CATHARSIS

Art. Loads of it.

Category: art

Profile: Surrealism

Surrealism is a movement which can be found in art, but also literature, theatre, music and much more. It’s a reaction to the philosophical movement called existentialism, multiple social problems, like the first world war, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and of course the odd anti-artists from the Dada movement.

Dadaists were experimenting with the accident of art, especially Hans Arp and Max Ernst. In Dada, this was to make fun of art and art history. Dadaists explored the boundaries of  ‘what art is’.

When Dada was cancelled – because the lack of audience – many artists kept on making weird art, but with another statement; to explore the unconsciousness and coincidence in art.

André Breton founded Surrealism, he wrote the surrealist manifesto (in 1925 of course)

Surrealists discovered that the unconsciousness goes crazy when there is a sexual impuls.

Coca cola knows how to use this:

Many surrealists used nudity and obscure images, simply to tell us about the unconsciousness, and of course, in combination with a lot of weird things. Sometimes to make a statement about society, sometimes to tell you about their unconsciousness.

Examples for nudity in surrealism:

Rene Magritte – Philosophy in the Boudoir (1947)

Salvador Dalí – Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (1936)

Frida Kahlo – Broken Column (1944)

Some surrealists didn’t sketch and draw like the more figurative sirrealists. Margitte, Dalí, Kahlo and Kush, for example, paint more Naturalist. Those more Naturalist works are named ‘pittura metafysica’ which is a substyle of surrealism. There’s also an abstract-coincidental variant and a half-automatist variant. Some say 3D is a surrealism variant as well.

Míro is one of the most famous automatist surrealists. He didn’t sketch anything, he just painted his impulses. He let his unconscious do the work, without thinking about statemnents or anything. He just let it out.

Examples:


Carnival of Harlequin (1924)

The Nightingale Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain (1940)

Woman and Little Girl in Front of the Sun (1946)

Max Ernst and Hans Arp were surrealists of the more abstract variant of surrealism. Ernst used a lot of techniques to ruin paintings, like grattage for example. Scraping the paint of the canvas. Dripping the canvas into water or turpetine. Fumage; to smoke his painting, or heatage; to melt the paint, and loads of other crazy techniques to create something random, something accidental, a coincidence or something that came from the unconsciousness.

Here are some examples of Ernst abstract techniques.

Forest and Sun  (1931)


Eye of the Silence (1944)

Surrealism is also a reaction to existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophical movement which gives no answers to life questions; you exist because you do. ”I am, therefore I am”. Chaos.

This is what we see in Surrealism as well.

And as the big finale; two more Surrealist works. Just because I can.

Yves Tanguy – Indefinite Divisibility (1942)

Salvador Dalí – Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening  (1944)

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Vincent van Gogh’s Japonism serie

Japonism is a style or a subject in an artwork, from a country that’s not Japan. Which is, of course, inspired by the old Japanese art. It was very popular in the seventh century, but it was re-opened in the 19th. Our friend Vincent has done a beautiful serie which belongs to (re-opened) Japonism.

Courtesan (after Eisen)  (1887)

Flowering Plum Tree (after Hirosege) (1887)

Bridge in the Rain (after Hirosege) (1887)

I think it’s wonderful to see something else than van Gogh’s typical postimpressionist paintings – though they are absolutely beautiful as well.

Profile: De Stijl

De Stijl is also known as Neoplasticism or ‘Mondrian-style’ with people who don’t know much about art history.

De Stijl was founded in 1917 by Theo van Doesburg. De Stijl emerged from the first world war, so the Dutch artists (The Netherlands were neutral in WO I) didn’t have a lot of contact with foreign artists. De Stijl was a way for Dutch artists to get in touch with each other, because De Stijl wasn’t just a movement or style, it was also a magazine!

Cover of one of the first editions of De Stijl.

Neoplasticism means ‘new way to image something’. And that new way, is to reduce everything to straight lines, and primary colours. Pure abstraction. This is pretty radical for this time, because there was only Der Blaue Reiter, a substyle of Expressionism which made images of pure abstraction on canvas. De Stijl was an idea from the artists to bring back balance in the world, and to eradicate  the horrible things there were going on in the world. De Stijl is a reaction to world war 1.

Our friend Mondrian was very dedicated to De Stijl, and he really lived up to the ‘rules’ of De Stijl. He believes in the balance of horizontal and vertical lines combined with primary colours, white, black and grey. To make his work more balanced and estethic, he put the golden section in a lot of his works. Some examples of Mondrian’s paintings:

Composition  no. 12  or Composition with blue (1936-1942)

Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow (1937-1942)

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-1943)

Theo van Doesburg didn’t really live up that much to the ‘rules’ of De Stijl. He had no problems with some green and some diagonals, he even gave the name ”elementarism” to his more free paintings. Elementarism has the same principals as De Stijl though, you can call it a substyle. Take a look.

Counter-Composition with Disonances XVI (1925)

The Cow (1918)

Mondrian was so pissed at van Doesburg’s diagonals and his elementarism that he left De Stijl. That’s how dedicated he was.

There are a lot of other De Stijl artists though. On this picture you can see van Doesburg (right) and van Eesteren (left).

All those other painter’s had their own creativity and thoughts on De Stijl, which makes De Stijl so special. It goes back to the essence of art, and even with so many rules, the works are still so very different. That’s probably the thing that fascinates me the most about De Stijl. So many options, so much creativity and differences between artists.

Bart van der Leck – Composition no. 4 (1916)

César Domela – Neoplastic Relief no. 10 (1930)

And over the last 100 years, people still look up to De Stijl, though a lot of people only see the lines and the primary colours. But it’s so much more than that.

And to end this post, I would like to show you a serie of dresses from Yves Saint Laurent in 1965.

Profile: Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer was born in october 1632 in Delft, Dutch Republic (now The Netherlands).

There are 34 works universally attributed to him. In other words, he has 34 paintings that are very famous. Some only amongst people who are common with art history, but others like the Milkmaid and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Vermeer only used paintings, and you could call his works Baroque, but baroque is a very wide and complex word. If we split it up into two pieces, the (catholic) contrareformatorical baroque and the (protestant) classical baroque, Vermeer would fit the ‘rules’ of the classical variant. Dutch baroque, like Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen and Frans Hals. (Dutch baroque is always classical.)

Vermeer has a very notable signature:

It’s not his full last name, nor his front name. Some have very different interpretations of the thing he did with the M, but all I know is that it looks unique and different. And to quote Chanel’s Karl Lagerfield, I can say ”In order to be beatiful, one must always be different.”

Vermeer’s first paintings contain mythological and religious stories and images. In his later works, you see that he is more inspired by the normal and the everyday life. Though he drew it more beautiful than it probably was. Like some of his landscape paintings. For example View of Delft (1660-1661)

Another thing you can see in Vermeer’s paintings that he perfers dead colouring. That means he uses a lot of browns and greys. Though in only some objects in his paintings he does use more saturated colours like blues, yellows and reds. For example

The Girl with the Wine Glass (1659-1660)

Vermeer was not the only one who used this contrast, but it really stands out in a lot of his works. Of course there is also this typical contrast in his most famous and important paintings : The Milkmaid and The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

One of my favourite Vermeers is probably Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window.

Mainly, because it is multi-interpretable. You don’t know what kind of letter she is reading. She could be reading a letter from her boyfriend, or she could be reading a letter from her mother, that her father has past away. You don’t know who the girl is. You can assume she is a maid by judging by her clothes, because it’s not really frivolous, which is typical for the Baroque era. But yeah, what can you say, maybe it’s her morning gown, or she’s just poor. I love the complementary contrast in the carpet (or what is it?) and the curtain. It really stands out, though both colours are not very satured.

It’s sad that Vermeer died when he was 43 years old. He could’ve made so much more wonderful art if he were to become older than that.

Vermeer is one of the most accomplished artists in history. I admire him a lot.

My blog name.

As you might have seen, my blog title is filled in with some artworks. I want to introduce them to you in a post and tell you who created them. I’ve made the title with photoshop if you were curious.

C: Leonardo da Vinci – Mona Lisa (ca. 1503-1507)

A: Vincent Van Gogh – Starry Night (1889)

T: Gustav Klimt – The Kiss (1907-1908)

H: Jackson Pollock – Autumn Rythm (1950)

A: Sandro Botticelli – The Birth of Venus (ca. 1486)

R: Piet Mondrian – Composition With Blue, Red and Yellow (1930)

S: Roy Liechtenstein – Girl With Hair Ribbon (1965)

I: Damien Hirst – For The Love of God (2007)

S: Johannes Vermeer – Girl With a Pearl Earring (1665-1667)

 

What is ‘catharsis’?

Catharsis

Catharsis is a Greek word, which means ‘purification’ or ‘cleansing’. Aristoteles was the first person who used the word.  Catharsis in psychology can be explained as something that happens to a reciever of an artwork. Whether it is a play, a movie, a sculpture, a symphony, a collage or a painting, if one can relate to the artwork, and is opened up to it, they will be able to experience a catharsis. That is a feeling of relief, of emotions which were kept away. Emotions of grief, or anger. Those can be released with a catharsis. A catharsis can give  a feeling of relief, or enlightment.

Personally, I experience a little catharsis when I look at most artworks. I’ve only experienced bigger ones with music, my first Mondrian and a couple of movies.

Some examples:

My first Mondrian (at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)

Arrival of the birds and Transformation – The Cinematic Orchestra

 The 9th symphony – Beethoven, Zubin Mehta, Toykyo Opera Singers, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hisami Namikawa (Soprano), Mihoko Fujimura (Mezzo Soprano), Kei Fukui (Tenor) and Attila Jun (Bass)

V for Vendetta’s final sequence (2005)