The Start of Modern ArtEdouard Manet’s Ledéjeuner sur l’herbe belongs to a well-known genre of French paintings of themiddle to late 19th century showing people of all classes relaxing in the parksor 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 whichwas the problem. Other paintings were not of acient Greek and Roman mythologyor anything in the past.
The controversyseen in this painting at the time was caused by the nude, or to be precise, bythe context within which Manet depicted her. She is sitting with two fully dressed middle class men in a rurallandscape! She is not even ashamed of being naked as she gazes confidently atviewer. The two men sitting next to her seem to accept her nudity with properrespect and none of them is looking directly at her. Usually, the mostpaintings during this period had no sign of the brushes of the artist. He alsomade no transition between the light and dark elements of the picture,abandoning the usual subtle gradations in favour of brutal contrasts. The rulesfor the paintings were decided by the Royal Academies of Art.
All Manet wantedto say was that he should decide what he should make in regards of art. He waschallenging the people who rejected his painting. Everyone has adifferent criteria for art. To me, art should be creative, organized andprevoke emotion. For example a ringing dinner bell is NOT art because it isonly being made to call the guests to dinner. But with intention, someone couldplay a dinner bell ‘artfully’.
A dinner bell played in a theatrical play ormovie is apart of the ‘art’ of the film. An abstract painting, no matter howsimple 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 aspecific way is art. Art is the result of decisions made that did not have tobe made. Art is an expression of our thoughts, emotions, intuitions, anddesires which, for many, is another way of showing one’s personality.One of many artsby Piero Manzoni did challenge my definition of art.
One which is “hairypicture”. The piece first looks like a fur just hanging on the frame. Surelythis piece is not near being called art.
But after reading the article, thepiece was actually a wig. The piece actually now accepts my personal definitionof art. Like I said before, art expresses emotion and has organization. Wellthis wig is supposed to look like the person wearing it is distressed. And theemotions of stress and anxiety are shown by a creative organization of thematerial of the wig.
In French,avant-garde means the “vanguard” or the “advance guard”. This basically meanspeople and works being ahead of their time. For example, the movie Django is astory of an african american being a bounty hunter recruited by a German bountyhunter two years. Movie taking place two years before the Civil War, the ideaof a slave in better clothes, riding a horse, and being a bounty hunter. Thegerman is this situation is an exmaple of an avant-garde person. Abstract issomething that is untouchable and more intellectual.
For exmaple, words likelove, peace, home (not house), courage etc.