APEH ART STYLES AND DEFINITIONS

MEDIEVAL

Byzantine style dominates; religious scenes with stiff, one-dimensional figures associated with the priestly functions of the church; backgrounds generally in gold to provide illumination in the church Values: religious, transcendental, otherworldly.

 

RENAISSANCE

An art of line and edges; figures from the bible, classical history, and mythology; commissioned portraits; use of perspective, chiaroscuro (light and dark) to achieve rounded effect; secular backgrounds and material splendor Values: secularism, individualism, virtu (excellence), balance, order, passivity, and calm.

 

BAROQUE (COUNTER-REFORMATION)

Art style that is florid, more colorful, richer in texture and decoration, more light and shade-apparently less control. Scenes embody mystery and drama, violence and spectacle, suggesting a deliberate striving after effect; the Catholic church commissions artists to stir religious emotions and win back defectors. Values: sensualism, dynamism, emotion.

 

NORTHERN REALISM 17TH CENTURY

Genre or everyday scenes exhibit mathematical and geometric values of seventeenth-century science. Middle-class Dutch patrons commissioned secular works: portraits, still-lifes; landscapes, and genre paintings Values: quiet opulence, comfortable domesticity, realism.

 

ROCOCO 18TH CENTURY

Art of the French aristocracy portraying nobility in sylvan settings or ornate interiors; Venuses and Cupids abound; ladies wear silk finery alongside similarly dressed cavaliers. Rococo art is "candy-box" art saccharine, frivolous, delicate. Values: ornamentation, elegance, sweetness.

 

NEOCLASSICISM 18TH CENTURY

A return to classical antiquity for inspiration; scenes are historical and mythological; figures appear to be sculpted; the appeal is to the intellect, not the heart; emotions are restrained, and balance is achieved. Values: reason, order, balance, reverence for antiquity.

 

ROMANTICISM 19TH CENTURY

A reaction against the "cold and unfeeling" reason of the Enlightenment and against the destruction of nature resulting from the Industrial Revolution. Stress is on light, color, and self-expression, in opposition to the emphasis on line and firm modeling typical of neoclassical art. Values: emotion, feeling, morbidity, exoticism, mystery.

 

IMPRESSIONISM 19TH CENTURY

An attempt to portray the fleeting and transitory world of sense impressions based on scientific studies of light; forms are bathed in light and atmosphere; colors are juxtaposed for the eye to fuse from a distance; short, choppy brush strokes to catch the vibrating quality of light. Values: the immediate, accidental, and transitory.

 

EXPRESSIONISM 19TH & 20TH CENTURIES

Indebted to Freud; art tries to penetrate the facade of bourgeois superficiality and probe the psyche, that which lurks beneath an individual's calm and artificial posture. Values: subliminal anxiety; dissonance in color and perspective; pictorial violence-manifest and latent.

 

SURREALISM 19TH & 20TH CENTURIES

Also indebted to Freud; explores the dream world, a world without logic, reason, or meaning; fascination with mystery, the strange encounters between objects, and incongruity; subjects are often indecipherable in their strangeness; the beautiful is the quality of chance association. Values: the dream sequence; illogic; fantasy.

 

CUBISM 20TH CENTURY

No single point of view; no continuity or simultaneity of image contour; all possible views of the subject are compressed into one synthesized view of top, sides, front, and back; picture becomes a multifaceted view of objects with angular, interlocking planes. Values: a new way of seeing; a view of the world as a mosaic of multiple relationships; reality as interaction.

 

ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM 20TH CENTURY

Nonrepresentational art; no climaxes; flattened-out planes and values; the real appearance of forms in nature is subordinated to an aesthetic concept of form composed of shapes, lines, and colors. Values: personal and subjective interpretation.