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19th Century Art Essay

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19th Century Art


During the 19th century, a great number of revolutionary changes altered forever the face of art and those that produced it. Compared to earlier artistic periods, the art produced in the 19th century was a mixture of restlessness, obsession with progress and novelty, and a ceaseless questioning, testing and challenging of all authority. Old certainties about art gave way to new ones and all traditional values, systems and institutions were subjected to relentless critical analysis. At the same time, discovery and invention proceeded at an astonishing rate and made the once-impossible both possible and actual. But most importantly, old ideas rapidly became obsolete which created an entirely new artistic world highlighted by such extraordinary talents as Vincent Van Gogh, Eugene Delacroix, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Claude Monet. American painting and sculpture came around the age of 19th century. Art originated in Paris and other different European cities. However, it became more popular in United States around 19th century.
Painting in the 19th century, still highly influenced by the spirit of Romanticism, proved to be a far more sensitive medium for the kind of personal expression one should expect from the romantic subjectivity of the time. At the very beginning of the “modern period” stands the imposing figure of Francisco Goya (1746-1828), the great independent painter from Spain. With much indebtedness to Velazquez, Rembrandt and the wonders of the natural world, Goya occupies the status of an artistic giant. His artistic range goes from the late Venetian Baroque through the brilliant impressionistic realism of his own to a late expressionism in which dark and powerful distor...


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... which contains a subtle but explicit expression of two lovers tightly embracing with a kiss.
In conclusion, the art of the 19th century was composed of a sequence of competing artistic movements that sought to establish its superiority, ideologies and style within the artistic community of Europe. These movements, being Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, ultimately spread far beyond the confines of Europe and made modern art an international entity which can still be felt in today’s artistic world.



Works Cited

Holt, Elizabeth G. From the Classicist to the Impressionists: Art and Architecture in the 19th Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966.
Needham, Gerald. 19th Century Realist Art. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.

Peillex, Georges. History of Art: 19th Century Painting. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1964.



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