Introduction to Art

Art has a significant role it plays in Art history. It has had and it still has an impact in our lives, not only in our immediate environment but also throughout the ages. It is widespread and can be found and experienced everywhere. In the houses we live in which is art in architecture, the theatres and then all the books we read, we can see the work of art there. In old days, art was used by cavemen to record history by drawing on the walls. Because art has a way of describing beliefs and concepts as well as defining and recording people’s feelings, it is created and used for specific purposes. This essay is going to focus on three art theories which are futurism, cubism, and fauvism from the book Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics (California Studies in the History of Art) by Herschel B. Chipp. I will then compare and contrast them with a current piece of art being exhibited.


Futurism is an Italian art movement that is from the early twentieth century that is focused on capturing the dynamism and energy in the art from the modern world. It was created by an Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in the year 1909. Futurism is exceptionally vehement among the modernist movements because of its indictment of the past. The reason as to why it vehemently denounces the past is because Italy their past culture was very oppressive. Futurists are influenced by the problems of representing contemporary experiences and make an effort to have the paintings bring out all kinds of sensations and not just those that are visible (Chipp 639). The best Futurist art will bring to mind the heat, noise, and even the metropolis smell. Futurism is not like many of the other modern art movements like Impressionism and Pointillism because it cannot be easily or immediately identified using a distinctive style. It has borrowed some of its aspects from Post-Impressionism such as Symbolism and Divisionism. The paintings of Futurism have encompassed elements of cubism and neo-impressionism to establish a composition that expresses the perception of dynamism, energy, and the movement of modern life.


Cubism is a revolutionary new approach that makes representations of the realities that were invented between the year 1907- 1908 by artists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. They established different perceptions of objects and figures put together in the same picture which resulted in paintings that seemed to be abstracted and fragmented that was different from the traditional portraits, landscapes, and still-lives paintings. The Cubist paintings are not purposed to be realistic or life-like in any way as a matter of fact after looking at the subjects from every angle that is possible the Cubit artist will put together pieces of fragments from different points of view into a single painting (Chipp 618). Cubists examine open form, piercing figures and objects by allowing space to flow through them where it blends the background into the foreground and shows objects from several angles. This was the first part of the movement and is referred to as Analytical Cubism while the second part is known as Synthetic Cubists which explores the use of non-art materials such as abstract signs. It depicted many components of the subjects at one time but viewed from different angles which have been reconstructed into an arrangement of colors, forms, and planes. The whole idea of incorporating space is to reconfigure the front, back, and sides of the objects whereby they become interchangeable elements in the painting.


Fauvism is explained as the work that was produced by a group of artists like Henri Matisse and Andre Derain between the years 1905 to 1910 and is characterized by aggressive brushwork and intense colors. Fauvism is acknowledged as being the first of the avant-garde movements that was successful in France during the early 20th century. The Fauve painters were the first to incorporate both Impressionism and other traditional approaches to perception. The significant contribution to modern art by Fauvism was that it was able to separate color from its explanatory, purpose of representation and enabled it to exist on the canvas as an independent feature (Chipp 547). The color was able to portray a mood and develop a structure within the work of art without having to be the same as the natural world. Fauvism simplifies forms and saturates colors drawing attention to the intrinsic flatness of the canvas inside the space of the picture, and all the elements had a specific role to play. The main impression acquired from Fauvism is strong and unified. Fauvism dramatically values individual expression which is the artist’s immediate experience of his emotional response to nature, his subjects, and his instincts which are more important than academic theory or elevated subject matter.

The New Deal and American Regionalism by Philip C. Curtis

This art explores the story of one of Arizona’s most historically significant artists from a new point of view which puts the painter’s work in the context of the post-Great Depression time in the mid-1930s to the early 1940s. The artwork highlights the work of Philip C. Curtis as a painter and also as a museum administrator and advocate of arts. It is based on the theory American Regionalism that emerged during the Great Depression, and it was one that integrated attitudes of nationalists and isolationists of a nation that wanted to withdraw from the international community which had just fought a world war and was now an economic menace. American Regionalism was a rejection of the things that Americans believed caused the Depression which includes the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the past decades. The images from Curtis’s art are nostalgic and reassuring and celebrate the endurance and perseverance of Americans even in the darkest period.

Comparison of Futurism, Cubism, Fauvism, and American Regionalism

All the three art theories and the American Regionalism artwork have one aspect in common that is they all strive to depict the emotions and the rejection of subjects and events that the artists feel are wrong. All of them are a result of the artist expressing their anger and frustrations about the world that they live in. Futurism is an anti-historical, anti-naturalist, and non-anthropocentric movement and is an exaltation of modernity. It admired machines as it tried to eliminate the bourgeois culture and its destructive force that was expressed through aggressive aesthetics of urban life. Futurism believed in universal dynamism as being the artistic principle and foundation for human development. The futuristic paintings are characterized by the specific use of brush strokes to allow better transmission of movements. A futurist expresses their moods, alternating the dynamically drawn outlines with empty spaces. Futurism incorporates bright colors as a way of highlighting the action. They used the influence of cinema and photography to integrate a technique of drawing the same image overlapping several times in different colors. Cubism, on the other hand, an artist creates an image using different viewpoints so the artist does not stay on one side of something but will about the object. Cubism also reduces the image to its essential form which makes it difficult to recognize whatever has been painted. The paintings of Cubism have color contrast and line contrast by utilizing straight, diagonal, and curved lines and also portraits of Cubism are from still life. Fauvism does not use realistically colored sceneries, and it delineates shapes and simple forms. Most of the Fauves tend to paint landscapes or scenes from everyday life within a landscape this is because they are not fussy and demands for large areas of color. They portray the expressionism whereby to brings out the emotions of the artist through heightened colors and pop forms. In American Regionalism the pieces are fiction and focus on characters, customs, dialect, and other elements that make a region exotic. It is a mix of romanticism and realism as the characters in the paintings are usually stereotypical in the story and have minimal individual qualities. The style is straightforward and direct reflects the spirit of Midwest.


All the four types of artwork have a way of depicting the emotions and experiences of the artists from the kinds of color being used to the objects that are incorporated. They all have a story behind them that is trying to be told. Futurism is an anti-historical, anti-naturalist, and non-anthropocentric movement and is an exaltation of modernity. Cubism, an artist, creates an image using different viewpoints so the artist does not stay on one side of something but will move about the object. Fauvism does not use realistically colored sceneries, and it delineates shapes and simple forms. American Regionalism the pieces are fiction and focus on characters, customs, dialect, and other elements that make a region exotic.

Works Cited

Chipp, Herschel B. “Theories of Modern Art. A Source Book by Artists and Critics.” Art Education, vol. 22, no. 7, 1969, pp. 538–688., doi:10.2307/3191389.

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