FROM CLASSIC TO MODERN: HOW ART WENT FROM IDEAL CRAFTSMANSHIP TO CRAFTING IDEAS

COURSE F – Tuesday 1-3 p.m.

Lecturer: Iain Cameron
Women’s Art Association of Canada, 23 Prince Arthur Ave.

This course will examine the evolution of fine art between 1500 to 1900, from the High Renaissance to the birth of Modernism.

For many the High Renaissance was the zenith of artistic achievement. It followed a century where artists had broken away from Medieval thinking and rediscovered the accomplishments of Ancient Greece and Rome. They had rediscovered and implemented techniques such as linear perspective and oil painting into their work in the quest for figurative realism and a more convincing pictorial representation. By the turn of the century much had been achieved by a handful of artists of unparalleled genius, who not only mastered figurative realism with ease but in doing so created an art of clarity, economy, and elegance that continues to be admired to this day.

By 1900 however, the world had changed dramatically. The division within Christianity, the end of feudalism, the birth of a new capital-based economy, the Enlightenment and its ideas of individual freedom, and the Industrial Revolution, had all impacted the world in dramatic ways. The art produced in this period reflected these changes and the art of 1900 was not only
dramatically different than the art of the High Renaissance but it left us on the verge of the development of many new and radical art movements that would develop in the century ahead.

Over the course of six lectures we will examine the technical, aesthetic, and socio-political changes that informed art produced between 1500-1900. By examining art produced over these years we will endeavor to discover how art went from the graceful, lyrical, and naturalistic Madonnas painted by Raphael, to the seemingly disjointed, disproportionate figures of Paul Cézanne, a man held by many to be the father of Modern Art. We will seek to understand how the world of the fine arts came to value greater individualism over accomplished draftsmanship, and began to see the method by which an artist applied his materials to a flat surface as being as significant as the canvas being seen as a window into a perceived reality.

March 24 – THE HIGH RENAISSANCE
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raffaello Sanzio, and Tiziano Vecelli (Titian) created an art of unity, elegance, and figurative realism.
March 31 – ITALIAN BAROQUE
The sculptural and architectural work of Gianlorenzo Bernini reflected his beliefs and gave the Vatican many of its Counter Reformation masterpieces. Another artist, Caravaggio, fueled a desire for theatricality and revolutionized European painting with his dark, brooding canvases.
April 21 – BAROQUE & ROCOCO EXCESS TO REVOLUTION
The Palace of Versailles built by Louis XIV was the grandest in Europe. Opulent in every aspect, it gave birth to Rococo, a style even more decorative and flamboyant than its Baroque predecessor. Jacques Louis David returned to an austere style that looked to the values of Republican Rome for inspiration.
April 28 – ROMANTICISM
Romanticism, with its focus on individualism, was the first artistic movement where the subjective vision of the artist began to be recognized. Contemporary events began to appear on canvases rather than purely history subject matter. It allowed artists like Constable and Turner to explore the philosophical ideas of the Picturesque and the Sublime.
May 19 – IMPRESSIONISM
In the mid 19th century two things happened which changed the course of art forever. As Japan opened its borders, woodblock prints started to make their way to the West. The second and perhaps most important innovation was the birth of photography. The Impressionists focused upon capturing
instantaneous representations of the mood of a given scene.
May 26 – POST IMPRESSIONISM
As the title suggests our final lecture will examine artists who sought to take art beyond Impressionism and in doing so gave birth to what we now call Modernism. This opened the door for future generations to build upon, and for art to take on a multitude of new directions.

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