Art has evolved over the centuries and great artists have been involved in art work producing inspiring and beautiful paintings, illustrations, sculptures and other works which have had a tremendous effect on the present day artists. Artists were and are inspired by what happens in society and want to put into illustrative works which can be understood by users as well as convey a message or entertain the reader. Many artists defined an era during their lifetime and some had tremendous Impact in society and their works can be felt today. This paper seeks to highlight some of works by great artists and illustrators and look at the influence which they had on a modern day artist.
Thomas Nast and Norman Rockwell were great artists who had an enormous influence in the types of art work that they were involved. The work that they did during their years was characterized by the connection that it had with the society and culture of its time.
1. A) Thomas Nast was a caricaturist and editorial cartoonist whose work earned him the title Father of the American Cartoon. Nast, as a political cartoonist represented history in the 19th century more than any other artist. He used his work as a political cartoonist to castigate unpopular decisions made by politicians at the same time criticizing the political regime of the day. As Halloran and Deans (2012), say his cartoons drew a lot of attention especially those exposing illegal dealings of the political machine Tammany Hall, under the leadership of William M. Tweed. He drew scores of cartoons that satirized Tammany Hall and Tweed’s election campaign. As a result, his work created anxiety among the readers who followed the campaigns with great interest. More interestingly though is how he used his artistry work to show how Tweed, while in jail was not treated the same way as the less connected prisoners.
In a country that had experienced civil war, Nast used his artistry to portray the civil war scenes with great realism. He portrayed scenes of heroism, fortitude and also supported the soldiers on the home front. As an artist, he successfully portrayed what was happening in the society through great imagination and creativity effectively unraveling misdeeds in politics as well as exposing the unpopular culture developed by politicians who were involved in bribery, extortion and larceny which were easy to understand by anyone who read them. The images of the republican elephant and Santa Claus, as known today stand out even today from the vast number of cartoons that he drew. He is also credited for the work he did in popularizing the democratic donkey through illustrations, symbols that are used even today by respective parties. He influenced American politics, the sentiments, pop culture and opinions thus shaped the lifestyle of Americans.
1. B) Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell’s paintings and illustrations have such a moving appeal in the sense that they reflect on the American culture. His cover illustrations reflected on everyday life scenarios and appeared on the popular magazines in America. His illustrators were respected for their knowledge of the public taste. The illustrations for short stories, articles, as well as novels, were used on covers and he interpreted an author’s idea in his own style and composition.
Schick illustrates how Rockwell’s work was influenced by the American culture and the way of living of Americans. He could paint cover pictures and advertisements which formed the basis for modern advertisements. His advertisements, paintings, facts are what shows how Rockwell linked his work to the political, economic and cultural history of America. He painted works depicting his interest in civil rights, poverty and space exploration which shows how day to day activities in the society affected his work. However Rockwell’s most outstanding works exhibited how he was able to make art understandable to millions of people and had to conform to the limits of space and headlines provided for on the covers as well as of the policy of the printed page. Though paintings are no longer used on covers of magazines; having been replaced by photographs, it’s no doubt Rockwell’s work marked an error in the use of art.
2. A) Hieronymus Bosch and Alphonse Mucha
Hieronymus Bosch’s ability to create paintings out of imagination, combining separate parts and creating a concoction of complex relationships among the components and come up with something unprecedented. For example, his work on the triptychs, the Garden of Earthly Delights makes uses a linear and chronological order to represent the gradual fall of mankind. He uses linear narrative to tell a story of sin and judgment. He used innovative themes to contrast sharply with the realistic and somewhat serene work of his contemporaries. His ability to transfigure small images from the margins of illuminated manuscripts and to transform them into huge paintings is worth of noting and celebrated.
2. B) Alphonse Mucha was able to combine realistic figurative elements with other aspects as decorations to make posters. He made sensual female portraits with elaborate borders that embody the essence of Art and Nouveau. The portraits that she made embraced architecture, graphic art, interior design and decorative arts by using jewellery, textiles, and even household silver to show how art can be used to illustrate a way of life.
3. A) Art nouveau
The work from the course for instance from Alphonse Mucha can be used to study his work in context and trigger critical and analytical understanding of his style and approach. Through starting an art nouveau movement and understanding the impact that the posters by Mucha had on the other artists of the time, it is possible for students to find some posters today that are influenced by art and Nouveau style and thus being able to design their own works that use a similar mix of figures and natural forms.
3. B) Push pin Studio
4. A) Jessie Wilcox Smith
Jessie W. Smith is an inspiring woman who left the teaching career to pursue her talent for drawing. I would like to learn by following her example as a woman who started with an entry level job consisting of finishing rough sketches, designing borders, and preparation of advertising art for magazines, to becoming the greatest of illustrators. She influenced women into the artistic community and many became illustrators. The style she uses in her artwork is especially clean and graceful, as well as being well mannered which gives it the savor and freshness.
Paper Section B:
I created oil painting inspired by Jessie Wilcox Smith, who was one of most famous female illustrator in US during the Golden Age of American illustration. I choose her for this project because first, I like the delicacy of her style that she used very light and bright color palettes and soft brush stroke. Also, I like how she used the dark outline for certain areas, mostly figures that also reminds me of the Korean traditional art especially Yun Bok Shin. It was interesting to see how art from two different cultures intersects one another. So for this oil painting, I choose a child as the subject that most of smith’s works were mainly focused on. I tried to use bright color palette and darkly lined border. I choose to use a different approach on skin to feel more three-dimensionality and intensity. Through these paintings, I learned to create a painting that combines two artistic styles from different cultures.
Jessie Willcox Smith
Jessie Willcox Smith
Yun Bok Shin Yun Bok Shin
In conclusion, it is evident that the work that the early artists did defined eras where important developmental steps were made in art. Their work did not only serve its purpose of entertaining, but also they used art to pass very important information into the society. This course has helped me learn a lot about the different styles that such great artist used in their works. As an artist, I have learnt how different styles from different cultures can be incorporated into one piece of art just like how it was used by Jessie Willcox Smith. It is important to look at the past works and how the great artists used their creativity and innovations to produce work which defined eras.
Arwas, Victor, Alphonse Mucha, Jana Brabcova-Orrlikova and Anna Dvoroak.1998. Alphonse Mucha-the Spirit of Art nouveau. Alexandria, Va: Art Services International,
Halloran, Fiona Deans. 2012. Thomas Nast. The Father of Modern Political Cartoons. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
Schick, Ron .2009.Norman Rockwell: Behind the camera. Little, Brown & Co.