Influence Of Art On African Art Essay

Influence Of Art On African Art Essay

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Art is defined as works created by artists, including, but not limited to paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings (Merriam Webster). As the late 1800’s and early 1900’s began to set in, African art started its migration from the land of its origin, into the settings of European and American art galleries and exhibits. Modern artists were drawn to African sculpture because of its sophisticated approach to the abstraction of the human figure. During this time period artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, were thriving in trend setting for the entire art community. During the early 1900s, the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European artists who in turn began to turn the focus away from beauty and more towards conflicting color tones and figural distortion, to depict the apprehensions of modern life. Upon the introduction of this old, but new art style, their works began to transform even more, which eventually led to the beginning stages of cubism, fauvism, and eventually modern art.
While African Art has been around for centuries, it was often misunderstood as primitive, therefore it carried negative connotations. Colonization and exploitation in Africa during the late 19th century and early 20th century helped to unhinge the common stereotypes associated with African cultures, while also transforming modern art. At the start of the 20th century, artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Amedeo Modigliani became aware of and captivated by African art. African art challenged the imagination, emotions and perceptions of beauty, through its various focal points and depiction of modern life. Artists saw in African art a formal p...


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...world to begin to question their own material, subjects, and intentions. Before the twentieth century, the West had always looked upon African Art, simply as objects of archaeological interest, with little or no artistic merit at all. In turn, it failed to have any impact on the development of Western Art, before then. However, at the turn of the twentieth century, Western artists were looking for new perspectives and seeking to liberate themselves from the confines of the more established artistic conventions. They sought to use their talent to convey concerns and preferences on a platform of self-expression using more abstract styles. The early 1900’s saw the development of many highly influential art movements, and the ingenious methods of African art fit well with these new concepts, and therefore served as a major influence on modern art that we see today.

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