The Art of talking about Art – 1: A for Abstract

Abstract is a term generally used to describe art that is not representational or based on external reality or nature. Here are three abstract masters you can talk about briefly the next time the subject of art comes up.

You know how people say all sorts of dumb things about art that quickly reveal how little they know about it. This, we think, is very sad. We are surrounded by art. It makes a lot of sense to try and understand it. And a good place to begin this beautiful and stimulating voyage is here.

A is for Abstract

Abstract is a term generally used to describe art that is not representational or based on external reality or nature. Here are three abstract masters you can talk about briefly the next time the subject of art comes up.

Jean Metzinger (1883-1956)

Must mention: Metzinger was a figure of some importance in French painting in the lead-up to the First World War, Metzinger was a leading theorist in the Cubism movement, who became famous for his treatise entitled Du Cubisme (1912) written in collaboration with Albert Gleizes (1881-1953).

JMW Turner (1775-1851)

Must mention: Commonly known as the “Painter of Light”, his most important works include Hannibal Crossing the Alps, (1812, Tate, London); Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, (1844, National Gallery, London), The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, (1835, Philadelphia Museum of Art) and The Fighting Temeraire, (1838, National Gallery, London). He is rightly regarded as one of the best landscape artists in the history of European painting.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

Must mention: Wassily Kandinsky was one of the greatest Russian artists of the 20th century, and a leading exponent of Expressionism, Wassily Kandinsky was both painter and art theorist. Renowned as an outstanding 20th century colourist, he had a strong physical sensitivity to certain colours which he was able to ‘hear’ as well as ‘see,’ a condition called synaesthesia. He is also credited with creating some of the first abstract art of the 20th century. Among his most notable works are Blue Rider (1903, private collection), Black Frame(1922, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris) and Several Circles (1926, Guggenheim Museum). He is regarded as one of the leading expressionist painters and arguably the greatest of the early abstract painters.

And if you enjoyed this little educational trip into the history of Art, you might enjoy this part of our store that’s dedicated to art lovers.

Update: We have compiled the entire series of blog posts on The Art of Talking About Art in one place. To read other editions of the series, click here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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