Saturday, November 6, 2010
William Blake, Portrait of Newton, 1795
Bas Jan Ader, I'm too sad to tell you, 1970
Gottfried Helnwein, Untitled (After Caspar David Friedrich), 1998
Kathy Prendergast, A Dream of Discipline, 1989-2006
An increasing interest in subjectivity and individual expression in the face of oppressive regimes and economies led artists to new territories: mining the unconscious and turning towards nature in order to encounter the Sublime, and exoticizing outsiders (the insane) and foreign lands (the East), in a search of more "authentic" experiences. This complex of ideals appealed to individual human emotion in a novel way. William Blake's interior vision, Gericault's highly dramatic treatment of differences and tragedies, and Hudson River Valley landscape paintings are examples of three distinct directions these new ideas blossomed into.
Threads of the Romantic are still very relevant in many contemporary artworks. Discussion questions: How do you think the emotional potency of early Romantic works functions today? And, can you think of examples of contemporary Romantic works?
Reading for the coming week: The Nature of Realism, by Linda Nochlin