The history of art dates back to ancient times. Artwork can be, and was, found around the world. What makes art interesting is that it can be created in any way, shape or form with any materials. It seems that the artwork can also tell us a lot about the artist. Art seems to be simply, a direct, visual reflection of the artist s life. Therefore, one can assume that an artist s life experiences and beliefs directly influence their art. If we look at examples from different periods of art we will be able to see the connection between the artist and the art.
One of the earliest examples of beliefs and tradition affecting art can be seen in Ancient art. The ancient Egyptians had a strong belief in life. On the other hand, they also had greater faith in the afterlife. They believed that a dead body should have been preserved as efficiently as possible. This is due to the fact that they believed the spirit, or ka, would return to the body in which it came from, from time to time. In preserving the body, they had to remove the internal organs so that they wouldn t deteriorate inside the body. This is where art influenced by beliefs can be seen.
The four Canopic Jars, which are considered art, were reserved for the function of holding the internal organs. They date back to 1070 to 712 BC. Each jar represented a different species. They were a human, baboon, falcon and jackal. They were also known as the Four Sons of Horus. This is an example of beliefs influencing art, however, there are also examples of how life experiences can influence art. An early example of art influenced by the artist s experiences can be observed in the High Renaissance. In April 1508, Julius II summoned Michelangelo back to Rome, but he was still not able to start on the papal tomb.
In fact Julius II had a new job for him. It involved painting twelve figures of apostles and some decorations on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Buonarroti, who had always regarded himself as a sculptor, would now have to learn the art of the fresco. One of the many pieces found on the ceiling is The Creation of Man which is known around the world. In this piece we can see the religious connection between the art and the artist. Michelangelo, a devoted Christian, believed in God and therefore decided to paint a picture depicting the creation of man by God.
However, one might disagree and say that he was forced to paint these pictures with a Christian connotation. This could be true, but it just shows how life experiences also directly influence the outcome of a piece. If we look at periods closer to the present we can also see other strong examples of the relevance between art and the artist. Impressionism began during the 19th century. An example of an artist s beliefs influencing his art can be seen in the works of Pierre Auguste Renoir. It is documented that he felt that art should be different from the real world, which can be cold and harsh.
He said, Why shouldn t art be pretty? and There are enough unpleasant things in the world. An example of his attitude towards art can be seen in A Girl with a Watering Can from 1876. This picture can easily be interpreted as being beautiful and therefore it proves that his belief of art is true. Dance at Bougival from 1883, is yet another example of the artist and the inspiration for the art. By painting an attractive scene with two people dancing accompanied by laughing faces in the background we see a correlation between his quotes above and this piece.
Therefore, one can conclude that Renoir painted mostly beautiful and attractive art. Unfortunately, for some artists, the reality of life isn t so beautiful. One of the most talented, yet mentally ill artists of all time was Vincent Van Gogh. He was also from the 19th century belonging to the post-impressionists. In order for one to analyze the art of Van Gogh, his life history should be first looked at. After countless rejections from women, Vincent ended up in a mental asylum. During 1888 he cut of his left earlobe, which demonstrated how depressed he really was.
At this time he began to improve mentally and was released January 7 of the next year. We can see his mental energy in one of his most recognizable works entitled Starry Night. Due to his experiences in the asylum we can observe his repressed energy being brought out into his piece. The bright colors in the stars are extremely powerful. His quick, spontaneous and energetic brushstrokes are great examples of his agitated mental condition. These examples tell us a lot about the artist in this case. However, in other cases, the art subtly reflects the artist s beliefs and experiences.
Mondrain s works were those of an artistic genius or of a deeply repressed, lonely man. These were the words of critics towards De St l artist Piet Mondrain. Mondrain strictly used vertical and horizontal lines intersection at 90. angles. He also used primary colors with black lines and white backgrounds. By looking at his works, one can see that Piet could have been indeed, lonely and repressed. This is due to the simplistic forms of his art. He only used squares and rectangles. The colors he used were always the same. However, it could also prove that he was an artistic genius.
Instead of using complicated shapes to portray something he used simple shapes that produced hardly any emotion. Although Mondrain s work does not produce emotions in the observer, other artist s work can create an excess of emotion. One such artist was Andy Warhol. Warhol believed that the world also had an ugly side. This is when he began to create art that depicted this belief. He has created art that seems shocking and sometimes disturbing. An example is Gun from 1981, which shows the distorted image of a handgun. The image seems to be clear and sharp causing a bold and harsh reality about guns in our society.
The year in which this was created also proves that deaths involved with guns were on the rise. One can see that Warhol used images such as these to conjure up a feeling inside of the observer. As we see all these examples of art, we can see a clear meaning of what the artist was influenced by. By producing a graphic image, the artist would seem to be in touch with reality or mentally disturbed. In contrast, by producing an emotionless image, we can see that the artist has created that on purpose. Overall, by examining an artist s background and history, it proves that their experiences and beliefs to influence their art work.