Visual Arts Directory
Visual Arts - Review Directory

The first signs of a specifically twentieth century movement painting appeared in Paris in 1905. That same year a group of younger painters under the leadership of Henri Matisse exhibited canvases so simplified in design and so shockingly bright in color that a critic who saw the work called the artists wild beasts for coming up with that work. These artists were totally independent from the French Academy and the official Salon. Their works were influenced by non-European cultures. They were among the first to be inspired by non-Western art. They were also inspired by the works of Van Gogh and Gauguin but the young artists went further than any earlier artists by bringing color to a new intensity with startling discords of vermilion and emerald green, cerulean blue and vivid orange held together by sweeping brush strokes and bold patterns. Typical of their vibrant vision is London Bridge . In this work Derain rejects the harmonies of Impressionism, so expressive of atmospheric and light conditions, in favor of a distorted perspective emphasized by the contrast of the non-naturalistic colors such as clashing yellows, reds, blues, green, reds and oranges against black accents.

Derain believed that an artists goal should always be to make the strongest possible presentation of his emotional reaction to a subject by using strong color and bold patterns. The young painters group was never an official organization of painters and it lasted only a short time. Within five years most of the artists had modified their violent colors and found their own more personal styles. The artists who stayed faithful to the young artists principles while transforming them through his extraordinary sensitivity for color was Henri Matisse. Throughout his long life his gifts for combining colors in unexpected ways and for inventing new combinations never flagged. He had trained as a lawyer and was employed as a designer for tapestry and textiles. He began painting as a pupil of Moreau working his way through a variety of earlier styles before beginning to follow Cezanne's idea that light could not be produced in painting but must be represented there by color.

Sculpture invited abstraction as did painting. Sculpture as an art form goes back to Prehistoric times. Most statuettes were made of ivory or soft stone, but some clay human and animal figures have been found. Small female statues have also been found mainly in Europe. Later, in the Near East, sandstone, and alabaster, copper, gold, silver, shells, and a variety of precious stones were used for high quality sculpture and inlays. For pottery and terra cotta sculpture clay was used. Stone was generally rare and had to be imported from other locations. Some sculptures generally had large, staring eyes, and long beards on the men. Votive stone sculptures of this type were discovered around 2700 BC. Many masterpieces have also been found at the Royal Cemetery.