Twentieth Century Artists in the Graves Gallery

Glossary A - D

Abstract - Imagery which rejects representational accuracy, to a varied extent. Abstract artists overstate or understate the forms suggested by the world around them.

Avant-garde - French for vanguard. A term used for artists and their work which stand at the forefront of a movement or of new ideas, often in opposition to accepted traditions; art that's ahead of its time, experimental, innovative. Both the terms avant-garde and vanguard were created by combining the old French words "avant," meaning "fore-," and "garde," meaning "guard." In French, "avant-garde" referred to the troops that marched at the head of the army. 1910 was the first time it was used by English speakers. (pr. ah'vahnt-gard)

Classical (Art)
This term now has many meanings. It was originally used in reference to the art of ancient Greece produced during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Later it included all works of art produced from 600 BC until the fall of Rome. Still later it was a term used to describe any art form thought to be inspired by ancient Greek or Roman examples. In present times Classical is used to describe perfection of form, with an emphasis on harmony and control of emotion. Often it is applied to works that are representational but idealistic.

Conceptual Art – Imagery which departs from perceptual accuracy to portray a mental formulation of the object, instead of its appearance alone. It is art that is intended to express an idea or a concept to the perceiver, rejecting the creation or appreciation of a conventional artifact such as a painting or a sculpture as a precious commodity. Conceptual Art emerged as an art movement in the 1960s. For the Art & Language group, Concept art resulted in an art object being replaced by an analysis of it. Exponents of Conceptual Art said that artistic production should serve artistic knowledge and that the art object is not an end in itself. Because Conceptual Art is so dependent upon the text (or discourse) surrounding it, it is strongly related to several other movements of the last century.

Contemporary (Art) - Current, belonging to the same period of time, generally refers to today’s art. The use of the literal adjective “Contemporary” to define this period in art history is partly due to the lack of any distinct or dominant school of art as recognised by artists, art historians and critics. It tends to include art made from the late 1960’s to the present, or after the supposed end of Modern art or the Modernist period (however, artists are making “Modern art” today, just as they are making art in practically all past styles or modes). Art made or performed since Modernism is also sometimes called Postmodern art, but as Postmodernism can refer to both a historical timeframe and an aesthetic approach, and many Contemporary artists’ work does not exhibit some of the key elements of the postmodern aesthetic, “Contemporary” may be preferred as a more inclusive adjective.

Cubism – An early 20th Century avant-garde art movement. The term “Cubism” was first used in 1908 by the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles after seeing a picture by George Braque (French, 1882-1963). He described the picture as ‘full of little cubes’. The term ‘Cubism’ then became popular very quickly and by 1910 critics were referring to a ‘Cubist School’. Cubist artwork focused on objects being broken up, analyzed, and then re-assembled in an abstracted form. Instead of depicting objects from a singular viewpoint, the object would be depicted from a multitude of viewpoints to present the piece in a greater context. Unlike Impressionism which had more of an emphasis on light and colour, Cubism followed Paul Cezanne’s statement that "Everything in nature takes its form from the sphere, the cone, and the cylinder." in which these 3 shapes are used to depict the object of the painting. Georges Braque (French, 1882 – 1963) and Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) were the main innovators of the movement. Working closely together they went through several distinct phases before 1920.

Cycladics – From a collection called 'the Cyclades' formed with more than 350 artifacts made on the Greek islands between 3200 B.C. and 2000 B.C. During this period these small islands became the home of a flourishing culture. The most prominent craft in Cycladic culture was stone-cutting, especially marble sculpture. The abundance of white, good-quality marble on most of the islands encouraged its wide use for the creation of artifacts and implements of functional or symbolic nature. Among these, Cycladic Figurines are by far the most distinctive Cycladic creation because of the great numbers in which they are found, the variety of sizes and types and the significance, we may assume, they held for their owners.

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