Painting Styles Essay

Neoclassic Art, Impressionist Artworks and Abstract Expressionism are very identifiable by their form, painting style and the era they speak of. All three have some comparisons and some very evident contrasts. The Neoclassic era of art reflected resurgence in the interest of the Greek and Roman Eras. People of this time were interested in seeing woman as more upstanding. They were also going back to a high moral tone, recognizing civic duty and virtue in people and society as a whole.

The art piece The Emperor Napoleon and His Study at the Tuileries by Jacques Louis David is a reflection of this time and the art. The artist, David, was active in the French Revolution of the time and saw Napoleon as a savior of France. The artwork displays the virtue and civic of a Neoclassical piece. It displays Napoleon as a soldier, emperor and administrator, with the highest regards. There is a lot of symbolic symbols and iconography in this work; the uniform, the clock, a sword, campaign maps and rolled papers or the Code of Napoleon.

All of these things recall moral rights, since he was regarded so highly by the artist. The Line is classical, simple and ordered. There is linear perspective through spatial depth. The piece is represential. The light in this painting has great contrast and controls what we see. Napoleon and the pieces of iconography are a focal point while being well balanced in the picture. Some of these formal elements are carried over in Impressionist pieces while some are highly different. For example, The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir speaks of the Impressionist era.

Impressionist’s paintings spoke of moments in time, the fun, the pleasures, care-free impressions or memories of a person’s life through an artist’s vantage point. The technique of painting was quite different. Impressionists used two or more colors in a single brushstroke. This technique set them apart from previous painters. Renoir’s famous painting displays people enjoying food, wine and conversation on bright afternoon. They are on a cafe balcony overlooking the Seine River. This illustrates the sign of the changing times in Europe. Different classes were mingling together in restaurants.

Society has changed. The work is totally represential piece. The use of light in the painting draws our attention to the joy in the people’s faces and the background scenery. It looks like a wonderful, sociable afternoon. The lines are classical and linear using overlapping images and relevance of color tone to create depth. The soft edges push objects back in space. The use of soft and joyful colors set the mood. Abstract Expressionism is a different to the aforementioned in many forms. For example, the painting Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock is Non-Representational. It is totally abstract.

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During this period many European Artists had migrated to the United Stated due to Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration Act that allowed artists to be financially supported. Also to flee from European woes of the time. With so many influences the art changed. Pollock was influenced by automatism. His large scale paintings were referred to as “Action Paintings” (Sayre, 2009). Pollock used a pour and drip method. For this piece he poured and dripped turquoise, white and brown over his base. This was a new technique. There is light, dark, and many other contrary visuals.

The lines are straight, curved, horizontal and vertical. To me the line is expressive. There is definitely a sense of ground and space but I am unsure how to classify it. The contrasting light and dark color keep the eyes constantly moving. The shapes are positive, drawing our attention while creating a visual meaning. There are many differences and similarities to the three eras of art. One thing is for sure; they all follow the times and help us understand our past and present society. I can see how art can build upon itself and also resurface depending on the political and social events of the time.

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