Understanding Art Adaptations in History


Graphic/ Kristyn Dentremont

Different artistic styles juxtapose each other through color and line work.

Increasingly popular software such as ProCreate, Adobe Spark and Canva offer artists the opportunity to create their work digitally, advancing art and graphic design tremendously. Nonetheless, there are two artistic styles that have remained popular for years and will continue making a contribution to the world of artistic expression: contemporary and traditional art. Contemporary art explores personal aesthetics and modern artistic expression; contrastingly, traditional art celebrates historic moments and precise, old world techniques. Today’s culture welcomes both styles with open arms, yet artists often gravitate to one style over the other. As art is an increasingly popular major for college students, it is important that aspiring artists understand what each style truly entails.

Contemporary art was established as a true artform in the late 1960s during the wave of the civil rights movement and counterculture. Both aforementioned periods were defined by their opposition to social norms and promotion of emotional expression. Speech and music were popular outlets that allowed people to communicate their perspectives, but this new wave of contemporary art introduced a new outlet for people to relieve themselves of their emotional turmoil. A pioneer of the concept, Andy Warhol, highlights this style with bright colors encased in grids and thick black outlines. Warhol’s work is still relevant in contemporary art to this day, such as his “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and “Shot Marilyns” for their graphic detail and aesthetic. Besides Warhol, artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat have laid the foundation for current contemporary art, and their art is often inspiration for modern institutions. Galleries display contemporary art for aspiring young artists to ensure that this art form continues flourishing for generations to come.

On the other hand, traditional art is the building block that all other art forms have branched off of. Though it was created approximately five centuries ago, the Mona Lisa painting made by Leonardo da Vinci is still one of the most famous traditional paintings in the world and remains a treasure preserved at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. The Mona Lisa depicts a pale-faced, middle class woman who appears to only show emotion through her slight smile. Artists are captivated by her ambiguous emotions as well as the unrecognizable background in the painting, and many still ponder the meanings behind this painting. Additionally, the Mona Lisa set an example of what a traditional woman should be painted to look like. For instance, the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer and the Whistler’s Mother by James McNeill Whistler depict women with the same powdery faces and enigmatic expressions. Collectively, traditional art is displayed all over the world to grace its viewers with beauty and precision, and will continue to do so for centuries to come.