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Category Archives: Art

Patterns for Canvas Painting

Nature
Once you think of nature, you can get several ideas to fill up your canvas with. Flowers, leaves, branches, roots, landscape, roads, waterfalls, sun and many more such ideas would come to your mind. You can think of painting a specific season. Also, painting a scene in three different frames, as it would appear during early morning, day time and nighttime is a great idea. Various painting techniques can be used for making each artwork.

Human Figures
Human faces are the most common canvas art ideas. Painting a scene where a few people are involved in a task is another painting idea. Why not try something unique? Consider painting a task that is not commonly painted. How about a painting showing a hand holding a canvas and another hand working on it with a paint bush and colors? How about painting just the feet of a dancer which are graced with musical anklets? Try it sometime!

Objects and Instruments
Apart from the aforementioned ideas, you can paint objects and instruments as well. A set of pillows placed over each other on a decorative bed sheet can create a colorful painting. How about drawing a set of musical instruments together? Believe me, this makes a classic painting ready to be framed to enhance your wall decor!

Ready-made Patterns

Beginners can replicate a ready-made pattern and then compare their artwork with the original piece. Also, some of you might be searching for ready-made patterns which can be ordered and then framed as desired and hung on walls. So, here are some places which you can check out to buy such patterns.

You can find amazing patterns in almost all categories when it comes to online shopping, like at ‘alibaba’. Order the desired size and number of pieces of the pattern you like. You can also checkout ‘indiamart’ which has a number of unique patterns. At ‘thefind’ you will find some of the best patterns in various design categories like nature, still life abstract print, etc. Some classic patterns are also being sold at ‘ebay’ at low prices, which can be a good deal. You can also search for more websites selling such patterns and if you are lucky, you might also find some of them selling patterns free of cost. Make sure you check the right category of pattern as most of the websites have separate category of oil paints, acrylic paints, etc.

Painting a classic pattern on canvas with those artistic strokes is not an easy task for all. So, with these ideas, you are sure to have an artwork ready to beautify your interiors. Explore your creativity, look around and you are sure to find some unique ideas to be brushed down on a piece of canvas!

Steps to use oil pastel techniques in painting

Step One: Choosing Pastels
The first thing that needs to be done is choosing the pastels. There are several brands in the market that offer these pastels in different sizes. Some going even up to 120 shades or more in a set. However, if you are just starting out, opt for a set of 24. These will be sufficient, because they provide all the shades necessary for experimenting and yet there aren’t too many to confuse you. After considerable practice, however, one can move on to a more wider range of pastels.

When choosing these pastels, always look for their appearance. Pastels which are broken or have small craters and holes in them are of poor quality. Always choose a set that is even and shiny. Opt for artist quality pastels, as opposed to student grade ones. Student grade pastels tend to be extremely waxy and make it harder for blending. In spite of all this, it is mainly through experimentation that one can determine the type of pastels that interpret their style best.

Step Two: Choosing a Canvas
A canvas is the surface on which one will sketch their paintings. Choosing a surface that will best portray the artist’s skill is therefore very important. There are several varieties of paper available in the market. Different artists choose different types of paper, according to their needs. Many artists prefer using pastel paper that is of heavy grade. The reason being that it has a scratchy surface that holds the pigments of oil pastels. Some others choose the ordinary oil painting canvas because of its raised grain―this makes it perfect for grabbing the layers of oil pastel. Some other choices of canvas paper are sanded paper, archival paper, hot pressed paper, and cold pressed paper.

Step Three: Sketching the Painting
Once your paper and pastels are in place, you can start sketching the painting. The pressure of your strokes and the roughness of your canvas are the two most important things to keep in mind when starting to sketch. The pressure you use will decide the intensity of colors. The more the pressure employed, the more intense the colors and vice versa. Similarly, a smooth surface of the canvas will result in a less broken look as opposed to a rough surface.

To start with, sketch your drawing on the canvas paper with a lead pencil. Let your drawing be in gentle strokes and not with pressure, so that it does not cause indents on the page. If indents are formed, then that portion of the paper gets a depression and when you paint, the indented part won’t catch the color, thus giving your entire painting an uneven look.

Next, identify the color that you want to use in a particular area and sketch over the penciled lines with it. Then, fill in the color in the entire area. The first layer of color needs to be laid down on the canvas thereafter. Since this layer is light, it might lead to a transparent appearance and you might be able to see the canvas through it. However, this ‘transparent’ area on the canvas will be covered by consecutive layers of colors.

Step Four: Layering
Always have a clear idea of what your final product will be before you start painting. There are several techniques using oil pastels that can create a work of art.

Different Tones
Layers can be added in different ways, either by adding light colors over dark, or dark over light. However, it has been noticed that it is easier to turn dark colors into light rather than the other way round. It is simpler to keep the white areas in the painting free of any pastels to lend that whitest white feel.

Using the Side
Using the side of a pastel crayon will allow one to cover a broader area of the canvas, thereby retaining an amalgamated feel to it without causing a disjointed effect.

Using Linear Strokes
Linear strokes (lines) can be used for drawing outlines, adding details, hatching (drawing lines, especially parallel lines for engraving and marking), and cross hatching. This allows one to control the shapes and saturation of the colors better.

Even Tone
It is necessary to maintain an even tone if one wants to keep a particular area dark or extremely light. In this case, darker colors should not be tinted with lighter ones or vice versa. They should be colors of a like tone.

Using Turpentine
Turpentine is used to soften or flatten a painting. So, when one needs to blend pastels together on paper, oil pastels become very soft and start to dissolve when you dip them in turpentine. Thus, they can be manipulated according to the desired density. Alternatively, the tip of a brush can be dipped in turpentine and then used to drag the pigments across the canvas―this will form washes. Similarly, several layers of washes can be created this way. The intensity of the colors can be varied by varying the amount of turpentine used.

‘Sgraffito’ Effect
The ‘sgraffito’ effect is a method, whereby the color beneath is revealed by scratching the top layer of the color. It plainly means ‘to scratch’. To do this, a razor, a knife or the other end of a paint brush can be used.

Ghostlike Effect
Using a razor to scrape areas in a painting will lead to a ghostlike or fuzzy look. Sometimes, the addition of too many layers can lend the painting a very heavy look; this can be resolved by using this technique.

Cotton Swab
When one adds layer upon layer, it might lead to a very disjointed look. To solve this, one can use a cotton swab or your fingers to blend the different layers. This will then give the painting a very wholesome feel.

Correcting Too Many Layers
Adding too many layers in the painting can render the canvas unable to grab any more pastels (muddying the surface). In case this happens, one can use a dry cloth, wrap it around a finger and then wipe out the affected area.

After one has finished painting, it should be allowed to harden. The time taken for the painting to harden will depend on the number of layers that are used in it. The life of the painting can be extended by adding a fixative to it. Also, a mat spacer can be added, so that you can frame the painting with glass, without it affecting the pastel.

Basic Techniques of Oil Painting

There are different oil painting techniques without which one cannot paint to one’s potential. However, grasping these techniques will take a considerable amount of study. Some of the basics pertaining to these techniques are as follows:

Dagger Stroke : This stroke is not about trying to capture any sort of image on the canvas, but is about empowering the canvas with one’s creative energy. To comprehend the pros of this stroke, one needs to realize how a subject or image is molded. In oil painting, one is actually molding the image, similar to what a sculptor would do with clay. The strokes require energy and involve dagger shapes brought onto the canvas surface by the brush. The most interesting aspect about this stroke is that the end result can be so crude and raw, that nobody except the artist knows what has been painted. However, the subject in question will be hidden in the foundation. According to the artist’s desire, the subject can be subtly or boldly revealed to the viewers. The subtleness of these strokes can keep viewers mesmerized for years together.

Painting Knife Technique : This stroke helps create fantastic effects using just one stroke. For example, one can create the tail feathers of a parrot using this technique. This technique involves the use of a painting knife, wherein one can thrust all the creative energy onto the canvas just like the dagger stroke, but quicker. The paint is spread onto the canvas using the knife. However, the results of both, the dagger stroke and the painting knife stroke are very different.

Blending Technique : Once the creative energy has been brought onto the canvas, it’s time to refine the painting. Refining helps remove raw paint, which could otherwise cause problems in the future. Moreover, refining assists in the commencement of the subject’s molding process. Blending should be used as technique engaged in empowering and refining raw paint. This technique should be used as sparingly as possible, so as to enable the vast multitude of other paint effects. Oft, it is observed that too much blending results in the reduction of visual energy in the painting. For subjects embedded with softness and several light effects such as fog, mist, spray, etc., the blending technique is not a good idea.

Caress Stroke : What makes oil paints all the more gorgeous is its butterfly silk texture. This stroke is applied with the brush in a flat position onto the canvas. One can even change the color of the underpaint by this technique. Besides altering the color, this stroke also enhances the texture of the painting. For these strokes, the paint is loaded into the brush such that it lightly touches the painting surface, so as to attain a sensitive approach.

Cleaning Oil Paintings Tips

Oil paintings are sturdy and durable, which when managed with proper care can last for many generations. Unfortunately, not all people who possess them are aware of the processes needed for their maintenance. Considering this, it is not uncommon to damage such priceless possessions. An understanding of the basic tips to clean such pieces of art will help in preserving their pristine beauty. The instructions are discussed as follows.

Step #1
First, gather all the items required like a brush with soft bristles, a cotton cloth, and vacuum cleaner (with micro attachment kit). If you are planning to clean both the back and front of the painting, then carefully remove the painting and place it on a plain surface. You can cover the back with a clean paper so as to prevent dirt accumulation.

Step #2
Fix the micro nozzle in the vacuum and gently remove the dust and dirt from the surface of the painting. Clean the corners with a soft bristle brush. If it is hard to reach the corners with the vacuum or the brush, you can wipe out the dust by using a soft cloth.

Step #3
In case the varnish (outer protective surface) of the painting turns yellowish or dull, you can check for a conservation liquid to clean the varnish. Check for the reliability of the product while purchasing it. You can apply the conservation liquid in one corner of the painting to test its reactions or after application effects.

Step #4
If you find the conservation solution good to the varnish, then continue applying the product all over the painting surface by using a cotton swab. For better results, carry out this step in a room with proper ventilation.

Step #5
Use a dampened cotton swab dip in distilled water to remove dirt from the surface. For an oily or sticky surface, you can prepare a solution by mixing a mild detergent in lukewarm water. Dampen a cotton cloth with the solution and clean the surface.

Step #6
If there are any cracks or fissures on the surface, gentle cleaning with a soft cloth is preferable. In case you are planning to do a painting on canvas, make sure you do a spot test in one corner prior to cleaning the whole canvas.

Abstract Expressionism Art

History

The artists related to this movement were a group of very diverse individuals, who came together in New York’s Greenwich village. The major ones were Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lee Krasner, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, and William de Kooning. Their works vary greatly; from the brooding melancholic works of Rothko to the more flamboyant pieces of Pollock. This movement promoted the painting of abstract work instead of any representation. It was greatly criticized by the critics who considered it to be too avant-garde due to its lack of figuration and bold brush strokes. Due to the depression, and crisis brought on by the war, the artists started to depict human vulnerability.

Description

Several artists during the above mentioned period, started experimenting with different shapes and colors. They broke away from conventional painting styles, and painted huge canvases in blue, orange, red, or other bold colors. The movement is characterized by splattering of paint and powerful brush strokes. The artists preferred larger canvases that were positioned on the floor over canvases that were easel bound and moderate. The focus of this art was not in mere portrayal of objects, but the expression of emotions. There was in fact, an almost aggressive application of paint, which created a highly intense and dynamic imagery. Jackson Pollock created a revolutionary new technique of splattering and pouring thinned oil paint into a canvas, which was laid on the ground instead of being supported by easels.

Broadly speaking, this art consisted of two streams – Color Field Painting and Action Painting. The former was developed during the early part of 1960s, and involved creating art that was based on simplified and larger than life color dominated fields. The compositions were huge colored areas with no recognizable forms or signs. The artist’s goal was to create a work of art, which was sublime and ethereal, rather than plainly beautiful. Rothko in particular painted soft blurring rectangles of luminescent color, which never failed to impress the viewers. In addition to Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly and Helen Frankenthaler were some other painters, which were associated with this type of painting. Action Painting arose prior to Color Field Painting (between the 1940s and 1950s), and was practiced by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline.

This movement peaked between 1942 to the mid 50s. It shifted the focus of the art world from Paris and Europe to America. This greatly influenced new generations of artists, who created their own art based on their individual expressions. By late 1969, the interest in this movement began to wane, and new movements such as minimalism and pop art, strongly began to influence the art community.

Aboriginal Art: Five Most Fascinating Facts

Based on their ‘Creation Myths’
Every art form that is Aboriginal, is primarily based on their ancient myths and legends. Even the modern pieces of Aboriginal art are based on ‘the Dreamtime’, a set of their creation myths. These ‘Dreamtime’ myths, which are more than 50,000 years old, are a great storehouse of their oral heritage which has been handed down from generation to generation. Interestingly, our only source of the ‘Dreamtime’ stories, of course other than the Aborigines themselves, is Aboriginal art, owing to the fact that we have no written sources of the same.

More than just Art
The Aborigines did not seem to believe in the philosophy of ‘art for art’s sake’. On the contrary, the Aborigines wrote through their arts. We get a large number of references with respect to their day-to-day lives, festivities and celebrations, modes of pastime, religious beliefs, social structure, hunting practices and so on. Apart from being a mode of expression and depiction, art was also used as a platform to maintain secrecy. After the colonization of Australia, the Aborigines felt that their spiritual and clandestine knowledge was in danger, and so it was thought that there needed to be a system with which they could hide it from the eyes of ‘outsiders’. The famous Aboriginal dot paintings resulted from this fear. It is believed that the dots were purposely made over holy symbolic depictions so that they could obscure the sacred knowledge.

More than what Meets the Eye
The depictions of Aborigines were naturalistic, as well as abstract in nature. The term ‘naturalistic’ refers to the depiction of natural surroundings, flora and fauna. So, we have depictions of animals, plants, people and other natural phenomena in various forms. On the other hand, the term ‘abstract’ refers to depictions, which may seem unrealistic at a first glance, but may in actuality possess much deeper connotations. So, we also have a huge array of drawings with geometrical shapes and symbols, which we, as the ‘other’ may not understand, but the Aborigines would definitely do.

Use of Natural Colors and Stabilizers
The colors used for their paintings were obtained from natural and locally available materials, predominantly ochre, a natural mineral, which was ground on a stone slab while adding small amounts of water and stabilizing agent. Red, yellow and white colors were obtained from different pigments of ochre, and so we see a wide usage of these colors in Aboriginal paintings. Black was obtained from charcoal, but was rarely used owing to the complicated procedure of making it. Olive color, which can be seen in some of the paintings was obtained by mixing black and yellow colors. It is very fascinating how the ancient Aborigines figured out a natural resource in the juice of an orchid plant, which could be used as a fixative to avoid flaking or peeling of the paint. Modern Aboriginal artists on the other hand, use artificial colors as well.

The Aboriginal Art Movement
Modern techniques of depicting Aboriginal art forms on canvas and paper, came into being some 40 years ago in 1971, when a school teacher named Geoffrey Bardon, noticed a group of Aboriginal men telling stories and drawing symbols in sand. This caught his interest and he encouraged those men to depict their stories on canvas and paper, two media, which were completely alien to them before that day. Thus started the famous ‘Aboriginal Art Movement’ which encouraged more and more Aboriginal artists to present their works before the world and become famous. Some non-Aboriginal artists also showed their interest in this art form, and began to practice it. Not surprisingly, Aboriginal art is considered to be the most inspiring contemporary art of the 20th century.

Intriguing Facts

♣ Bark paintings are the oldest forms of Aboriginal paintings. However, not many of them survive today due to natural disintegration of the bark.
♣ Aboriginal art symbols are collectively known as iconography. Aboriginal people traveled long distances across their country and recorded information regarding their travel in the form of symbols.
♣ A particular Aboriginal art symbol would have multiple meanings. Only an Aborigine, who knew his history and culture would be able to decipher what symbol had what meaning in what context.
♣ Numerous Aboriginal paintings have been discovered on sacred sites. This throws light on their sacred connotations.
♣ As remnants of the ancient Aboriginal culture, we have what has been termed as ‘aerial landscape art’ created across the Australian deserts. These cannot be figured out easily from the ground level, but a bird’s-eye view of these sites gives us a feel that we are actually looking at wonderful sculptures.
♣ The X-ray style paintings are one of the distinctive features of Aboriginal art. Apart from the outer bodies of the animals/humans, the internal organs and bones are also depicted in them. This also shows that the ancient Aborigines did have an idea of animal/human anatomy.
♣ There are two museums, which have been specially dedicated to the Aboriginal arts and crafts. These are the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, located in Utrecht in the Netherlands, and the Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, known as the Kluge-Ruhe.
♣ Body painting is an art that is of great cultural significance for the Aborigines. The motifs, which are painted on their bodies, particularly during religious ceremonies, not only signify their social status, but also depict totemic symbols of various clans by which they can be identified.
♣ Aboriginal art forms include their sculptures and specially carved pearl shells called ‘Rijis’. Sacred patterns are carved on these shells, thus giving them religious affiliations. We also have a number of small sculptures of imp-like creatures, locally known as the ‘Mimis’. They are believed to have taught the Aborigines’ ancestors to hunt and to make use of fire. Hence, they are revered beings.

Characteristics of Realistic Art

Realism in visual arts is basically about moving over the interpretation, personal bias, subjectivity or emotionalism and depicting the painting theme in an empirical sense. Realists rejected the characteristics of Romantic art as they believed in portraying objects with a sense of objective reality. Thus, the artists didn’t use techniques to change the appearance of the object. For instance, an artist who follows the Realistic art tradition would never attempt to conceal any flaws in the object or scene he/she is painting. The Realism art movement can also be associated with the age of positivism. Positivism is all about gaining knowledge using scientific methods of observation and objective evaluation. In art, this translates to depiction of objects as they are. One must not allow subjectivity and imagination to affect the depiction of the objects. Realism in art is all about rejecting idealization. Those who follow the realistic tradition in art believe in an accurate portrayal of ordinary people and events. The artist’s muse shouldn’t be someone who is larger-than-life or glorious always. This explains why artists who follow this tradition didn’t believe in painting the Gods, Goddesses or heroes. Their aim was to depict the daily life with as much accuracy as possible.

Realists basically draw inspiration from contemporary life. The subject matter of their paintings generally includes daily scenes and ordinary people.They depict contemporary life in a realistic and accurate manner. For instance, after industrial revolution, many of the famous paintings from Realistic school of art depicted workers performing their tasks in factories. They tried to depict the workers as they looked. However ugly or unaesthetic the surroundings looked, the painter painted them with honesty, just as they existed. No changes were made to make them look aesthetically pleasing. If you go through the famous painters list, you will come across names such as Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, Jean-Francois Millet, John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, Jan Van Eyck and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. These were some of the famous painters who followed this art tradition. Movements such as the Ashcan School, the Contemporary Realist, and the American Scene Painters are also based on this art tradition. These painters believe in the painting what they see. The logic given by these artists is that the abstract objects, or the objects that are intangible or non-existent, don’t belong to the realm of painting.

The rejection of the Romantic art tradition is an important aspect of Realistic art. Painting ordinary people and daily scenes in a realistic manner is the objective of this form of art.

The Magical World of Surrealist Paintings

Towards the end of the First World War, many artists who had moved to different parts of the world from Paris became proponents of the Dadaism movement which held the belief that the war was a result of excessive rationalization, and an increase in bourgeois living. The way in which Dadaists protested the war was with anti-art movements, different performances, art works, and literary works. History tells us that the first seeds of thought regarding the Surrealist movement were conceptualized from the remnants of the Dadaism movement. The person who can be called the founder of the Surrealism movement was Andre Breton who regarded the movement a form of revolution. The definition as given by him says that it is a “pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”

Extremely influenced by Freudian theories, Surrealism is in a manner the expression of imagination as seen in one’s dreams. The entire gamut of Freud’s theories that dealt with free association, analysis of dreams, and of the unconscious, were extremely important to the artists who were a part of this movement. Most artists of the movement laid their claim on eccentricity without an acceptance of being mad. As can be figured out from what Salvador Dali very famously said, “There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.”

Another important characteristic of the movement was the juxtaposition of elements that were rarely ever actually featured together. The aim behind combining two disparate elements was to create something that shocked and startled. Most artists of the movement aimed at breaking the shackles that bound people to conventional, rational behavior, and customs and traditions.

One of the most famous painters on a Surrealist canvas was very obviously Salvador Dali, who helped popularizing this art movement. A lot has been said and written about the relation between the art movement and Dali and the effect that the artist had on the way people perceived this artistic movement. If you study the art form in detail, you will see that there is a lot of technique involved, as well as focus on content. But despite this, there was an attempt to appreciate what an untrained artist would see as art. This stemmed from the belief that free from rules, a mind tends to be more imaginative in the ideas it generates.

Most artists who painted in the Surrealist form, used free association and one of two methods of expression; Absolute Surrealism and Veristic Surrealism. While the former believed in the expression of ideas of the subconscious, the latter focused on creating a connection between the abstract and the real. Salvador Dali worked in the Veristic school, often juxtaposing images from the real world with imaginary situations. It is believed that movements of the art world like Abstract Expressionism and Magic Realism were born from this movement. Lowbrow art is also a throwback from this art movement.

It is difficult to understand this movement completely without maybe taking a lesson. Paintings like Elle Loge La Folie, Indefinite Divisibility, or Woman with Her Throat Cut, are works that just give you an insight into the shock and awe that Surrealism art inspires.

Italian Renaissance art and artists

Mention the Renaissance art and one is immediately reminded of Michelangelo lying on his back on rough planks, held up by scaffolding and painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling; and the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Italian culture can be experienced in the Roman architecture which can be seen in the ruins, which still remain in many parts of the country… The prescripts of the Roman Catholic Church, the distinctive taste of Italian food and wine, but most of all, in Italy’s art.

The Renaissance period was a time of great cultural upheaval which had a profound effect on European intellectual development. Having its beginnings in Italy; by the 16th century, it had spread to the rest of Europe. Its influence was felt in various aspects of intellectual pursuits such as philosophy, literature, religion, science, politics, and, of course, art. The scholars of this period applied the humanist method in every field of study, and sought human emotion and realism in art.

Renaissance scholars studied the ancient Latin and Greek texts, scouring the monastic libraries of Europe for works of antiquity that had become obscure, in their quest for improving and perfecting their worldly knowledge. This was in complete contrast to the transcendental spirituality that medieval Christianity stressed. However, that does not mean that they rejected Christianity. On the contrary, much of the greatest works of this era was devoted to it, with the Church patronizing a lot of the works of art. However, there were subtle changes in the manner in which they began to approach religion. This affected the cultural life of the society, which, in turn, influenced the artists of that period, and was hence reflected in their art.

In Raphael’s School of Athens, for example, illustrious contemporaries are depicted as classical scholars, with Leonardo da Vinci being given as much importance as Plato had in his time. The development of highly realistic linear perspective was one of the distinctive aspects of art. Giotto di Bondone (1267 – 1337) a Florentine, was regarded as the greatest Italian painter just prior to the Renaissance period. He is thought to be the first artist who treated a painting as a window into space. He abandoned the rigid Byzantine style, and developed a more naturalistic style of painting.

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 – 1446), is considered the first great architect of the Italian Renaissance, and Leon Battista Alberti, was another pioneering theorist of Renaissance architecture. It was only after their writings were published, that perspective was formally accepted as an artistic technique. The development of perspective characterized a wider movement of incorporating realism into the arts. With that objective in mind, artists of this era also developed other techniques, such as examining light, shadow, and, as was made famous by Leonardo da Vinci, studying the human anatomy.

The inherent reason for the changes incorporated in artistic technique was a renewed interest in depicting nature in its natural beauty, as well as to resolve the fundamentals of aesthetics. The pinnacles of this can be seen in the works of Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), regarded as the most versatile of geniuses; Michelangelo (1475 – 1564), a Florentine sculptor, painter, and architect; and Raphael (1483 – 1520) whose works embody the ideals of High Renaissance. The techniques that they pioneered have always been imitated a great deal by other artists.

Italian Renaissance art can be described as the artworks that were created during the early 15th century to about the middle of the 16th century. Even though the artists of that period were usually attached to particular courts, and had allegiance to particular towns; nevertheless, they traveled all across Italy, often holding a diplomatic status, and propagating philosophical and artistic ideas.

Renaissance art is usually split up into four periods:

  • Proto-Renaissance, which lasted from 1290 to 1400. This period has its beginnings from the paintings of Giotto, as mentioned above, and includes the works of Taddeo Gaddi, Altichiero, and Orcagna.
  • Early Renaissance, which existed during 1400 to 1475. This period is embodied by the works of Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Piero Della Francesca, Verrocchio, and Uccello.
  • High Renaissance period, from 1475 to 1525, belonged to the great triad, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
  • Mannerism period, from 1525 to 1600, is represented by Andrea del Sarto, Tintoretto, and Pontormo.

Florence is the city that is credited as being the cradle of Renaissance art. Some other great artists of this era include Titian, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Bellini.

Pop Culture and Artifacts

When you think about objects that define pop culture, what are the things that you first think of? Well, chances are that more often than not all those images are pop culture items (including Kermit the frog, Archie Bunker’s chair, and even Hannah Montana ). The effect of the phenomenon is such that it permeates and captures the imagination of the masses. While not many of us may be familiar with the works of Caravaggio or the theories of Nietzsche, most of us would have devoured Archie comics and read every Dan Brown book. That is the power of pop culture. These cannot be restricted to literal objects, as ideas, images, attitudes, people, phenomena, are all a part and parcel of world and American popular culture.

There are many experts who have spent a lot of their time studying one or the other artifact in popular culture. Most people while analyzing these artifacts use two forms of analysis – an interpretive textual analysis and content analysis. The former helps in examining the literal and social meanings of the object at hand and how they are linked to larger subjects prevalent in society. The latter studies it in quantitative terms. Studies help determine the mood of the country as a whole and reflect their mindset and options. An object is defined as a pop culture artifact when you observe widespread popularity of the object and different mediums including references to the artifact. They are sourcing pop culture in an Internet culture to create new idols. From kitschy items of the ’60s and the ’70s to the quirkiness of music and television today, the very definition is evolving on a daily basis.

So what are the different American artifacts that has captured the imagination of different generations? From the popularity of the icon that is Mickey Mouse and the logo that has a direct association to the Jonas Brothers today, pop culture icons and artifacts are many. Some notable icons of pop culture are The Beatles, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Madonna. Andy Warhol’s painting of Marilyn Monroe cemented her position as one of the everlasting icons of popular culture. Icons may not be necessarily human; superheroes like Batman, Superman, X-men, and movie franchises like the Star Wars have created their own little kingdoms in the pop culture space. These artifacts include any piece of clothing or object associated with these icons.

Most of these artifacts have an association with celebrities or cultural icons. In some cases it is with a television show or a movie franchise. While pop culture may often be faced with the accusation of being trivial and responsible for the intellectual degradation of the audience, the acceptance that pop culture finds remains unmatched. This can be observed in the anime boom in America with manga and anime both becoming huge in the country. Pop culture artifacts with their enduring popularity will remain embedded in the psyche of the people forever. While other high culture artifacts may stand the acid test of time, their popularity will never be as all-encompassing or widespread.