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Evolution Of Great Art

Mother and Child
Mother and Child
by Leslie Garner
by Deidre Howarth

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Great art evolved with changes in culture, starting as early as the ancient Mesopotamian era and Egyptian times. Gradually, it came in contact with the cultural context of Rome and Greece, and represented exaggerated emotions. Later came the phase of realism, when great art depicted subjects in a true-to-life context. Nowadays, modern art is in vogue, which is known for its abstract depictions. You can find great art online, belonging to different phases of artistic development. In fact, browsing through a great art gallery is the best way to learn more about great art. The prominent stages of the evolution of great art and celebrated art works are given below.

Great Art: Prominent Stages

Ancient Phase: Cultures of Egyptian and Greek civilization played a significant role in molding great art. Egyptian paintings primarily glorified the after-life. Most of them were inspired by gods and goddesses. Ancient Greece was famous for its artists, known for creating life-like classical art. Ancient Greek paintings give a glimpse into the functioning of the erstwhile Greek society.

Middle Phase: The increasing importance of Christianity imparted unique styles and techniques to great art. Paintings mainly reflected the faith in the divine. Art was on the brink of abstraction, which can be seen in the flatness and well-stylized portrayal of figures and scenery in Byzantine art. Till the middle of the 13th century, medieval art had gained prominence, which laid the foundation for naturalism in great art. Later came the Renaissance, the golden age of art, lasting through the 14th to the middle of the 17th century. Great art gallery collections of this era exhibit paintings with a new-found faith in science and its development. Several celebrated painters took great art to the next level, through the application of perspective, analysis of human anatomy, and significant improvement in drawing and painting methods. Following this, great art drew from neo-classicism and Romanticism and was inspired significantly by sensuality and emotional exaggeration. During this stage, great art primarily focused on nature and its supremacy over humans. It was followed by realism, when artists shunned the themes and styles of Romanticism, in favor of individual responses to the issues of modern world.

Last Phase: Realistic ideology led to the development of Modernism, in the late 19th century. In this phase, great art was inspired by the concepts and thoughts of industrial revolution. It became a mode to express the urge to imbibe new realities of the industrial age. Most paintings depicted changes in the society and utopianism of the new industrial state, which was at a nascent stage. At the onset of the 20th century, great art reflected colourful, expressive paintings, which critics often referred to as ‘wild.’ Later, it was inspired by the two world wars and the great depression, and became an epitome of political activism. Eventually, great art embraced abstract expressionism, which is known to be rebellious, radical, idiosyncratic or even nihilistic. The period after World War II witnessed the emergence of ‘pop art,’ which celebrated consumerism. In the beginning of the 21st century, great art imbibed a contemporary nature described by ideas of pluralism.

Great art galleries feature collections from different phases in the evolution of great art.