"We have it within our power
To begin the world over again."
It has been a few years since I started my journey into the exploration of art. Apart from those artists they tell you all about in history books or the ones you know through your visits at museums, there are so many more, less famous ones that are so worth of discovering.
By now, everybody knows I am a great admirer of impressionist, expressionist, and fauvist art. The style and the colors speak strongly to me. They are bright, and vibrant, and passionate, and alive.
While impressionism emerged during the late 19th century in Paris, Expressionism did not make its entrance until the early 20th century in Germany and Austria.
The main difference was that those impressionist artists paid particular attention to the impression of light and its changing effects, creating the appearance of light filtering through the atmosphere and its reflection off of objects. Impressionism begins as some kind of rebellion against restrictions and conventions the academic art imposed. It portrayed a light, airy, and spontaneous way of painting, with a nature-minded and down-to-earth approach to its subject matter, mainly landscapes. An interesting tidbit is that Debussy's music is often described as "impressionist." Truth be told is that he was not a fan of the label and was said to quote: "I am trying to do 'something different'...what the imbeciles call 'impressionism,' a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by the critics."(*)
The expressionists were more prone to pay attention to the artist's depiction of emotions when painting his subject(s), evoking moods or ideas, always seeking to express the meaning of emotional experience rather than a physical reality. Expressionism was first used to describe modern art in general and encompasses a wide variety of art, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism.
Enter fauvism, grown out of pointillism (Seurat, Signac…) and post-impressionism, depicts a more primitive, simple, cleaner, and less naturalistic approach as Paul Gaugain, whose style and use of color were undoubtedly powerful influences. It is not surprising that some of my favorite artists are closely associated with this style. Fauvism may have been a short-lived movement, it did have a substantial influence on some of the Expressionists. Think De Vlaminck, Derain, Marquet, Matisse, and so many more.
Studying with Renoir, Monet, and Sisley, Frédéric Bazille shared the other young men's ideals. The four became excellent friends; they all dreamed of art exhibiting tendencies closer to life and free from past traditions and constricts. Bazille was born into a wealthy family whose roots were in the South of France. He moved to Paris in 1862, enrolled in Medical school, but preferred painting to studying. By 1864, Bazille failed his medical exam, and his father agreed to support him so that he could pursue painting full time.
A highly skilled yet less famous artist, he combined a certain naiveté with a delicate feeling for nature and an exquisite sense of color. His landscape figures are strangely immobile and have a sculptural, hard-edge quality. Bazille seemed destined to occupy a prominent place among the Impressionists. Unfortunately, he was killed in the Franco-German War.(*) He was 28 years old. Check out his art, and if you, like me, like the liveliness and colorful expression of his work, you will enjoy the discoveries you'll make along the way.
Tomorrow I will receive my second Covid vaccine shot. A relief? Yes, though still remaining cautious. When available, get your vaccine peoples of the page. There are so many variants out there that it would be stupid to take the risk of contracting any of those. Besides, protecting yourselves means you are protecting others as well.
Spring has arrived, and here in Florida, this means the temps are rising, and the rains have started. Thankfully we still are enjoying cool nights. This month on, I will be mentioning books and movies I've watched and give my 2 cents on them. This month I'd like to shine the lights on "The Secret Life of Bees" with Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah. A slow drama set in the Southern US in the 1960s. Tender, sad, and full of hope. I gave it 5 stars.
As for books, I reread Walter Isaacson's brilliant Leonardo Da Vinci story. It centers not only on his masterworks but takes us on a trip of mind-bending discoveries (for that period) and treatises. It is the biography of a man of old who could have been a man of tomorrow. It is the story of an extraordinary man who lived during extraordinary times. Simply fascinating. It is because of him that I paint. It is because of him that I write.
"I think if I could go back in time and give myself a message,
it would be to reiterate that my value as an artist
doesn’t come from how much I create.
I think that mindset is yoked to capitalism.
Being an artist is about how and why you touch people’s lives,
even if it’s one person.
Even if that’s yourself in the process of artmaking.
⎯ Amanda Gorman, 2020
No better words to end this month’s post. I wish you all a safe and healthy month of April. Be well peoples of the page. And don't forget : "That, which is essential, is invisible to the eye" The Little Prince. -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Until next time. Namaste.
(*)https://www.classicfm.com/composers/debussy/pictures/debuss Frédéric Bazille Biography, Life & Quotes | TheArtStory. (*)https://www.theartstory.org/artist/bazille-frederic/life-and-legacy/y-20-facts-about-great-composer/impressionism/
Amanda Gorman https://www.bvanb.com/art-worthy/
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