Such is the breath of the subject of art history, no simple short essay of it`s influence on our lives could ever do it justice. To any student of art, it`s history explains it`s aims and meanings, visual appreciation becoming the precursor of future study.
Art records either realistically, fantastically, erotically, and even bizarrely an individual`s interpretation of events and this is perhaps it`s very ” raison d`etre.” From early cave paintings to today’s flood of images on the internet, an individual`s urge to both create and inform is often driven by social change, with a desire to express emotions which directly arise from such changes. The period 1890-1940 saw much in the way of technical, scientific and social change`s. Indeed, the Great War of 1914-1918 directly gave birth to Dada, which later morphed into the often weird and disturbing images of Surrealism.
1892 saw the development of fingerprinting and over 40 years later the advent of Teflon and walkie-talkies. In art too came a torrent of “isms” ie any distinctive doctrine, theory or practice – usually in disparagement ( ie to belittle ) which created new and often strange images driven by technical advances and politics.
The period 1890-1940 delivered no less than 14 movements or art styles ending in the now ubiquitous “ism” and this list does not include the Bauhaus School of Art founded by Walter Gropius ( 1883-1969 ) or metaphysical painting founded by Giorgio de Chirico in 1917.
The Exhibition then featured 5 of the best-known and familiar “Ism`s ” referred to in my article, starting with Post Impressionism, then Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and finally Surrealism.
– Robert (Bob) George