Visual & Decorative Arts Blog

Laura Bulbeck

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Art Movements | Cubism | Avant-garde Art

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Cubism was one of the most influential twentieth-century art movements. Cubist works would provide a radical challenge to the painterly conventions for producing an illusion of depth, and they would attack the tradition of ‘high’ art by including within two-dimensional paintings and collages a range of extraneous materials not traditionally associated with high art, such as newspaper clippings, scraps of sheet music and stencilled lettering.

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Topics: Orphism, Picasso, Cubism, Braque

Art Movements | Pre-Raphaelites | A Reaction Against Neoclassicism

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

The clean, simple, pure forms of Neoclassicism arose as a counter movement to the frivolous Rococo style, particularly at a time when new discoveries from Pompeii were proving inspirational to artists. As a reaction against the Academies, however, the ideals of Romanticism – which favoured wilder, more emotional artworks – started to gain popularity. Offshoots of Romanticism began to appear throughout Europe, most notably in the work of the Nazarenes in Germany and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, who sought to take art back to a time before Raphael and his Classical influences had been a corrupting influence on art. 

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Topics: pre-raphaelites, art movements, romanticism, neoclassicism

Art Movements | Gothic & Medieval Art | Religious Depictions

Posted by Laura Bulbeck
Out of the art of the Aegean, which flourished between 5,000 and 1,000 BC, would develop the art of Greece and ultimately that of Rome. To the Greeks painting was a minor art, mostly confined to the decoration of vases but nevertheless revealing a very lively sense of composition and realism. The murals of Pompeii and Herculaneum, engulfed by lava and volcanic ash in AD 79 and miraculously preserved as a result, are mute testament to the skills of Roman artists, notably in their clever use of line to create a three-dimensional effect. As the Roman Empire expanded, art began to be influenced more and more by the East. Religion was a common source of inspiration for artistic content as the medieval period developed, and it was also a centre for the practice of art such as the illuminated manuscripts created in monasteries.

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Topics: medieval art, illuminated manuscripts, gothic art, byzantine art, religious art

Art Movements | Early 20th Century Art | A Modern Outlook

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

The twentieth century saw many radical changes in people’s lives: an increased pace of technological and industrial change; the rapid spread of large urban centres; the development of new means of transportation and communication; innovative scientific discoveries such as the X-ray and the theory of relativity; the growth of consumerism on a large scale; and the chilling reality of mass warfare. Against this background of social, political and technological developments, Western art also underwent a series of radical shifts.

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Topics: art deco, art nouveau, art movements, futurism, bauhaus

Art Movements | Impressionism | An Exploration of Light and Colour

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Inspired by the RA’s new exhibition on Painting the Modern Garden, of which Monet’s stunning Garden of Giverny paintings are a big part, this blog takes a look at one of the most popular art movements: Impressionism. We put it into context – with a brief look first at Realism in France, and its move away from classical art; as well as an exploration into how it formed the roots of Post-Impressionism.

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Topics: art of fine gifts, Claude Monet, Impressionism, Post-impressionism, art movements

Monet & The Garden of Giverny | Art of Fine Gifts

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Some of Monet's most famous paintings are his depictions of sights seen in the idyllic landscapes of his Garden of Giverny. His incredibly popular Water Lilies artworks, and the iconic view of the Japanese Bridge were all painted from views of his garden – adorned with poppies, dahlias and irises – where he lived out his final years.

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Topics: Claude Monet

The Developing Style of L.S. Lowry | Masterpieces of Art

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

L.S. Lowry is beloved by us for making the industrial scene his own. These works were created in his own unique way, poetic yet not sentimental, compelling, even at times disturbing, but never judgmental. In this blog we’ll take a brief look at how he began to develop his well-known style.

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Topics: L.S. Lowry, Masterpieces of Art

Top Tips for Sketching | Art of Fine Gifts

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Why would anyone want to draw in these days of phone cameras and selfie-sticks? Because a drawing is unique. Anyone can take a photograph of a person, a landscape, a cat – but a drawing is a one-off, a personal view of a moment in time. Plus you can imagine whatever you want in a drawing – why stick to reality?

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Topics: sketch books

Art Calendars, Books And The Big Screen: A Moomin Adventure

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

With the long-anticipated Moomin movie, Moomins on the Riviera, coming to cinemas in October 2014 and our beautiful 2015 Moomin Calendar now available in our Art of Fine Gifts range, it's not hard to rediscover a childish love for Moomintroll, his family and friends. The loveable trolls are only gaining in popularity since their beginnings as a comic strip in 1945.

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Topics: Moomins, Tove Tansson, art calendars

Art of Fine Gifts: Kasimir Malevich

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Tate Modern has just opened the first ever UK retrospective of Kasimir Malevich (1879–1935), a Russian artist who changed the face of modern art. With his radical ideas, his pioneering work on geometric abstract art left a lasting legacy.

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Topics: Tate, modern art, Kasimir Malevich

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