Grade Course Outline
Techniques and concepts developed by the artist
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).
Farthing,Stephen. 501great artists.London:ApplePress Limited. 2009.
Gill,Brendan. Latebloomers.New York: Artisan publishers, 1998. Print
Hans,Jaffe. PietMondrian.London: Barry N. Abrams incorporated, 1985. Print
Hosack,Karen. Greatpaintings.New York: DK Publishing, 2011. Print
Milner,John. Mondrian.London: Phaidon Press, 1995.Print