How ancient art influenced modern art – Felipe Galindo

How ancient art influenced modern art – Felipe Galindo


The term modern art sounds like it
means art that is popular at the moment, but in fact, modern art is a style
that originated over 150 years ago, and includes artists that by now
have attained classic status, such as Picasso, Matisse, and Gauguin. And what’s even more ironic is that
the movement they pioneered, considered revolutionary
and even scandalous at the time, was inspired largely by an object
of a traditional and ancient design. As far back as the Renaissance, the primary European art movements
emphasized conventional representation and adherence to classical forms. But that began to change
in the late 19th century as artists like Van Gogh and Cézanne
expanded the boundaries of painting. Soon, a movement arose that sought
to create an entirely new style of art, and one way of doing so was to look
beyond Western civilization. For example, Paul Gauguin moved
to the island of Tahiti in the 1890s. There, he found inspiration in the island’s
inhabitants, landscape, and culture to create artwork that intertwined
European themes and Polynesian lore. Others looked the cultures
of the Islamic world, but the most influential inspiration
would come from Sub-Saharan Africa. As European empires expanded
deeper into the African continent, its artifacts and artworks made their way
into the hands of museums and collectors. One such collector was Henri Matisse, who showed his friend Picasso
a mask he had acquired made by the Dan tribe of the Ivory Coast. The mask awoke Picasso’s curiosity, leading him to visit the Trocadéro
Ethnographic Museum in Paris in 1907. Founded to house acquisitions
from colonial conquests, the museum boasted
a collection of African art, with stylized figures
and masks made of wood and decorated with simple colors
and materials. The visit was a revelation for Picasso, who proclaimed that African masks
were what painting was all about. At this time, Picasso had been working
on a painting of five nude women in a style that would later come
to be known as Cubism. And while three of these ladies
show facial features found in ancient Iberian art, a nod to Picasso’s Spanish heritage, the faces of the two on the right
closely resemble African masks. Created in 1907 after hundreds
of sketches and studies, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” has been considered
the first truly 20th century masterpiece, breaking with many previously
held notions in art. It was at once aggressive and abstract, distorted yet primal in its raw geometry, a new artistic language with new forms,
colors, and meanings. And these avant-garde qualities
caused a sensation when the painting was first exhibited
almost ten years later. The public was shocked, critics denounced it as immoral, and even Picasso’s own friends
were simultaneously surprised, offended, and mesmerized at his audacity. More artists soon followed
in Picasso’s footsteps. Constantin Brâncuși
and Amedeo Modigliani in Paris, as well as the German Expressionists, all drew on the aesthetics
of African sculptures in their work. Others looked to a different continent
for their inspiration. British sculptor Henry Moore based many
of his semi-abstract bronze sculptures on a replica of a chacmool, a distinctive reclining statue
from the Toltec-Maya culture. Pre-Columbian art was also a major
influence for Josef Albers. He created a series of compositions, such as the geometrical series
Homage to the Square, that were inspired by pyramids
and local art he encountered
on his frequent visits to Mexico. Inspiration from ancient cultures initiated one of the most revolutionary
movements in art history, but were these artists playing the role
of explorers or conquistadors, appropriating ideas and profiting
from cultures they considered primitive? Questions like this deserve scrutiny,
as artists continue to redefine standards. Perhaps not too long from now, the bold innovations of modern art
will seem like stale orthodoxies, ready to be overturned by a new set
of radical trailblazers drawing inspiration from another
unlikely source.

100 thoughts on “How ancient art influenced modern art – Felipe Galindo”

  1. Modern art has taken away the ability to objectively asses its value. as it is totally up to the observer to judge.
    Therefore any brain dead horse with a €2 bucket of homemade paint can be an "artist".

  2. +TED-ed Can you make a video on why many pieces of art that don't look complicated like the geometrical series and why they are considered amazing pieces of art and sell for millions.

  3. Now that was old modern art. Welcome to today's modern art here as long as you think your little pink square has extremely deep mening and can sell for millions, then it is real though provoking art.

  4. Renaissance and Modern (and Postmodern) art aren't to be compared, at least not in terms of aesthetics, (which I will point out are personal) skill, or intention. Renaissance art is about the detail the perfection of form and the realistic representation. Modern art is about looking pears what can be done better, how we can change how art is done, while still owning a lot to traditional methods. Postmodern art is about incredibly expressive works, emotional and abstract. It is also about challenging you, the audience, and by you commenting on how a near blank canvas is art is exactly what the artist wants. They want to be thought of as ridiculous, and scrutinized, because that is the purpose of their art.

  5. Rubbish. The so called modern art reflects artists desperate response to the fact that photograph and CAD has rendered their skill obsolete. In order to justify their existence they have to convince the rest there are higher purpose or profound meaning to their work. So it became less about content itself and more about "interpretation", with all the BS and sensationalism to ensure there are idiots that will keep paying them to decorate his empty head.

  6. I absolutely love it when people innovate and push the boundaries of acceptable creativity and art, it's not okay imo when people abuse the system though, putting profit/fame over creativity.

  7. Maybe most of these modern or impressionists artists just can't paint well….. but we're too much of a hipster and call it avant garde!

  8. Yeah…I much prefer Picasso "modern art" over the crap in museums.
    If you consider any artist today who isn't following the techniques used before the 20th century a modern artist, I do love modern art,
    but for some reason, modern art museums find the shittiest artwork on the planet and insist on placing that in their museums instead of actually well made artwork by hard working artisans expressing themselves for the joy of it (not easy cash by making a literal shit statue).

    I think I hate the simple shapes "art" the most. If they actually tried to make simple shapes look beautiful, then I may like it, but splitting a square in half and filling one half in red using MS paint is not art.

  9. OMG it's so nice to watch a video with any stupid Donald Trump comments!
    Oh wait, dang it!
    This is technically one of those…. sh*t….

  10. Amazing how I can disagree with some of the points of this video on both sides. On one hand, I think much of Modern art is trash — literally talentlesss junk people pretend is worthy of admiration. But on the other hand, the suggestion that the art was stolen "appropriated" from other cultures because they drew inspiration is just terrible; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and paying homage can create a whole new appreciation for the original. Suggesting it's some kind of theft from "savage" cultures is just backward and flies in the face of progress and art itself.

  11. hmm wrong. Modern art is not by Picasso, or his era. Modern art pertains to the art era we are in now, picasso belong to his era and the style that accompanied it. Art has eras which had styles. Lets not make videos for the sake of making videos

  12. Art is "the application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power". How is cubism art? Pfff… In modern world, we call everything art.

  13. [sorry my english, I'm French] There are a lot of people here who say that modern art is bad because it isn't realistic and beautiful. But I think they don't understand what modern art is : it doesn't want to be beautiful or realistic but it want to make people reflect and it want to challenge the dogmas of classic art.

  14. Sad to see so many upvoted comments (presumably subscribers) ignorant towards modern art on a channel promoting education.

    Perceived talent aside, art is an expression of humanity. It represents mankind of a certain time. Or it represents nothing at all and the interpretation is left for the viewer/ listener. The beauty, in fact, is the act of exploring something different and unique.

  15. I love ted-ed, I've noticed a theme that may be due to the american celebration in feb of black history. Im loving it but in addition to appreciation I need african artefact to be return #vatican #britishmuseum

  16. "How ancient art influence modern art"
    Ancient art, when artists would be killed for trying to sell a bill of goods. The good old days.

  17. Why is appropriation bad again? I think it would be great to inspire other artists in making their work. As long as they don't totally discredit their inspiration sources there is nothing wrong with it.

  18. Very interesting. But I believe, the radical difference between modern art and the classical art is because of the differences in their subjects. Previously it was largely an imitation but slowly artists used the objects of their paintings and sculptures as symbols, the objects became a material not the subject of their art. If you remove modern art from the history, today, the role of painting can be completely replaced by photography without any loss of knowledge or expression.

  19. Lol, everyone is ranting about postmodern art, not modern art. Come on. Learn a thing or two before you comment on a video which literally says as its first words "modern art doesn't just mean contemporary art". Jesus.

  20. as for me, the only revolutionary artist of last century is J. Pollock. He made such a ridiculous paintings, with such a perfect colour balance, so he is a truly genious.

  21. I love how everyone os critisizing modern art comparing it with the Renaissance art. These were two different Eras and the conception of art was sightly different.
    Picasso alrready knew how to paint breathtaking realistic pictures at the age of 15. He just tought it was a nonsense since the photography could do it in a few seconds. Art had to be redefined.

  22. Yeah, well, not a chance for the last idea spoken in video to become true. After Picasso and his followers novelty became the only thing anybody cared about and soon after that, when artist exhausted every possible approach and appropriated anything that could be appropriated, we've gotten modern art in its current form where nothing new or interesting is possible because all the forms of expression were already used up in some way or another. Nowadays them artists proud themselves on how art can't be defined, measured, and only understood by some elitist group of people, who see beauty in pile of shit when it's made by somebody recognized in the art community. And again, there has been so much attempts to make something novel that it became meaningless to even try.

  23. This sentence is an art. If you don't believe it, then you're uncreative, empty, dull, not artistic, have 'bad taste of art' and you can just go fuck yourself.

    This is exactly how the industry works. The problem is that some people are just conformists and they choose to believe what the brainwashed blind mass will believe, or else they won't have any friends or simply at disadvantages.

  24. The politically-correct attack on white European artists as thieves and "conquistadors" is absurd.  All art is based on previously established culture.  So why should we consider the racist interpretation that only white artists are evil?

  25. they don't mention how problematic these artists were, they were European's going to what they considered "uncivilized" countries and fetishizing their cultures by basically stealing the art the native people had already made

  26. Oh my god did any of you listen to the first sentence? The stuff you see these days is CONTEMPORARY art; modern art is older stuff like Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, etc.

  27. People have been arguing over this for thousands of years.

    You are ALL right!

    It's beautiful, it's ugly, it's awe inspiring, it's crap, it's sublime, but "Made you look…"!

    And just who is this guy named "Buddy"?

  28. 'Cubism', you say, Pablo? Gee, I dunno. I see many triangles… How about calling it 'Triangulism'?

  29. In other words, Western Modern art is a mixture of underrated art from other cultures that Westerners were inspired by and are now given credit for? I'm I missing something?

  30. The narrative was photography forced artists to react and produce less realistic and more distorted images. Then we are told that these less realistic and distorted came from other cultures. To what did these cultures reacted to? Did these cultures had photography? Degas was influeced by the Japanese. Why his art is not considered better than that Picasso's african influeced trash? Oh, so many questions…so much humbug to bring to light.

  31. The primary lie in Modern Art is repeated every academic year. New students are told the threat of photography made artist to reinvent themselves doing what cameras couldn't: abstractions. But the camera ALWAYS did abstractions: misty mornings, storms, aerial views, microentities… Today, computers/ mobiles go further. As aesthetic value doesn’t correlate to effort a photoabstraction should be valuable as a Rothko. Kill the lie: show your teachers your abstract photocreations, your CyberRothkos/Pollocks…

  32. This is a stretch. Yes some works had influences from Ancient African Art, but to say the Modern Art Movement originated in Africa is an outlandish claim.

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