Monday, September 7, 2015

Long Time Coming --- Day 4/221

Walk: Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles and home yoga

Gustave Courbet, The Stone Breakers, 1849, o/c

Jean Francois Millet, Gleaners, 1857, o/c

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo Valley, (Florence Owens Thompson), 1935, original image on 4"x5" film negative, no known restrictions on use of this image.

In this day of Rap music and other totally expressive arts, it is easy to forget the very long time in the history of western art for images of real people, laborers - rural and urban - to be depicted. The Church, Royals, Landed Aristocracy, then the wealthy Italian entrepreneurs, gradually - beginning in the 17th century Dutch Golden Age - the middle class were the patrons.  If laborers were depicted at all, they were some variation of idealized, strolling, bucolic shepherds and the like.

Then, in 1848 the lower classes rose up in the French Revolution, overthrowing the Royals. And shortly after and probably as an aftermath of the spirit of the Revolution, French artists - who were largely of the working class themselves - began freeing themselves of idealized, stylized and 'pleasant' images.  At this point some art started to become more naturalistic and humanized, sympathetic to the feelings and emotions of everyday life and ordinary, individual people.

Depending on local circumstances (eg, The Civil War, the Great Depression in the U.S., the Mexican Revolution 1920 which spawned muralists such as Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, etc.) similar breakthroughs happened in other parts of the western art world, and gradually artistic images which exposed once hidden realities and had the power to mobilize an idea or cause became more and more commonplace.

Such a HUGE topic Ciwt has gotten herself into!  In any event, she hopes you had an enjoyable Labor Day today.

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