From cave paintings to political graffiti: 11 paintings that changed the world
Usually, an object of art is considered from the point of view of entertainment – it pleases the eye, can lift a mood or entertain a person. But art can also make real changes in the world. Pablo Picasso once even declared: “No, painting is not created to decorate a home. She is a tool of war for attack and victory over the enemy! ” And it seems he was right. Some canvases completely changed the way people think about social problems, about politics, and sometimes about the art itself.
1. “Lascaux Caves”
One of the world’s oldest paintings created a real sensation, but it happened 17,000 years after it was painted. In 1940, a group of young people took a cave tour in a French village. Inside it, they found one of the most unusual examples of prehistoric art in the world. Although it is not the oldest example of rock art, it is one of the earliest examples of exquisite painting, demonstrating that people have always strived for art.
2. “Studies of the fetus in the womb”
Leonardo da Vinci is considered to be a real genius thanks to his works, but today we’ll not really talk about one of them (more precisely, not about the one that can be seen in art galleries). “Fetal research in the womb” may have had a greater impact on the world than “Mona Lisa” or “The Last Supper”. With his anatomical drawings, made on the basis of these autopsies, Leonardo challenged moral and artistic standards. Leonardo’s discoveries and methods changed the way artists and scientists studied the human body.
This is not a standard court picture at all. In this portrait of Princess Margaret Theresa and her “menin” (maid of honor), the Spanish artist Diego Velazquez raised complex issues of illusion and reality, as well as the uncertainty of the connection between the viewer and the characters. For example, the picture shows not only the 5-year-old Infanta Margherita with the maid of honor, but also her parents — King Philip IV of Spain and Marianne of Austria. Their reflection can be seen in the mirror on the back wall. Also on the canvas there is the artist himself (to the left of the scene at the easel). The influence of Velasquez’s paintings on the history of art was enormous. It was the above questions that gave rise to cubism 250 years later, and Picasso was so fascinated by Menin that he wrote 58 versions of this picture.
4.This picture of the French artist Jacques-Louis David can be considered the first truly political canvas. It depicts the aftermath of the assassination of the revolutionary leader Jean Paul Marat, who was stabbed to death in his bathroom. David essentially decided to make an icon of political propaganda out of his dead friend. And he succeeded quite well, because the prints began to make engravings, which became widespread among the public.
This example of a radical “nude” is often considered a rejection of patriarchal views in art. In fact, the picture of Edward Manet is based on the work “Venus of Urbinsk” by the Renaissance artist Titian, who became famous for his shocking sexuality. But there are significant differences. First, Olympia, unlike Venus, looks directly into the eyes of the viewer, which many considered extremely provocative. And secondly, her hand closes access to the genitals, and does not lie on them in the “invitation” gesture.
6. “Black Square”
Many consider the hype around this picture stupid and absolutely not worth it. In some ways they are right, because this is really just a black square. But the work of Kazimir Malevich is considered the first picture in which nothing is depicted at all. The artist wanted to completely abandon the idea that art should depict reality or imaginary. Painting and ideas of Malevich continued to inspire countless artists in the twentieth century, and were also the basis on which many abstract and conceptual movements of art were created. Of course, they did not change the world, but they managed to change art forever.
7. “Campbell’s soup cans”
In contrast to the previous picture, this work by Andy Warhol was made in honor of a well-defined product. And one that you least expect to see in the picture. Andy Warhol decided to turn what the Americans saw every day into a work of art worthy of the gallery.