s Le
déjeuner sur l’herbe belongs to a well-known genre of French paintings of the
middle to late 19th century showing people of all classes relaxing in the parks
or the countryside, often by a body of water. Because of what the painting portrayed,
it was shocking to many. The figures in the painting were moders figures which
was the problem. Other paintings were not of acient Greek and Roman mythology
or anything in the past. The controversy
seen in this painting at the time was caused by the nude, or to be precise, by
the context within which Manet depicted her.
She is sitting with two fully dressed middle class men in a rural
landscape! She is not even ashamed of being naked as she gazes confidently at
viewer. The two men sitting next to her seem to accept her nudity with proper
respect and none of them is looking directly at her. Usually, the most
paintings during this period had no sign of the brushes of the artist. He also
made no transition between the light and dark elements of the picture,
abandoning the usual subtle gradations in favour of brutal contrasts. The rules
for the paintings were decided by the Royal Academies of Art. All Manet wanted
to say was that he should decide what he should make in regards of art. He was
challenging the people who rejected his painting.
Everyone has a
different criteria for art. To me, art should be creative, organized and
prevoke emotion. For example a ringing dinner bell is NOT art because it is
only being made to call the guests to dinner. But with intention, someone could
play a dinner bell ‘artfully’. A dinner bell played in a theatrical play or
movie is apart of the ‘art’ of the film. An abstract painting, no matter how
simple will always be art because you can’t find them when wandering the forest.
A stick is not art. Nor a mushroom or an anthill. But 1000 sticks arranged in a
specific way is art. Art is the result of decisions made that did not have to
be made. Art is an expression of our thoughts, emotions, intuitions, and
desires which, for many, is another way of showing one’s personality.
One of many arts
by Piero Manzoni did challenge my definition of art. One which is “hairy
picture”. The piece first looks like a fur just hanging on the frame. Surely
this piece is not near being called art. But after reading the article, the
piece was actually a wig. The piece actually now accepts my personal definition
of art. Like I said before, art expresses emotion and has organization. Well
this wig is supposed to look like the person wearing it is distressed. And the
emotions of stress and anxiety are shown by a creative organization of the
material of the wig.
avant-garde means the “vanguard” or the “advance guard”. This basically means
people and works being ahead of their time. For example, the movie Django is a
story of an african american being a bounty hunter recruited by a German bounty
hunter two years. Movie taking place two years before the Civil War, the idea
of a slave in better clothes, riding a horse, and being a bounty hunter. The
german is this situation is an exmaple of an avant-garde person. Abstract is
something that is untouchable and more intellectual. For exmaple, words like
love, peace, home (not house), courage etc.