Grade Course Outline
Techniques and concepts developed by the artist
Artis a very a multi faceted area that has experienced high growth inresearch in the recent past. The works of early artists like Mondrianhave highly contributed to the current generation in terms of designsand models. Early paintings were based mostly in intuition and theartists relied on trial and error notion in paint images of realobjects as well as non-real objects. As we shall find out in thisarticle, people could not basically rely on such drawings until whenthe artists, such as Mondrian, introduced the idea of vertical andhorizontal lines in drawings. This paper focuses on Piet Mondrian’sred tree and the process that he passed through into becoming therenowned artist by the time he was 71 year old. He was a greatcontributor in fine art through Cubism in which he was doing researchin simplifications and came up with rectangles and triangles and morereformed image objects that are appreciated until today.
TheRed Tree, By Piet Mondrian
Oneof the greatest artists that ever existed was Piet Mondrian in theNetherlands who partly grew up in The Hague. Mondrian becameinterested in artistic skills at a very early age and was thusintroduced to the painting industry by his father who was a painterand a primary head teacher. His early life history indicate that hejoined the Academy for Fine Arts in 1892 where he developed hiscareer in fine arts and as a teacher.
Duringthis period of time, most of his works were Naturalistic majorlycomprising landscapes. He drew pastoral images of his home country.The paintings majorly depicted beautiful sceneries, windmills, riversand fields. In pursuit to search for uniqueness in his paintingmannerism, he traveled and more often followed the works of prominentartists at that time that influenced his artistic skills. This can beseen through the lens of his paintings which were representational,illustrating that he was under the influence of Pointillism andFauvism (Milner 87).
Anumber of his paintings are still displayed in many museums acrossthe world including The Hague. Such paintings include thePost-Impressionist works such as Trees in Moonrise and even the RedMill. One of the most philosophical paintings was the 1908 Evening.This is simply a canvas of a tree in a field almost in the twilight.This picture was a prediction of some of the revolutions andmysteries with which his paintings would be demystified. The Red Treeis basically a palette comprising a mixture of colors. There arethree main colors which he loved and they include red, yellow andblue. The Red Tree is one of the earliest Mondrian’s works whichlay emphases on primary colors (Hosack 79).
TheRed Tree of 1908 falls under a number of his paintings with trees onthe background. The violet and red colors found in the branches ofthe tree and the blue color helped in the creation of a sense ofdynamism in his artistic paintings.
Priorto the Red Tree art of 1908, the earliest forms of paintings weresimply an inkling of the coming artistic prowess and abstraction.Most of the paintings Mondrian did between 1905 to 1908 show vaguescenes of houses and trees on the background with some mirror imagesof stagnant water. Although such scenes would make viewers andreaders have great passion for forms rather than actual content,Mondrian’s paintings are deeply grounded on natural phenomena. Onlyon further reading of his works does one fully recognize hisobsession with the natural environment (Hans 54).
Mondrian’sartistic works were to a greater extent driven by his quest anddesire to become knowledgeable in both spirituality and philosophy.Due to the fact that two areas of studies formed the basis for hispaintings, he was so eager to join the theosophical movement whichwas spearheaded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. In the following year,he joined a Theosophical society in Denmark. This societyspecifically influenced his peculiarity in art thus changing hisaesthetic mastery and inspiring him to deeply search forspirituality.
However,much of Mondrian’s works were positively changed by the 1911exhibition of fine arts of Cubism in Amsterdam. In a bid to changehis environment and establish his career, he left for Paris in orderto join the Cubist artistic styles adopted by renowned painters suchas Picasso. His works such as TheSeain 1912 still held some form of representation with a slightvariation in the way he blended his paintings with some geometricalshapes. At this point, one would conclude that by adopting Cubism asa style Mondrian had achieved his artistic goal. His later worksprove otherwise.
Unlikethose who practiced Cubism in France and the rest of the world atthat time, Mondrian developed a totally different angle of fine art.He attempted to make reconciliation between his beautiful paintingsand the pursuit of spirituality. His final journey to his artisticpeculiarity began in 1913 when he broke away from representationalmode of painting through fusing art and theosophical spirituality. Avisit of Van der Leck was a complete turnaround since he realizedthat Van de Leck was equally interested in using only primary colorsfor his paintings (Farthing 106).
Inthe early Cubism paintings, his pictures were full of thin lineswhose rectangular forms were filled with primary colors such asblack, grey and even blue. In the late 1920s, Mondrian’s paintingsachieved their mature artistic forms with majority of the parts beingwhiter than the previous ones. The black lines around the rectangularsurface of the paintings were made a little shorter at some arbitrarydistance from the edges of his works of art. He also began usingfewer yet attractive colors to make his paintings more striking.During the period of his final works, forms had usurped the artisticrole played by lines thus creating an opportunity for Mondrian as anabstractionist (Gill 128).
Havingbeen introduced to arts at an early age, Mondrian frequently paintedalong the river that was fairly softer to accommodate drawings. Helater joined Amsterdam for fine art which he did alongside teachingwhile he practiced painting as well. His initial works were more ofloose and comprised mostly of landscapes of rivers and fields of hisnative town. For example, the red tree that he painted portrayed ared tree at twilight in the field that foretells improvement by usingthe palette exclusively of red. This clearly depicts samples of hisinitial works in drawing and painting. He later made paintings ofcanvases that illustrate blurry inherent trees that had reflectionsin static water(Farthing 107).All this work he related to his philosophical studies and spirituallife after having been brought up in a stringent rule family. HelenaBlavatsky’s theosophical movement that focused on leeway ofattaining more insightful knowledge of nature as opposed to thatprovided by empirical means interested him so much and it is fromthat perception that he based his work during his entire life. Hetempted to reunite drawings and paintings with spiritual chase unlikemost Cubists in Netherland.
Histechnique which was composed of pictorials resulted from hisencounter with Bart van der Leck during the World War I from which hewas also able to publish his first journals in which he described histheory of painting(Hosack 69).His mostly quoted expression of the theory was that he assembledcolor mishmashes so as to express beauty in a more natural way. Healso presented special information about his intuition in thehorizontal and vertical lines.
Hemoved to France when the war ended from which he greatly enjoyedfreedom of painting without intellection all over his life. The linesof his paintings improved from the initial form that outlined thinrectangular forms that faded as they approached the margin of thepaint to more reformed ones that had prime colors giving them moreadvanced forms. This saw advancement in his work and people couldthen realize the importance and relevance of his work in relation tothe factual ideas that he presented in the drawings. By 1922, theblack lines in his paintings stopped at a random expanse from theverge of the drawing or the paint. He later reduced on the number ofcolor forms that he used as time passed by while giving white colorfavor in expense of the others(Hosack 64).The black lines were painted with all running to the same directionwith extension to the verge of the canvas in order to give impressionthat it was a sample of the large work of which Mondrian used two inmost cases in conjunction with a blue.
Thedouble lines motivated and excited him since he believed that suchdimension gave his portrait different dimensions that he wanted todiscover further. He then incorporated much thinner lines in his workto improve the portrait of his work and mixed them with black doublelines that he interposed with a few colored forms. This creativitysaw him become a renowned painter thru his entire life and his studycontinuously improved with time from the intuition specializationwhere he made paints of real and non-real objects that saw peoplecontradict his work, to amore reformed forms that people almost likedfrom the onset.
Theresult of this renouncement was few abstractions and more researchwork in conjunction with appreciations. Samples of his work can befound in museums and The Hague, Netherlands and have largely remainedcherished by many in the arts industry(Milner 83).
Mondrian’sart turning point came about when he moved from Holland where hespent the first two decades of his career, to Paris. It is from Paristhat his friend Michael Scuphor and himself realized the impact ofCubism and later declared that it is from there that their careerstarted. Through Cubism, scenery symbolist treatment progressed tosimplified fragments from putting more weight on vertical andhorizontal lines. Mondrian had intense interest in knowing phonymanifestation of objects and the reality behind it. His belief inTheosophy helped create a reformed society through spiritualequilibrium and it is from this that he learned that any processcould occur in a gradual way. The inclusion and the study alongsidevertical and horizontal lines helped in the coming up with reformedstyles of harmony and rhythm determined by intuition of trial anderror method.
Hecontinued with his career until 1913, from which his paintings madeunrecognizable reference to real objects and were considered utterlynonfigurative. He used visual stimulus of surroundings as departurefor his paintings of which he sometimes cited. He continued withexperimentation throughout his entire life and in 1943, he decided toget rid of black lines that were central characteristic of hispanting in Cubism so as to create room for dynamism in his lastpaintings that composed of colored brands and squares(Milner 94).At the age of 71, he executed Broadway boogie-woogie, which has beenreproduced in many articles and books than other paintings that hedid in his career. His last commitment to experimentation wasremarkable and was reflected by many art historians as the mostimportant that Mondrian made in his entire career life. His workgreatly contributed to the current designs in the art industry fromwhich designers use his theory of horizontal and vertical lines. Theportraits of his late work are highly attributable and recommendable.
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Gill,Brendan. Latebloomers.New York: Artisan publishers, 1998. Print
Hans,Jaffe. PietMondrian.London: Barry N. Abrams incorporated, 1985. Print
Hosack,Karen. "Great Paintings." New York: DK Publishing, 2011.Print
Milner,John. "Mondrian." London: Phaidon Press, 1995. Print