Conformity Versus Art through the Ages

Art, in most cases, is seen as the presentation of creative skills in form of pictures and many other creative designs. What is normally designed or presented could vary greatly depending on many factors. These factors would include the specialization and ability of the artist or the needs and demands of the viewer or client. In prioritizing what to start with, artists will normally wish to create images describing human beings first and then followed by other things like buildings, the environment, or even cars. They have therefore gone to great lengths in trying to reveal everything that entails human beings. Trying to reveal all the aspects of the life of a human being has always been, therefore, the ambition of the artists. These aspects would include normal day-to-day life, the different occupations, and any other activity of interest.

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Through the different ages in history, art has been changing along with the existing developments made by man. Renaissance is such a period in history when art conformed appropriately to the improvements that were experienced then. Philosophy, music, literature, and science were among the fields which emerged during that period. In response to this, a new style of art was born to fit into the new developments. This saw the rebirth of the old traditions with classical antiquity becoming the foundation of the Renaissance.

The art’s conformity was further witnessed when it changed the original tradition by absorbing the new development. The new developments were concerning the art of Northern Europe. Consequently, there was the inclusion of modern scientific knowledge in art. As this art spread through Europe, new artistic techniques and sensibilities were developed.

Basically, Renaissance bridged the Middle age period to the early modern age. Many aspects of development were affected by the development of art during the Renaissance period. Such areas included science, philosophy, literature, Architecture, Theology, and Government.

There were so many architectural works that emerged in the Middle Ages through to the Renaissance period and the common works include paintings, architecture, drawings, and sculpture. Some of the exemplary works were that of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo which did only depict some entertainment value but also was meant to communicate some information to the society.

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s works for example depict a high sense of creativity which is so evident in his paintings and drawings. These works are famous today for the qualities they possess and have raised so many imitations. Among the qualities that he considers in his work is his unique expression of light, the detailed knowledge of anatomy, geology, and botany.

In his famous painting work the last supper for example Leonardo represents the last meal that Christ had with His disciples before He was captured and crucified. The painting shows vividly the point He said ‘one of you will betray me. The painting reveals how the twelve disciples reacted to this statement of the Lord. Other paintings in which Leonardo has caused an impact on the generations are the Mona Lisa and The Virgin of the Rocks.

Michelangelo on the other hand is known for his significant contribution to paintings in the renaissance period. His work depicts a high sense of meaning which to date is still respected. One such work is the Sistine Chapel ceiling painting. Despite a probe to tarnish his name by his opponents, Michelangelo used his wisdom to create a scene in his painting that was neutral and representing the Catholic church of the time. The painting represented creation, the downfall of man, and the promise of salvation contrary to a painting on the 12 disciples against the starry sky which his opponents had proposed that he paints.

Some of his other renowned work includes the architectural work of designing the Laurentian Library and the Medici chapel. His work depicts a high sense of wisdom by the choice of design, color, size, and chiaroscuro used in the two architectural works.

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Many improvements of different degrees were made simply because art was able to conform to each of this of course in particular ways. The pioneers of the artists wanted it to show the beauty and life’s pleasures of humans. As a way of meeting all these conformity, the artists learn such things as the perspective and the appearance of things when close to or far from the observer. They for instance had detailed paintings.

Between the Renaissance age and the modern period of art were the middle ages in art history. Its art revealed that the art that was seen during the renaissance period should be bypassed because of the happenings which were taking place then. Throughout the Middle age period, many different events and changes occurred in the lives of the people and art was able to respond accordingly. Consequently, concerning this, the middle age period was divided into three smaller periods based on the major developments that were occurring as well as the art that was conforming to these developments.

These three periods are namely the early Middle Ages, the high middle ages, and the late middle ages. Within the early middle ages conformity was realized about the events which included the: breakdown of the Roman society, church, and the monasticism, Carolingians,  Carolingian renaissance, break up of the Carolingian empire, and art and architecture.

Respectively, the art materials and records characterizing these events during the early included illustrations on the Book of Kells, the Lincoln Cathedral, The coronation of Charlemagne, Charlemagne's cathedral at Aachen, Magyar campaigns in the 10th century where Most European nations were praying for mercy: "Sagittis hungarorum Libera nos Domine" - "Lord save us from the arrows of Hungarians" and St Andrew's Cathedral, Amalfi, Italy, completed in 1206.

 On the other hand, in the high Middle Ages, which are also regarded as the postmodern era, art was corresponding to such events as the crusades, science and technology, and the different changes that happened. The artistic materials illustrating these events include: The fortress of Carcassonne, France, Medieval illustration of the capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, 1099The University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and St Francis of Assisi, depicted by Bonaventura in 1235, brought about reform in the church respectively

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As the term itself implies, the postmodern era is so much attributed to the ideas of the total end of the modern movement which had its establishment in the American society for about 100 years. The works which were very common in this time like the renaissance paintings, expressionism drawings, existentialism in philosophy, modern school of theory, and the films which had their root cause during the era are now considered patterns of the past which are meant only for flowering and do not have any other important function. These movements are being replaced, however by the so-called new ear revolutions packed by chaotic, heterogeneous, and empirical values. Issues in place in this particular period include the new expressionism, the existence of pop art, classical arts, and music, the new movements in the filmmaking industry, and new alarming literary criticisms which are based on textuality with some aesthetic value. There are however several other critics who have demonstrated that the list could be endless because this is a period that was packed with new changes in fashion and style and consequently the changes in the several areas that the individual in the society is attached to.

Postmodernism is associated with the introduction of newer knowledge in society. The changes of knowledge occurred within the postindustrial age and extended into the postmodern age. These changes have been in place in the late 1960s in America where it terms the start of the period as the completion of its reconstruction. There are a lot of variations in the developments of this period depending on the pace that a state has and the general activity that the state is taking (Summers 86). The issue of postmodern concepts however could just be a world of fantasy because several people believe that it is unwise for one to have too much faith in the future. Generally, the term postmodern is used to refer to the changes in the cultural or economic conditions of the society that occurred immediately after the period of modernism. Although there are several contradictions on the extent to which modernism went, others terming that it ended in the 20th century, while others saying that it encompasses the period up to postmodern and the present, there is a general conclusion that these periods are not the same because there have been several changes in the different fields.

Finally in the late middle ages, also regarded as the enlightenment era, the events that were captured by art included the state resurgence, the hundred year’s war, and the controversy within the church whose artistic illustrations included:  A bishop blesses victims of the Black Death, The Allegory of Good Government was painted for the town council in Siena by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and Joan of Arc in a 15th-century miniature respectively.

Enlightenment is an issue that has had a very long historical past, especially in Europe. This is a period that was full of activities that were focused on changing the face of the world. In Europe, the advent of this phenomenon consisted of small groups which were isolated and were participating in their own actions that were aimed at creating changes in the governance. An important change required that the leaders in place be involved to decide on what was to be done, an example is during thru le of Leopold ruler of Tuscany who was important in deciding on the issues to be put in place in the government. The period of enlightenment had several features that included changes of ideas of reasoning, how people viewed God, changes in nature, and how man interacted with the surroundings that he had been placed. the main theme however was the importance of the use of the power of a person to use reason and understand the universe and improve their condition.

It is, therefore, true that art simply did not stand at one point but it kept on conforming to the happenings by adjusting appropriately to fit into the changes. It was quite dynamic. Through the different periods including the Renaissance and the Middle ages, therefore, it is also true that art never stood on one single collective goal. It was neither subjected to interference from the society or state. Therefore it had the liberty of fitting into every new situation. This stresses the need for individualism which creates the atmosphere at which art can freely conform as it did through the ages previously mentioned.

Apart from the irrationality of individualism which opposes the very context forming it, modern art nowadays is experiencing adverse influence from yet another uncompassionate force coming from modern society. This has stemmed up right from after world war two with many reasons being attributed to it.

One such reason is the cruel historical influence that was experienced by art during the Second World War. Another very important one is the loss of the distinction between popular and common art, and fine art. This vanishing distinction is indicated by the fact that none of the artists wishes to react stridently against the lack of clear division between the two kinds of art.

The fact about this bizarre situation is that from their work, the artists would only be the ones getting the meaning while the public is left out for lack of enough artistic faculties to comprehend the artistic pieces.

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