Post Impressionism and Art

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Post Impressionism and Art

Modernism is an art movement that is characterized by a deliberate departure from tradition to a more expressive form that distinguishes many styles in the arts and literature of the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Emile Bernard was part of this modern art movement as can be seen in his painting, "Breton Woman and Haystacks", painted around 1888. Impressionists were modern artists who tended to paint outside landscapes and street scenes and were concerned with the effects of light. Bernard was a Post-Impressionist artist who considered Impressionism too casual or too naturalistic, and sought a means of exploring emotion in paint. Bernard's work, "Breton Woman and Haystacks", depicts a woman in traditional clothing with a picturesque landscape in the background as influenced by Japanese prints and Medieval stained glass windows. The techniques used in prints and stained glass windows were used to create an abstract painting that combined strong pure colors surrounded by heavy black outlines and repetitive shapes based on agricultural landscapes and local costume.

Modern artists were concerned with new types of paints and other materials, in expressing feelings and ideas, in creating abstractions and fantasies, rather than representing what is real. This kind of art requires its audience to observe the work carefully in order to get some facts about the artist, his intention, and his environment before forming judgments about the work. "Breton Woman and Haystacks" shows a contemporary woman wearing traditional costume standing in a secluded countryside. The painting signaled Bernard's fully realized break from Impressionism. There is no pretence that it represents an objective vi...

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...t of Modern Art because it allowed artists an opportunity to express hidden views within their work. Bernard used flattened, heavily outlined areas of color in "Breton Woman and Haystacks". This painting was a reaction against the naturalistic techniques of Impressionism, and an attempt at simplification, in order to express key emotional and spiritual ideas. The unpretentiously painted women and the simple rendering of haystacks behind her suggest Bernard was trying to imitate the artistic styles of Breton folk art. Folk art is a term used to describe art and artifacts made within the parameters of rural craft industries by artisans with little or no interest in emulating fine art production. Bernard was not influenced by fine art movements of the time but rather finds its continuity in the self-sufficient craft practices of the rural community of Brittany.
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