- Write a 100-150 word essay about one Impressionist artist or musician and one Modernistic artist or musician. Include the following criteria in your essay:
- Full name of the artist or musician
- Birthplace and date
- Overall style characteristics
- Genres used by the artist or musician
- Original Ideas (Styles, Forms, Techniques)
- Major Contributions
- Definitive Works (Most famous contributions)
- Important Students (If any)
- Death date and place
- Try to place the artist or musician in the context of history.
Give the class information that will make the person’s work more interesting or understandable.
I chose Cezanne as impressionist and modernist Schoenberg.
1. Paul Cézanne
2. Born on 19 January, 1839, at Aix-en-Provence
3. He studied law as his autocratic father wanted, but also took drawing lessons and realized that he desired to be an artist. In 1858 Cézanne left his home on the urging of his friend Emile Zola. In 1861 Cézanne enrolled at the Académie Suisse.
4. While Cézanne was at this academy, other students laughed at his artistic efforts, but Camille Pissarro was there and perceived that "the strange Provencal" really had talent, so he encouraged the student. Still unsure of himself Cézanne returned home and worked in his father's bank. And yet the yearning to paint was in him, so he returned to Paris by the end of 1862 and never went back to Provence.
5. Through the 1860's, Paul Cézanne experienced nothing but failure because he did not paint as the others of his time; moreover he developed a form of what is called "character amour" as he concealed his real feelings by acting as a boor in dirty clothes and thickening his Provenc al accent.
One of his paintings from this period, The Orgy stands in great contrast to another painting of this period by Thomas Couture, entitled The Romans of the Decadence. This is a formally arranged depiction of a Roman orgy with the classical columns in the background, while the figures in the foreground are arranged formally--even mid-orgy--in dark tones. In contrast, Cézanne's painting is in shades of red-orange and the figures are unformed in a rubbery manner. There is one column, topped with a stormy drapery. One critic calls these paintings "the difference between conviction and convention" as Cézanne's raw emotion is displayed; in addition, there is a distinctive quality to Cezanne's depiction; for one thing, it suggests raw passion and the violence that sometimes emits from such licentiousness. Clearly, this painting and others of his connote his turbulent personality, boiling with feeling--not in the academic style of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts). Heaviness and emotionalism are in his paintings. Only from Pissarro did Cézanne learn the techniques of plein-air painting typical of Impressionists. Even then, he painted in his own Impressionistic style.
6. Cézanne painted in the Impressionistic manner, but with his unique style that is often erotic and/or violent. For instance, he painted a rather sinister version of Manet's Déjeuner with his painting, The Picnic. Cézanne is credited with forming the transition from Impressionism to Cubism as his figures are distorted in shape, but outline more than those of the Impressionists.
7. Most of Cézanne's ideas were original; in fact, Matisse and Picasso remarked, "He is the father of us all." He discarded pictoral arrangement, and he is credited with a style leading to Cubism because he liked to reduce objects to their geometric forms. He also experimented with perspective, using more than one "vanishing point" in his paintings in order to give his viewers a different way of looking at things.
8-9. Cézanne acted as a bridge for the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and Cubists. Certainly, he provided art lovers new, fresh, emotional ways of perceiving people and objects. His dark period includes, The Rape, The Murder, and Women Dressing; his Impressionist period is characterized by the plein-air technique with more than one perspective, yet things are outlined so that they are more outstanding; his mature period is the beginning of Cubism. Cézanne felt that the following were most important:
"the air, the light, the object, the composition, the character, the outline, and the style."
12. Cézanne died in October of 1906 of pneumonia after painting in the rain in Aix for two hours.
13. (see 8-9)
1. Arnold Schoenberg
2. Born on 13 September 1874 in Leopolstadt, a former Jewish ghetto of Vienna, Austria.
3. Schoenberg was largely self-taught and took only lessons in counterpoint,
...the relationship between voices that are interdependent harmonically (polyphony) and yet are independent in rhythm and contour
studying under Alexander von Zemlinsky, who would later become his brother-in-law.
4. Schoenberg was recognized by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler for his talent as a composer, but although Mahler made him his protegé, he later felt that he could not understand Schoenberg.
5-6. Considered as part of the Expressionism movement, a movement characterized by
...atonality and complex, unconventional rhythm, melody, and form, intended to express the composer's psychological and emotional life.
Schoenberg's music is highly personal and expressive, seeming to move in different directions and reach odd crescendos at times, then quickly return to what seems almost a motif. His String Quartet No. 2 is "chromatic" in color, using traditional key signatures; however, the final two movements mitigate this link with traditional tones. But, further in the composition, it includes a soprano vocal line, so it is not completely non-tonal.
7. This String Quartet No. 2 is considered Schoenberg's most "revolutionary" composition. He also wrote a highly-praised theory of harmony book, Harmonielehre
8. One of his most influential works is Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21, of 1912.
This is a cycle of expressionist songs that are translated from the poetry of Albert Giraud, a Belgian-French poet. In this work a female vocalist dramatically recites, accompanied by an ensemble of five musicians, playing the clarinet, piccolo, violin, violoncello, and piano.
9. (probably those mentioned in 7-8) The twelve-tone method, also called serialism. With this method there is no key to the musical piece as the 12 keys are sounded often as one another in the piece. Other important works include Violin Concerto Op. 36; Kol Nedre, Op. 39; Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, Op. 41; A Survivor from Warsaw, Op.46
10. In 1907, Schoenberg was offered a position at the Vienna Conservatory; although Schoenberg had taught a course there, he declined, stating that he disliked Vienna. Later, he formed the Society for Private Musical Performances.
11. Schoenberg worked at the Prussian Academy of Arts, the Malkin Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts; in California, he worked at USC, and later at UCLA.
12. Having a tremendous fear of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia, Schoenberg died on his 76th (7+6=13) birthday on Friday the 13th in 1951 in California. [A friend had told him he would die of the 13th of a month]. His ashes were returned to Vienna.
13. Certainly creative and innovative, Schoenberg contributions to the Expressionistic movement are important although some critics such as Allen Shaw feel that his perspective of feeling that the expression of the artist is more important than the work is a "poetic fallacy."