What is Avant-Garde?

Root of Avant-Garde

Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People painting, created in 1830. It depicts Marianne and Second French Revolution.
Liberty Leading the People 
by Eugène Delacroix (1830)
The word avant-garde is gotten from the French word “vanguard” which actually means "advance guard." The term vanguard was utilized widely in some parts of Middle Ages (AD 476-1453) to depict a group of heavy armed soldiers which had been placed around the other troops who have weak armors in order to ensure their lives at the early stages of battle. With this strategy, it is aimed to keep larger numbers of soldiers alive against the enemy forces and turn the numbers into advantage. Similarly, the theory called as vanguardism originally comes from the same french expression.

Father of Vanguardism

Romanticist artist Gustave Courbet's Self Portrait, also known as Man with Pipe, created in 1849.
Gustave Courbet's Self Portrait 
Man with Pipe (1849)
Then artists assembled around this progressive idea for their own security and to keep their future society in safe. But this behavior made their creativity bounded by each other. Besides the root of word, the reason which led the term “avant-garde” had came to existence is the French Revolution which was happened amid early and center parts of the 19th century. As of the revolution, French subjects utilized vanguardist methods of insight to express their wish to be freed from the persecution of a royalist government. Gustave Courbet who was extremely impressed by early socialist ideas, can be seen as a father for vanguardism which is assumed to begin in the 1850s by concerning realism.

Interaction with Vincent van Gogh

Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Willem van Gogh's Self Portrait, created in 1889 which depicts the artist himself.
Vincent van Gogh's 
Self Portrait (1889)
When we look at the 20th century, Vincent van Gogh who was born in Holland could have turned out to be a standout amongst the most famous artists of his age. But it lasted a very long time that his art made a move into the direction of vanguardism. It wasn't until the point that his mid-thirties when he moved to Paris and met other troublesome specialists like Emile Bernard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautr and Paul Gauguin. However, it is as wonderful as inconceivable that is claimed Vincent van Gogh painted around 900 artworks through the span of ten years of his life. When he moved to Paris, he has had significant changes in his art. He changed his paint thick. His brush strokes turned out to be huge and strong. His approach was strict in that he painted everything around him. He frequently tried to catch something unique and this was the contribution of him to avant-garde in late 20’s. 

Paul Cézanne's Style and Impressionism

In Front of Olive Wallpaper (1881) which is also known as Self Portrait of Paul Cézanne, who was a greatest artist of all.
Paul Cézanne's Self Portrait 
In Front of Olive Wallpaper (1881)
Another artist should be pointed out is Paul Cézanne whose a unique style of art which includes impressed layers with thick paints and unclear structures. He needed to rearrange things into shapes that he could separate. One of his few dear companions was Camille Pissarro, an Impressionist painter whose ‘en plein air’ painting style and he had some impact on Cézanne's works. On the other side, Cézanne affected a few current specialists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In principle, Paul Cézanne's style was modern. Although his modern avant-garde style collected many artist supporters around him, faultfinders and next generation specialists did not understand him for quite a while. Indeed, even the Impressionists who define themselves far from the academic arts, did not stand behind his strategy and dynamic style. There is no doubt that Cézanne’s paintings shall be seen as excessively disputable pieces to them. All in all, the word avant-garde which has been derived from ‘vanguard’, is in our lives since Middle Ages (AD 476-1453) and it had a large variety of usage area from battlefields to artworks concerning Impressionism and French Revolution.

Pablo Picasso's Self Portrait, created in 1901 during his Blue Period with monochromatic blue colors.
Pablo Picasso's Self Portrait 
In Shirtsleeves (1900), also known as Henri Matisse's Self Portrait. Henri Émile Benoît Matisse was a French painter.
Henri Matisse's Self Portrait 
In Shirtsleeves (1900)

What is Avant-Garde? What is Avant-Garde? Reviewed by Articonog on December 24, 2019 Rating: 5

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