World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Contemporary art is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, technologically advancing world, their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods and subjects that continue the challenging of boundaries, well underway in the 20th century. Diverse and eclectic, contemporary art as a whole is distinguished by the lack of a uniform, organising principle, ideology, or "-ism". Contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family and nationality. In vernacular English and contemporary are synonyms, resulting in some conflation of the terms modern art and contemporary art by non-specialists; some define contemporary art as art produced within "our lifetime," recognising that lifetimes and life spans vary. However, there is a recognition; the classification of "contemporary art" as a special type of art, rather than a general adjectival phrase, goes back to the beginnings of Modernism in the English-speaking world.
In London, the Contemporary Art Society was founded in 1910 by the critic Roger Fry and others, as a private society for buying works of art to place in public museums. A number of other institutions using the term were founded in the 1930s, such as in 1938 the Contemporary Art Society of Adelaide, an increasing number after 1945. Many, like the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston changed their names from ones using "Modern art" in this period, as Modernism became defined as a historical art movement, much "modern" art ceased to be "contemporary"; the definition of what is contemporary is always on the move, anchored in the present with a start date that moves forward, the works the Contemporary Art Society bought in 1910 could no longer be described as contemporary. Particular points that have been seen as marking a change in art styles include the end of World War II and the 1960s. There has been a lack of natural break points since the 1960s, definitions of what constitutes "contemporary art" in the 2010s vary, are imprecise.
Art from the past 20 years is likely to be included, definitions include art going back to about 1970. And early 21st cent. Both an outgrowth and a rejection of modern art". Many use the formulation "Contemporary Art", which avoids this problem. Smaller commercial galleries and other sources may use stricter definitions restricting the "contemporary" to work from 2000 onwards. Artists who are still productive after a long career, ongoing art movements, may present a particular issue. Sociologist Nathalie Heinich draws a distinction between modern and contemporary art, describing them as two different paradigms which overlap historically, she found that while "modern art" challenges the conventions of representation, "contemporary art" challenges the notion of an artwork. She regards Duchamp's Fountain as the starting point of contemporary art, which gained momentum after World War II with Gutai's performances, Yves Klein's monochromes and Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing. One of the difficulties many people have in approaching contemporary artwork is its diversity—diversity of material, subject matter, time periods.
It is "distinguished by the lack of a uniform organizing principle, ideology, or -ism" that we so see in other, oftentimes more familiar, art periods and movements. Broadly speaking, we see Modernism as looking at modernist principles—the focus of the work is self-referential, investigating its own materials. Impressionism looks at our perception of a moment through light and color as opposed to attempts at stark realism. Contemporary art, on the other hand, does not have single objective or point of view, its view instead is unclear reflective of the world today. It can be, contradictory and open-ended. There are, however, a number of common themes. While these are not exhaustive, notable themes include: identity politics, the body and migration, contemporary society and culture and memory, institutional and political critique. Post-modern, post-structuralist and Marxist theory have played important roles in the development of contemporary theories of art; the functioning of the art world is dependent on art institutions, ranging from major museums to private galleries, non-profit spaces, art schools and publishers, the practices of individual artists, writers and philanthropists.
A major division in the art world is between the for-profit and non-profit sectors, although in recent years the boundaries between for-profit private and non-profit public institutions have become blurred. Most well-known contemporary art is exhibited by professional artists at commercial contemporary art galleries, by private collectors, art auctions, corporation
The visual arts are art forms such as ceramics, painting, printmaking, crafts, video and architecture. Many artistic disciplines involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art. Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as the applied, decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the term'artist' was restricted to a person working in the fine arts and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art media; the distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts; the increasing tendency to privilege painting, to a lesser degree sculpture, above other arts has been a feature of Western art as well as East Asian art.
In both regions painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist, the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting the most valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes. Training in the visual arts has been through variations of the apprentice and workshop systems. In Europe the Renaissance movement to increase the prestige of the artist led to the academy system for training artists, today most of the people who are pursuing a career in arts train in art schools at tertiary levels. Visual arts have now become an elective subject in most education systems. Drawing is a means of using any of a wide variety of tools and techniques, it involves making marks on a surface by applying pressure from a tool, or moving a tool across a surface using dry media such as graphite pencils and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, charcoals and markers.
Digital tools that simulate the effects of these are used. The main techniques used in drawing are: line drawing, crosshatching, random hatching, scribbling and blending. An artist who excels in drawing is referred to as a draughtsman. Drawing goes back at least 16,000 years to Paleolithic cave representations of animals such as those at Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain. In ancient Egypt, ink drawings on papyrus depicting people, were used as models for painting or sculpture. Drawings on Greek vases geometric developed to the human form with black-figure pottery during the 7th century BC. With paper becoming common in Europe by the 15th century, drawing was adopted by masters such as Sandro Botticelli, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci who sometimes treated drawing as an art in its own right rather than a preparatory stage for painting or sculpture. Painting taken is the practice of applying pigment suspended in a carrier and a binding agent to a surface such as paper, canvas or a wall. However, when used in an artistic sense it means the use of this activity in combination with drawing, composition, or other aesthetic considerations in order to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner.
Painting is used to express spiritual motifs and ideas. Like drawing, painting has its documented origins on rock faces; the finest examples, believed by some to be 32,000 years old, are in the Chauvet and Lascaux caves in southern France. In shades of red, brown and black, the paintings on the walls and ceilings are of bison, cattle and deer. Paintings of human figures can be found in the tombs of ancient Egypt. In the great temple of Ramses II, his queen, is depicted being led by Isis; the Greeks much of their work has been lost. One of the best remaining representations are the Hellenistic Fayum mummy portraits. Another example is mosaic of the Battle of Issus at Pompeii, based on a Greek painting. Greek and Roman art contributed to Byzantine art in the 4th century BC, which initiated a tradition in icon painting. Apart from the illuminated manuscripts produced by monks during the Middle Ages, the next significant contribution to European art was from Italy's renaissance painters. From Giotto in the 13th century to Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael at the beginning of the 16th century, this was the richest period in Italian art as the chiaroscuro techniques were used to create the illusion of 3-D space.
Painters in northern Europe too were influenced by the Italian school. Jan van Eyck from Belgium, Pieter Bruegel the Elder from the Netherlands and Hans Holbein the Younger from Germany are among the most successful painters of the times, they used the glazing technique with oils to achieve luminosity. The 17th century witnessed the emergence of the great Dutch masters such as the versatile Rembrandt, remembered for his portraits and Bible scenes, Vermeer who specialized in interior scenes of Dutch life; the Baroque started from the late 16th century to the late 17th century. Main artists of the Baroque included Caravaggio. Peter Paul Rubens was a flemish painter who studied in Italy, work
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, printmaker, stage designer and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Guernica, a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were paired by critics as the leaders of modern art.
Picasso's work is categorized into periods. While the names of many of his periods are debated, the most accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period, the Rose Period, the African-influenced Period, Analytic Cubism, Synthetic Cubism referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, his work in the mid-1920s has characteristics of Surrealism, his work combines elements of his earlier styles. Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art. Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, a series of names honouring various saints and relatives. Ruiz y Picasso were included for his father and mother as per Spanish law. Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, he was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco and María Picasso y López.
Though baptized a Catholic, Picasso would on become an atheist. The surname "Picasso" comes from a coastal region of north-western Italy. There was a painter from the area named Matteo Picasso, born in Recco, of late neoclassical style portraiture, though investigations have not definitively determined his kinship with the branch of ancestors related to Pablo Picasso; the direct branch from Sori, can be traced back to Tommaso Picasso. His son Giovanni Battista, married to Isabella Musante, was Pablo's great-great-grandfather. Of this marriage was born Tommaso. Pablo's maternal great-grandfather, Tommaso Picasso moved to Spain around 1807. Picasso's family was of middle-class background, his father was a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of other game. For most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum. Ruiz's ancestors were minor aristocrats. Picasso showed a skill for drawing from an early age. According to his mother, his first words were "piz, piz", a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for "pencil".
From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional academic artist and instructor, who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, drawing the human body from plaster casts and live models, his son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork. The family moved to A Coruña in 1891, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts, they stayed four years. On one occasion, the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son's technique, an apocryphal story relates, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, vowed to give up painting, though paintings by him exist from years. In 1895, Picasso was traumatized when his seven-year-old sister, died of diphtheria. After her death, the family moved to Barcelona, where Ruiz took a position at its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city.
Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, the jury admitted him, at just 13; as a student, Picasso lacked discipline but made friendships that would affect him in life. His father rented a small room for him close to home so he could work alone, yet he checked up on him numerous times a day, judging his drawings; the two argued frequently. Picasso's father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the country's foremost art school. At age 16, Picasso set off for the first time on his own, but he disliked formal instruction and stopped attending classes soon after enrollment. Madrid held many other attractions; the Prado housed paintings by Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso admired the works of El Greco. Picasso's training under his father began before 1890, his progress can be traced in the collection
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter, among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life, they include landscapes, still lifes and self-portraits, are characterised by bold colours and dramatic and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. However, he was not commercially successful, his suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty. Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious and thoughtful; as a young man he worked as an art dealer travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium, he drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, the two kept up a long correspondence by letter.
His early works still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his work. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility; as his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and local landscapes. His paintings grew brighter in colour as he developed a style that became realised during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers. Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily, his friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor when, in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear. He spent time including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet.
His depression continued and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a Lefaucheux revolver. He died from his injuries two days later. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, was considered a madman and a failure, he became famous after his suicide, exists in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist "where discourses on madness and creativity converge". His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his painting style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists, he attained widespread critical and popular success over the ensuing decades, is remembered as an important but tragic painter, whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have sold at auction, his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.
The most comprehensive primary source on Van Gogh is the correspondence between him and his younger brother, Theo. Their lifelong friendship, most of what is known of Vincent's thoughts and theories of art, are recorded in the hundreds of letters they exchanged from 1872 until 1890. Theo van Gogh was an art dealer and provided his brother with financial and emotional support, access to influential people on the contemporary art scene. Theo kept all of Vincent's letters to him. After both had died, Theo's widow Johanna arranged for the publication of some of their letters. A few appeared in 1906 and 1913. Vincent's letters are eloquent and expressive and have been described as having a "diary-like intimacy", read in parts like autobiography; the translator Arnold Pomerans wrote that their publication adds a "fresh dimension to the understanding of Van Gogh's artistic achievement, an understanding granted us by no other painter". There are more than 600 letters from around 40 from Theo to Vincent.
There are 22 to his sister Wil, 58 to the painter Anthon van Rappard, 22 to Émile Bernard as well as individual letters to Paul Signac, Paul Gauguin and the critic Albert Aurier. Some are illustrated with sketches. Many are undated. Problems in transcription and dating remain with those posted from Arles. While there Vincent wrote around 200 letters in Dutch and English. There is a gap in the record when he lived in Paris as the brothers lived together and had no need to correspond. Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 into a Dutch Reformed family in Groot-Zundert, in the predominantly Catholic province of North Brabant in the southern Netherlands, he was the oldest surviving child of Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Van Gogh was given the name of his grandfather, of a brother stillborn a year before his birth. Vincent was a common name in the Van Gogh family: his grandfather, who received a degree in theology at the University of Leiden in 1811, had six sons, three of whom became art dealers.
This Vincent may have been named after a sculptor. Van Gogh's mother came from a prosperous family in The Hague, his father was the youngest son of a minister; the two