Human beings have always found art to be a subtle way to express their innermost sentiments. People have painted or sculpted to convey their love for nature. The oldest painting by a human hand was 40,000 years ago. People used art to depict their religious or political sentiments, too, and many ancient human civilizations have distinct artistic values. Ancient Greek and Roman made statues out of marble and bronze of their heroes and deities. Then Europeans found a reawakening in the form of Renaissance that changed their perception of art. The Renaissance gave us some masterful Italian painters, writers, and sculptors.
Art has no boundaries
Science tends to make its theories within the boundaries of the laws of nature. But art provides people a chance to be creative and innovative. People have applied artistic prowess to author great works of fiction or produce the most harmonious music pieces. The cultural landscape inspires open-minded individuals to experience the utmost imaginative liberty. Let’s look at some of the artistic genres that are still prevailing in 2020:
1. Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: This movement emerged as a resistance to Raphael’s influence on art. They wanted to paint everything as real as artistically possible.
2. Post-Impressionism: This 19th-century movement emerged as a reaction against the realist Impressionists. It involved symbolism and the depiction of abstract imagery.
3. Maori: This art form belongs to the indigenous Maori people. Traditional Maori art
involves charcoal paintings, body tattoos, wood carvings, etc.
4. Kiwiana: This movement believes in representing the heritage of New Zealand in its paintings. For example, the silver fern flag has become a national symbol of the country.
5. Impressionism: This 19th-century movement believed in depicting the impression left by the people on the artist. This highly-criticized movement came into being with Monet.
6. Expressionism: Expressionists aren’t interested in depicting the physical reality of things. They express the emotions or the inner feelings of the artist.
7. Cubism: This movement began in the early 20th century, and it was pioneered by giants such as Picasso. It’s so named because it depicts its subjects as geometrical figures.
8. Retro style: Relatively fresh, this form of art involves vintage imagery. They depict something of historical significance to hit upon the viewer’s sense of nostalgia.
9. Abstract art: This style marks the departure from naturalism in imagery. It involves the usage of various shapes and colors for artistic expression. It’s abstract because it isn’t visually accurate.
10. 20th-century modern art: This artistic movement – called modernism – emerged by the end of the 19th century. Rejecting naturalism, these artists focused on the rapidly-transforming Western society.
Top 10 Masterpieces in 2020
As we’ve introduced some famous genres of art, let’s talk about some renowned paintings. The artistic examples we’ll discuss are the status of masterpieces, even in 2020. These paintings are well-known for their creative genius and artistic beauty.
1. Black Square: Famous Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich painted four variants of this picture. He completed the first one in 1915. Critics often describe this masterpiece as a zero point of the painting. This fantastic art piece now lies in Moscow, considerably degraded with time, and merely consists of thick black paint on a middle-sized canvas with white-colored edges. But art enthusiasts call it one of the most frightening sights
ever to behold.
2. Dusk in Venice: Claude Monet painted this depiction of a Venitian island during 1908-12. Monet is none other than the guy who founded the Impressionist movement. His 1874 painting of a French sunrise became the starting point of the Impressionist exhibition, and many versions of this painting exist. The cities of Cardiff and Tokyo own these versions.
3. Girl with the Pearl Earring: This painting belongs to the Dutch Golden Age. It was the time of famous Dutch painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. The latter painted this masterpiece in 1665 and depicts a woman wearing a turban and a large earring. No wonder the Dutch people selected it as their country’s most beautiful art piece.
4. Guernica: Pablo Picasso was arguably one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. His services to the Cubist movement earned him a respectable place among painters. But this particular masterpiece came to be known as a powerful anti-war message. Painted two years before WWII, the word Guernica depicts the tragedies of war.
5. Nighthawks: Edward Hopper was a realist who believed in painting nature as observed. His Nighthawks became one of the most recognizable art pieces in American history. This 1942 masterpiece belongs to the American Realism movement. It depicts people in a downtown diner as viewed from the deserted street outside.
6. Nude Descending a Staircase: Before 1912, Cubists rejected this modernist classic. They believed it was heresy – a piece of ridicule – by the painter Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp painted this masterpiece by involving both Cubist and Futurist elements. The author’s Cubism also sparkles in his Portrait of Chess Players.
7. Ophelia: This pre-Raphaelite masterpiece was a British production. Millais – one of the founders of this movement – painted Ophelia in the 1850s. It depicts a character from Hamlet moments before her suicide. For its beauty and the depiction of nature, critics consider this to be a 19th-century masterpiece. Experts value it to be worth $40 million.
8. The Scream: Munch was an Expressionist painter from Norway. The Scream is Munch’s best-known work. Got painted in 1883, this masterpiece depicts the anxiety of human beings. He painted many versions of this Norwegian fjord. It got stolen twice. In 2012, an American collector bought it for more than $100 million.
9. The Starry Night: Vincent van Gogh was an essential Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. Famous for painting The Potato Eaters and The Night Café, The Starry Night was his magnum opus. It depicts what he could see from the window of his French asylum room. The author had very little to say about the interpretation of this scenery. It has become a kind of Western symbol.
10. Whistler’s Mother: James Whistler, the American-British author of this masterpiece, didn’t name it that way. He called it Arrangement in Grey and Black. But people now recognize it by the name of the woman depicted in it, Whistler’s mother. Critics describe it as an American icon. Got painted during the Victorian days, it’s often compared to Mona Lisa. It’s because of the painting done in Victorian London. The American-British artist believed in art for art’s sake.
Art is a revered form of expression. No wonder it makes a profitable industry in the world. The international art market reached a massive $67 billion
in 2018. And this number is rapidly increasing. People have always used art to communicate their innermost desires and sentiments. New Zealand is the home of some very expressive and dignified art forms. Paintings, carvings, and statues beautify people’s observations of nature. Art allows us to create the self-perceived illusion of our surroundings. It gives us a chance to convey life as we see it before us. Quoting actor Robin Williams: Poetry, beauty, romance, and love are what we stay alive for’.