Compare and Contrast the Work of Two Artists from Different Movements or Trends - Contextual Studies Essay
The two artists from different moments that I have chosen to compare and contrast are Peter Blake from the pop art movement and Jackson Pollock from the abstract expressionism movement. In this essay I will analyse each of the art forms both of these artists belong to. I am going to look at individual pieces of art work and compare and contrast the two. I will also be looking at the different influences that could’ve affected or inspired the each artists work.
Pop art is an art movement that started around the 1950’s in both Britain and the United States. This movement somewhat defied tradition trying to state that the artist’s use of mass produced commercialised items from society’s “popular” culture is connected with some of the perspectives from the fine art movement. Pop art takes the material from the context it was originally intended for and removes it then either combines it with other objects, drawings, figures or isolates the object completely for the viewer’s contemplation. The idea of Pop art tries not to refer to art itself but more to the attitudes that seemingly led to it. Pop artists use aspects from our culture such as advertising, comic books and day to day objects. Due to their use of found objects and images it is somewhat similar to Dada. This movement is aimed to use images of the popular as opposed to the “elitist” culture of art. They do this to emphasise the trite elements of any given culture sometimes through the use of irony.
Pop art is considered to be an art movement that seemingly came before postmodern art or some of the earliest examples of Postmodern Art themselves. Some Pop artists often take their imagery from product labels and logos which become prominent in the imagery chosen by pop artists for example like Andy Warhol’s famous piece featuring Campbell’s soup cans.
American Abstract expressionism was an American post World War II art movement. Although the term “abstract expressionism” was first applied to American art by an art critic Robert Coates it was reported that term was coined in Germany in 1919 in a magazine by the name of Der Sturm. In the USA however it was first used by Alfred bar to describe the work of Kandinsky. This movements name originated from a combination of emotional passion and self-denial. Abstract artist had freedom to express whatever they felt on the canvas. They didn’t have to conform to rules in order to express themselves. Their image was that of rebellion, anarchy, and highly distinctive art pieces. The artist had no boundaries and restrictions it was seen representative of the USA at the time, as a place of free thought and free markets. Their work was also a challenge to both the socialist realist styles flourishing in communist nations and their dominance in the European art market.
Peter Blake’s work is more commercially based whereas Jackson Pollock’s work seems to be his own free thinking expression of emotions laid out on the canvas. According to Wikipedia Jackson Pollock’s radical approach to painting had apparent revolutionized the potential for all contemporary art that came after him. He also was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. It is also claimed that Pollock had realised that the journey towards him creating a piece of artwork was just as if not more important than the work of art itself. Pollock is said to have redefined what it was to produce art. When he moved away from easel painting and the conventionality of his previous art works was a liberating signal to many of the artists from his era and to the artist who came after him. Artists began to realise that Pollock’s Process had essentially pushed elements of art making beyond any of the prior boundaries.
“"My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer to tack the un-stretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.
"I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives and dripping fluid paint or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass or other foreign matter added.
"When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.”
-- Jackson Pollock, My Painting, 1956”
What I admired about this quote is that he is describing the process of making his paintings in this way. He had moved away from figurative representation in his art work, and challenged the Westernised tradition of using just an easel and brush. He also moved away from the use of only the hand and wrist, since he used his whole body to paint.
I chose to analyse this specific piece because it is one of my favourite works by Jackson Pollock it’s slightly different to his drip style method but still holds true to Pollock’s signature style. I love the use of contrasting colours and the array of somewhat geometric and abstract shapes.
This piece is bold a playful although it may look like it had only taken a matter of minutes I can tell that each mark, brush stroke or shape was highly anticipated and planned in order to create this piece.
This is an example of some of the commercially based work Peter Blake created. I chose this piece because to me this is one of his most famous works and it was created for an album cover for the Beatles.
I love the use of collage to depict some sort of funeral taking place. I picked this piece because not only do I like the album cover but this piece could be viewed as satirical mainly because Peter Blake has incorporated a group of faces of people looking very “Hollywood” all attending a “funeral” for the Beatles with the Beatles standing in the middle of the scene.
I think both artists are important to their movement simply because both of them played a part in pushing their respective line of work and art movements forward within the art industry. Through my research and looking at both of these artists and their line of work I have come to the conclusion that although they are different they have quite a few similarities. For example they are both driven to create work that is meant to be discussed and although pop art incorporates a lot of pop culture references within their work it is not always one hundred percent straight forward as it may seem to the viewer.
In my opinion although abstract expressionism is mainly emotionally driven I believe that is some aspects the art form itself has become quite commercial in a sense. You can now see abstract like techniques even used incorporated onto album covers. This art movement is not seen as something commercially driven I believe over the years abstract art is no longer seen as form of “rebellion” and has pretty much become a part of the norm within the art world.
Renaissance and Neoclassicism are two major periods in the history of art, during which different forms of art including architecture, painting, music, and visual arts significantly progressed. During these eras, many artists gained enormous fame as a result of the masterpieces they produced, reflecting how the ideologies and artistic philosophies evolved during that time. This essay compares and contrasts these two art periods with respect to the major works created by prominent artists. In this regard, the masterpiece David, created by Michelangelo has been compared with Antonio Canova’s statue Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Both of these works reflect the artistic progression of their ages. David represents Renaissance art by reflecting the political situation of that time, whereas Psyche Revised by Cupid’s Kiss depicts the artist’s focus on classical Greek and Roman styles.
The Renaissance Era refers to a period of rebirth in art. It was a cultural movement that took place between the classical and modern periods of art (Johnson, 2005). During this phase, there were significant developments occurring within different art forms. The artists widely reflected the culture, social conditions, and political structure of their societies. They went beyond the boundaries of classical art, and created art with unconventional ideas, and depicted the political and social conditions of their societies (Earls, 1987).
Neoclassicism, also called the Era of Enlightenment, is the period after the Renaissance, during which artists mainly focused on exploring and recreating classical art, especially Greek and Roman styles. During this period, the artists widely emphasized reviving the classic antiquity that highly inspired the art pieces created during this period. It was in reaction to peoples’ opposition to Romanticism (Bietoletti, 2009).
There are some renowned artists who made major contributions in the emergence and development of Renaissance art. For instance, Michelangelo is a notable name in the history of art, playing a vital role in the fruition of Renaissance art. He was an Italian painter, sculptor, and poet who adopted several unconventional styles of art and significantly contributed towards the progress of western art during this period. He introduced versatility within the art forms, and created several masterpieces that truly represent Renaissance art by depicting certain social, cultural, and political issues.
An important creation of Michelangelo’s during the Renaissance phase was the marble statue of a nude standing male named David. The statue was made to represent the biblical hero David who was one of the most favored subjects within Florentine art. The statue David depicts the political situation of the country. With a warning glare in the eye turned toward Rome, the statue symbolizes the defense of the civil liberty of the Florentine Republic that was threatened by the surrounding powerful states during that time. The statue is an excellent and renowned example of the Renaissance Era because it reflects the political and social conditions of that time.
The Neoclassicism Era also gave birth to many exemplary artists (Chilvers, 2004), including Antonio Canova, who was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice. His art pieces indicate the return of art towards classical refinement. His statue Psyche Revised by Cupid Kiss is an important example of neoclassical devotion to love and reflection of intricate emotions. The statue shows the love god Cupid at the heights of tenderness and affection, kissing the lifeless Psyche to make it alive. The statue reflects the Roman style of portraying delicate emotions within art, for which it has been regarded as an example of the Neoclassical Movement.
Earls, I. (1987). Renaissance Art: A Topical Dictionary, London: ABC-CLIO, 1987.
Bietoletti, S. (2009). Neoclassicism & Romanticism. NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
Johnson, G.A. (2005). Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Jul 28, 2005.
Chilvers, I. (2004). The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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