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Triumph Of The Avant Garde Essay

1067 words - 5 pages

“Triumph of the avant-garde”
The term “avant-garde” was originally used in reference to the advancement of a military unit. In the late 18th century and into the 19th century, a movement began in art and architecture that was intended to do just that. Artists were beginning to move forward in their expression of ideas. They were trying new techniques, and testing the boundaries of what was acceptable. These avant-garde artists were beginning to challenge art itself and its very definition.
Up to his point, art was about expression, but the expression was limited by rules and governed by the very specific influences of period. For the purposes of success and acceptance, most artists ...view middle of the document...

In the middle section, three humans are centered directly under the statue of the god. The female in the center is seated in a provocative pose, while the two on the sides are lying in a fetal position. These figures likely symbolize the cycle of birth, life, and death. The lower section of the painting is the most abstract of the three sections. In it, Gauguin used a pattern of vibrantly colored shapes to depict a pool of water. Because there is a beach, and because the middle character in the painting has her feet in it, we know it’s supposed to be a body of water. But there is no reflection on the water as there would be in reality. It’s as if Gauguin is revealing that this is not reality, but his own glorified vision of what the reality should be.
During the turn of the century, society, culture, and politics were all changing at a rapid pace, and artists continued to pour their personal thoughts and feelings into their works of art. An example of this is Edvard Munch’s The Scream. About this painting, Munch explained in his diary, “one evening I was walking along a path; the city was on one side, and the fjord below. I was tired and ill…I sensed a shriek passing through nature…I painted the picture, painted the clouds as actual blood.” It’s as if Munch took all of the anxiety he was feeling, turned them into paint, and then poured them out for the world to see. The swirling lines and abstract shapes create a feeling of chaos. The shades of reds and oranges in the sky, the ominous dark colors of the landscape, and the sunken in features on the face of the main figure combine to depict the anxiety and fear of death. On a technical note, the abstract details and use of dramatic color in the painting are reminiscent of Gauguin.
Even into the 20th century, artists continued to further push the limits on what was acceptable to society and the arts. They continued to promote the concept that the process of creating art is sometimes more important than the final work of art itself. In the 1940’s in New York, a...

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