Great works of art transcend borders and connect people from different places and time periods. They reflect the diversity of human expression and offer a window into the idiosyncrasies of cultural traditions from around the world.
In this blog post, we’ll give a bit of background on four movements that continue to inspire artists today, while pointing out their influence on contemporary works of art that are available in The Art Dome’s very own collections.
Hope (2021) by Fernando Davila
Surrealism is a cultural movement that emerged in the early 20th century, characterized by its emphasis on the irrational, the subconscious, and the dreamlike. The movement was born in France in the 1920s, and its founders were heavily influenced by the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and the avant-garde art movements of the time.
The origins of surrealism can be traced back to the Dada movement, which was born in the aftermath of World War I and rejected traditional artistic and cultural values. Surrealism, however, took a more focused approach, centering on the idea of accessing the subconscious mind in order to create fine art that’s free from rational thought and logic.
Key figures in the movement included André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and René Magritte. Surrealists experimented with a variety of artistic forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and literature, and sought to create art pieces that were disorienting, unsettling, and provocative.
We can see the influence of surrealism in Fernando Davila’s 2021 painting entitled Hope. While the scene depicted is more lifelike than many surrealist works of art, the author exaggerates the size of the moon, and the proximity of the deck to the water also creates a oneiric mood.
Colombia (1977) by Antonio Caro
Pop art is an artistic movement that arose in the 1950s and 60s in Britain and the United States, characterized by its use of pop culture imagery and mass-produced consumer goods. The movement was a reaction to the post-war era of prosperity and consumerism, as artists sought to explore the relationship between works of art and the commercial world.
One pioneer of pop art is Richard Hamilton, who in 1956 created a collage titled "Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?,” which featured images of consumer products and popular culture icons. Other key figures in the movement included New York-dwelling artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg.
Pop artists incorporated images from advertising, comic books, and other aspects of mass culture into their work, often using bright colors, bold lines, and techniques borrowed from commercial printing processes. The movement had a profound impact on the art world, paving the way for new forms of artistic expression and challenging traditional notions of what constituted "serious" art.
The influence of pop art is apparent in Colombia, a 1977 piece of conceptual art by Antonio Caro. In this art piece, the author takes inspiration from pop art’s characteristic use of brand logos and uses Coca Cola’s unmistakeable font to question consumerism and imperialism in his home country.
Blanc d'Ebene (1991) by Angele Essamba Etoundi
Fine art photography
Fine art photography is a genre of photography that emphasizes artistic expression over mere documentation. Unlike commercial or journalistic photography, fine art photography is created with the intention of being exhibited in cultural institutions.The origins of fine art photography date back to the mid-19th century, when photographers began to experiment with the medium as a means of artistic expression.
In the early days of photography, the process was cumbersome and expensive, requiring large, bulky equipment and long exposure times. Despite these challenges, a number of pioneering photographers, such as William Henry Fox Talbot and Julia Margaret Cameron, began to explore the artistic possibilities of the medium, creating images that were both technically impressive and aesthetically beautiful.
Over the years, fine art photography has continued to evolve, with artists experimenting with new techniques such as digital editing. Today, fine art photography encompasses a wide range of styles and approaches, including pieces that are symbolic, abstract or surreal.
Fine art photographers are celebrated for their ability to capture the beauty and complexity of the world around us, often pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the medium. The Art Dome’s collections feature many pieces of fine art photography; above is just one stunning example by Cameroonian artist Angele Essamba Etoundi.
Untitled (2010) by Kirsi Mikkola
Abstract expressionism emerged in the United States in the late 1940s and 1950s. It’s characterized by its emphasis on spontaneity, gestural mark making, and the expression of the artist's inner emotions and psyche. The movement is often associated with works of art by pioneers such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko.
The origin of abstract expressionism can be linked to the work of European artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Joan Miró, who explored abstraction as a means of expressing inner emotions and spiritual beliefs. However, it was the traumatic events of World War II that gave rise to a generation of artists who sought to create a new form of fine art.
The pioneers mentioned above sought to break away from the traditional boundaries of painting, using new techniques and materials to create works of art that were raw, immediate, and emotionally charged.
Abstract expressionism, which paved the way for new forms of expression and experimentation, can be considered one of the most influential fine art movements of the 20th century. Pictured above is a contemporary painting by Finnish artist Kirsi Mikkola, who was clearly inspired by the abstract expressionist style.
Whether you’re learning about art to help you grow your collection or just for fun, it’s very helpful to know where and when different fine art movements originated. The more you know about different cultural and artistic traditions, the more you’ll be able to interpret and appreciate every work of art you come across.