The History of European Identity

The History of European Identity
Renaissance Period – from 1500-1600
There are three great Renaissance artists that worked in Italy in this period of late fifteenth
and early sixteenth century. They are Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael (Raffaello Santi) and
Michelangelo (Michelangelo Bounarotti).
Leonardo da Vinci – Last supper /1494-98 Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan
Leonardo´s first major work is The Last Supper. This is a typical renaissance painting. The
composition is symmetrical, well balanced and very harmonic. It also has psychological
expression, something that is very new in renaissance art.
25 – Leonardo – Mona Lisa - 1503-06
Around 1503 to 1506 he painted Mona Lisa. In this painting you se how he worked light and
dark colours to give the motif depth – this is called chiaroscuro (means light/dark). There is
also another technique Leonardo is well known for – it is called sfumato, which means that
when he applied a layer of tainted varnish the contours faded out a little bit, a bit like the light
at dusk. We se the central perspective very well, as well as something called atmospheric
perspective – the further away the background is, the more faded and bluish it gets.
Raffaello – Madonna and Child with the infant St John/1508 – Mus. of fine arts,
Rafael died when he was only 37 years old but still he is considered the renaissance artist.
He uses the chiaroscuro and the sfumato techniques but uses much more clear colours. He had
the status of a universal genius, a status that was much spoken during the renaissance period.
It is linked to the Neoplatonic ideas.
27 – Raphael – School of Athens – 1510-11 – Vatican, Rome
27 -
- close up
The School of Athens painting is one of his greatest. It’s a fresco showing all the
philosophers of the Antique Greece and Rome. In the middle you se Plato pointing to the sky
and it is said that Leonardo was the model for the figure.
23 – Michelangelo – Pietà – 1502 – Saint Peters Church, Vatican, Rome.
23 -
- close up
The third artist is Michelangelo. In 1502 he had his break through with this sculpture, the
Pietà. Here we see realism in details, everything shows down to the veins under their skin.
Despite this, it is not realistic. The Virgin is far too young and Jesus is smaller in size than she
is. This however does not take away the effect of the sculpture. She has a serene look on her
face, but still you feel how she is hurting and morning the loss of her first born son.
22 – Michelangelo – Dome of Saint Peters Church, Vatican, Rome
Michelangelo has also been a part of the construction of Saint Peters church in Rome. He took
over after Bramante and made the dome and the east wall.
25 – Michelangelo – Ceiling frescoes - Sistine Chappell, Vatican, Rome – 1508-12
25 – Creation of Adam
25 – Altar wall – Last Judgment – 1536-41
But mostly Michelangelo is known for his ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chappell. It is a
fantastic work that he made between 1508 and 1512. The way he depicted this was different
from what he was told to do but the result was some powerful that it was left as it was. The
fresco on the altar wall on the other hand had to be retouched since the pope did not like the
people being completely naked. Michelangelo refused to do this so another artist was
commissioned to paint trousers or clothes over the genitals of the figures. That artist is known
as the pants painter
31 – Pieter Brueghel the Elder – Ikaros – 1552-60
31 -
- Hunter in the snow - 1565
In Flanders one of the greatest renaissance artists is Pieter Brueghel the Elder. His art was
beautifully composed and was very popular since it reflected the contemporary social,
political and religious conditions. He is also very well known for his landscape paintings,
especially the winter scenery.
Baroque Period – from 1575-1700
Baroque is a translation of something absurd or crazy. This because it comes from the
Portuguese word for a pearl with an uneven form. It is a statement, they now leave the
perfection of the renaissance and go a bit crazy
Baroque is known for open composition with motifs placed or moving on the diagonal. Large
contrasts between light and dark is used as well as rich and deep colours. The art is very
naturalistic, the perspective is controlled and the elements depicted are formed to look
exactly as they do in real life without any improvements. Important for the Baroque art is to
move the spectator, both emotionally and intellectually. The scenery is exaggerated and
looks like the decor in a theatre.
33 – Giacomo Vignola and Giacomo della Porta – The church of Il Gesù – 1575-84
At this time the Reformation is growing in Europe and the Protestants are increasing in
number in northern Europe. The Counterreformation is mainly lead by the Jesuit order and
they work to stop the Protestantism to spread. This also meant a control of what was ok and
what was not in art and architecture. The Church of Il Gesù is a basilica in a classical style
that becomes the model for Baroque churches. There is a big contrast between these richly
decorated Catholic churches and the bare interior of the Protestant churches.
33 – Gianlorenzo Bernini – Saint Peters Square, Vatican, Rome – 1656-57
There are two sides of the baroque architecture. One side is represented by Berninis work for
the church, everything is psychologically overwhelming and grand and is supposed to make
you feel the greatness of the Christian ideology.
33 – Francesco Borromini – Church of San Carlo alle Quatro Fontane, Rome– 1665-67
This is another side where the façade is fundamentally clasic but where the sculptures and the
shift between the concave and the convex make the facade more alive.
Baroque art and sculpture
33 – Annibale Carracci – Crucifixtion – ca 1583 Santa Maria della Carrietà, Bologna
Carracci stand for the classical ideals in the Baroque paintings. The landscape is archaic,
which means that it is invented, not naturalistic. He also makes the figures perfect in shape
like the antique sculptures.
33 – Caravaggio – Entobement – Santa Maria in Vallicella, Rome – 1603
Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio paints in a different and much more naturalistic
manner. The realism in details, that he idealizes nothing and work very much with contrasts
between light and shadow makes his paintings very powerful. The composition is in the
diagonal, the light is from one source outside the picture and comes in from the left. All this
emphasizes the personal experience of god. Later other artist took over his way of painting
and that style is called Caravaggianism.
B. in France
35 – Hyacinthe Rigaud – Louis XIV – Louvre,Paris – 1701
This is the secular side of the Baroque art, where art is used to constitute power. Here we se
how L. XIV is showing of with his beautiful legs, the red high heal on his shoes, the draperies
and the ermine and silk robe of state.
34 – Louis le Vau and Jules Hardouin-Mansart – Palais de Versailles – 1660-1715
34 -
– Hall of Mirrors – began 1678
Louis XIV is the central nerve for France and Versailles is built for him and his court.
Everyone in the court had to live at Versailles, near the king, something that was not very
much liked. André Le Nôtre made the magnificent garden which became a model for the art
of making a garden all over Europe.
Flemish Baroque
39 – Peter Paul Rubens – Three Graces – 1639
Rubens is the most well known Flemish Baroque artist. He was a wealthy man who had a
workshop with some 20 to 30 employers. His work represents the side of Baroque art where
the motif is a symbol of power. He painted on demand of private buyers, often using
mythological themes.
Dutch Baroque
40 – Jan Vermeer van Delft – Girl with a pearl earring. Mauritshuis, Haag. c 1665
Jan Vermeer van Delft you might know from the book or the film The girl with the pearl
earring. He is one of the so called genre painters in the Dutch Golden Age.
39 – Clara Peeters – Still life, 1611
Clara Peeters painted still-lives but Rembrant did not have one particular genre.
Rococo Period
The name Rococo comes from the French word rocaille which means seashell or cave and the
artistic translation became something forced and exaggerated. Everything from China
became popular, silk, porcelain, spices that came here with the ships of the East Indian
35 – Antoine Watteau – The Departure from Cythera – Louvre, Paris – 1717
This picture became a model for rococo art. It shows the easy life style of the aristocracy,
where you often see shepherds and shepherdesses in an archaic landscape, a genre often called
fêtes galante. These pictures are painted in bright colours and they are supposed to give a
sence of a carfree existence.
Swedish Rococo
N. S. – 6 – Alexander Roslin – The Lady with the Vail – Nat. Mus. – 1768
Roslin studied in Italy and in France and is considdered the fore most Rococ artist in sweden.
This picture shows his French wife and her youth, the healthy skin and her glimmering eyes
are painted by a man very much in love.
English Rococo
37 – Thomas Gaisborough – Lady de Beaufort – 1770s
In England the society was dominated by merchants. They did not like the French aristocracy
and easy life style so the art from England became more moralizing and realistic. It was also
common with so called conversation pieces, pictures of families walking in the surroundings
near their homes, to show what they had and what they belonged to.
Neoclassic Period – 1750-1800
Neoclassical Painting
41 – J-L David – Death of Marat – Musées Royaux des Beaux-Art de Belgique - 1793
David was the leading French neoclassical artist but because he supported Robespierre and
the reign of Terror he was sent to jail.
41 – Jaques-Louis David – Napoleon crossing the Saint-Bernard – Chat. de Malmaison –
But luckily he met the new First Consul in 1799 and became his favorite artist, a consul later
crowned emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Swedish Neoclassical sculpture
N. S. – 5 – Johan Tobias Sergel – Cupid and Psyche – 1777
Sergel was trained to be a sculptor in Italy and France and is one of the leading neoclassical
artists in Sweden.
Romantic Period – from 1800 – 1850
37 – George Stubbs – Lion Attacking a Horse – Yale Univ. Art Gall., Yale – 1770
During the romantic period people were looking for anomalies in everything, the highest
pyramids, the oldest house, people who were geniuses. The art was made to evoke the
spectator’s feelings, to set his fantasy running. And contradictory to the secular society of the
Enlightenment people here started looking for the spiritual. They searched for God in nature,
47 - Caspar David Friedrich– The Wreck of Hope – 1842
Friedrichs pictures are very pantheistic. There is a sense of harmony and calmness in nature
and the people in the pictures often are turned away from the viewer. The ship that is going
under has a flag that is black, yellow and red, a national flag that did not exist at that time. It
is in the picture because it symbolizes Friedrichs romantic hope for a unification of a German
nation. A hope found amongst students.
42 – Francisco Goya – Third of May. 18080 – Museo del Prado, Madrid – 1814-15
The men in the picture the French soldiers are getting back at the Spanish men because of a
lynch murder the day before. In the picture you see lots of symbols. The yellow and the red
represent the Spanish nation building. This is considered the first protest painting. In it you
see the shift between light and darkness where the light represents the French Enlightenment.
The Spanish men are represented individually but the French as a dark mass. The central
figure has his arms stretched out on one hand looking like the crucified Jesus, or on the other
as a peace gesture. But it can also be a gesture of provocation.
44 – Eugène Delacroix – Liberty leading the people – Louvre, Paris – 1830
The woman holding the Tricolore is Marianne, the symbol for France and she is crossing the
barricades for her people. This has become an idealized picture of the time after the
revolutions. Often connected with the French revolution but is painted during the July
revolution in 1830, the year when the French nation building started. The King Philippe
removes the painting but in 1848 it comes out again. When Napoleons nephew Napoleon
rules he removes the picture again. But in 1871 the painting comes out once and for all and is
now hanging in the Louvre.
The Barbizon and Courbet
43 – Gustave Courbet – Bonjour M. Corbet - 1854
43 – Gustave Courbet – The stone breakers - 1894
The Barbizon school is the first out door painters in art history. Techniques to make paint in
tubes made it possible to paint freely in nature, something that had not been done before. This
made way for the realism shown in the works of Gustave Courbet. This picture shows every
day life of the working class something that had never been done before. He was dedicated to
socialism and his worked is to be seen as a symbol for his ideals. This realistic work was not
accepted in the French Salons, only the classical art from the Academy.
Impressionism – The breakthrough of Modernism
This is art that shows the urban people, the strollers. The cities grew fast and the people met at
night in cafes and at dance parlors, possible because of the electric light.
45 – Claude Monet – Impression of a setting sun – 1872
Monet became the leader of the impressionists. His painting Impression of a setting sun
named the new style.
46 – Auguste Renoir – Moulin de la Galette – Musée d’Orsay, Paris – 1876
Renoir and Monet took a lot of their technique from the Barbizon outdoor painting. Their
brushstrokes were fast and the colours light and clear.
47 – Edgar Degas – The little dancer – 1880-81
Degas painting is a bit different. He paints from strange and new angles, the way we see
things. He was affected by the Japanese art that came to Europe after the opening of the
Japanese borders in 1853.
43 – Paul Cezanne – Still life – 1890-94
He took impression from the Dutch still-life paintings but for him the most important was
form and colour. The art is nor realistic anymore, it is only paint on a canvas as he said.
Instead of a brush he uses the pallet knife, which makes the objects look hard.
46 – George Seurrat – Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte – 1884-86
Seurrat was very unromantic when it came to art. He made a scheme of the motif and then he
painted by making dots of pure colours which looked harmonic and mixed when it was ready.
This is called pointillism or neo-impressionism.
49 – Vincent Van Gogh – Night café – 1888
The Dutch painter Van Gogh was an intense artist. His works are pure in colour and shows
the pre industrial life at the country. He was extremely poor and had no success until after his
Early Twentieth Century Modernism
S. 2. – 13 – Henri Matisse – Portrait of Mme Matisse/the Green Line - 1906
Matisse and his fellow artists was called les fauves, the wild beast by a critic after a The 1905
Autumn Salon. Their art can be defined as the colorist period and they followed the tradition
of earlier artists like Delacroix and Seurrat.
S. 2. – 14 – Pablo Picasso – The tree musicians – 1916
Picasso was a Spanish classically trained artist that started the cubism with George Braque.
They were influenced by African art that came to Europe during the colonization. Here the
objects have sharp angular shapes.
Dadaism – a Swiss reaction to futurism
S. 2. – 19 – Marcel Duchamp – Fountain - 1917
In Zurich some artists gathered and started the Cabaret Voltaire. They made art that stipulated
what the word meant, total nonsense. They had a purpose with this though and that was to
point out the crazy. Just like this picture of Duchamp showing a urinal with a signature on it,
representing a so called ready made – an object made to be art.
Surrealism – A reaction to postwar rationalism in architecture and art
S. 2 – 9 – Salvador Dalì – The persistence of memory, 1931
The surrealists also had manifest written by former Dadaist André Breton. He declared his
liking of Freud’s discoveries of the unconscious. They had the firm belief that you could
switch over to autopilot and draw, write and paint without thinking. Something called
After World War Two
S. 2. – 20 – Jackson Pollock – Lavender fog – 1950
Lots of artists had to seek refuge in the United States during the Second World War. A hole
new art scene developed there at the New York School and names you might know are
Jackson Pollock, Marc Rothko and Pollock’s wife Lee Krasner. They all belonged to the
abstract Expressionists.
Pop-art – 1950s
S. 2. – 20 – Richard Hamilton – What is it that makes todays homes so different, so
appealing? – Collage on paper – 1956
In this work you see how influenced Hamilton is by Duchamp´s work. Duchamp is highly
important for the existence of pop-art.
S. 2. – Roy Lichtenstein – Oh Jeff, I love you too, but.. – 1964
Lichtenstein may be the artist whose work defines pop-art. He uses comics and makes them
big and changes the text in the picture. This is art from the popular culture.
S. 2. – 20 – Andy Warhol – Marilyn Diptych – 1962
Warhol was an illustrator who stated making art in the new fashion like Lichtenstein. He went
from hand painted art to printing large scale photographic pictures with a silk screen
technique. He is known for his art using Campbell soup cans and Brilo boxes.
S. 2. – 18 – Cindy Sherman – Untitled # 224 – 1990
Caravaggio - Bacchus
After a period of minimalism where the minimalists believed the on going progress and
development of art there came a loss of faith in all this. The generation of artists in the 70s
had the idea that nothing was new anymore and that the only way of making art today is to
use what already had been done. To borrow from previous artists just the way Sherman does
in her Photos. Here she uses a painting by Caravaggio and remakes the motif using her self as
object. She also takes the photos herself.
What is art today?
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