An Analysis of Art in Europe from 1873 to 1913

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An Analysis of Art in Europe (1873-1913) Introduction Art for art's sake was, essentially, the 19th century's attempt to secure for aesthetics what the medieval "age of faith" had secured for Christianity: primacy of importance. From 1873 to just before the outbreak of World War I, art began to undergo another shift, expressing at once both a longing for an old world spirit and an appreciation for modern and revolutionary ideas. The century of feeling and realism would culminate, of course, in the irony of Oscar Wilde who understood that all art was "quite useless" if beauty itself had no function in the modern world. Wilde accepted beauty on the virtue of its own merits signaling a transcendental belief (of which De Profundis is the ultimate expression). Yet, the art world after Wilde's death in 1900 had already moved beyond belief. This paper will examine the movement of the art world from the rise of Van Gogh to the rise of Kandinsky. Background If the modern world had severed ties with the past (and the war that was to come would eliminate an entire generation of men, thus severing the next generation from the immediate past), all definition was, therefore, up for interpretation. Wassily Kandinsky would attempt to define the spiritual through abstraction, with The Blue Mountain being the first of his works to really begin to express the abstract spirit that Kandinsky saw permeating the whole world in 1912. The result would be the 20th century absurdism, best
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