Cultural Heritage of Great Britain: рainting

Periods of art in Great Britain. Earliest art and medieval, 16th-19th Centuries. Vorticism, pop art, stuckism. Percy Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash, Billy Childish as famous modern painters. A British comic as a periodical published in the United Kingdom.

Рубрика Культура и искусство
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Язык английский
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Art plays an important role in our life. First of all art is a creative activity of humans. Also it is one of the major features which differs us from animals. Art helps us to discover our talents and different, unique and unknown edges of our character. From my point of view if you don't know anything about art you are not an interesting person to be connected with.

In my opinion art and people are inseparable things. Since the beginning of the people art has been going hand by hand with people. People have made rock and cave drawings since prehistoric times. But since that time many ages had passed. In every age the art has progressed and developed. Especially from the 14th century that progress was brighter to emerge. Since the 14th century, each century has produced artists who have created great drawings.

Everything is a bit different nowadays. The word "art" has a special meaning. It means something beautiful. The paintings of skilled painters are appreciated and admired by millions of people today, by those who can see the beauty. Art comprises weaving rugs, tapestries, ceramic work. So there are a lot of types of art. Nevertheless one can trace basic principles in art. All kinds of it require the same characteristics. The separate parts of a work of art should be arranged in pattern. The form itself, a pleasing shape and balance are extremely important.

Everybody knows and is fond of art of 18th and 19th centuries, but the most don't know any painters of the contemporary art. Last year I made a research work about the British art of the 18th -19th centuries this year I'd like to introduce contemporary areas and painters of the 20th -21st centuries of Great Britain. So the aim of the project is to present the most famous British contemporary currents of art. To reach this goal I'm going to investigate the level of art development in Great Britain, to acquaint with the most unforgettable painters of this country.

1. Periods of Art in Great Britain

1.1 Earliest Art and Medieval

The oldest surviving British art includes Stonehenge from around 2600 BC, and tin and gold works of art produced by the Beaker people from around 2150 BC. The La Tиne style of Celtic art reached the British Isles rather late, no earlier than about 400 BC, and developed a particular "Insular Celtic" style seen in objects such as the Battersea Shield, and a number of bronze mirror-backs decorated with intricate patterns of curves, spirals and trumpet-shapes. Only on the British Isles can Celtic decorative style be seen to have survived throughout the Roman period, as shown in objects like the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan and the resurgence of Celtic motifs, now blended with Germanic interlace and Mediterranean elements, in Christian Insular art. This had a brief but spectacular flowering in all the countries that now form the United Kingdom in the 7th and 8th centuries, in works such as the Book of Kells and Book of Lindisfarne. The Insular style was influential across Northern Europe, and especially so in later Anglo-Saxon art, although this received new Continental influences. The English contribution to Romanesque art and Gothic art was considerable, especially in illuminated manuscripts and monumental sculpture for churches, though the other countries were now essentially provincial, and in the 15th century Britain struggled to keep up with developments in painting on the Continent. A few examples of top-quality English painting on walls or panels from before 1500 have survived, including the Westminster Retable, The Wilton Diptych and some survivals from paintings in Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster can be seen nowadays.

1.2 British Art in the 16th-19th Centuries

The artists of the Tudor court in the Renaissance and their successors until the early 18th century were mostly imported talents, often from Flanders. These included Hans Holbein the Younger, Van Dyck, Rubens, Orazio Gentileschi and his daughter Artemesia, Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller. An exception must be made for the portrait miniature, where a strong English tradition began with the Elizabethan Nicholas Hilliard, who had learnt from Continental artists, and continued with Isaac Oliver and many other artists. By the following century a number of significant English painters of fullsize portraits began to emerge, and towards the end of the century the other great English specialism, of landscape painting, also began to be practiced by natives. Both were heavily influenced by Anthony Van Dyck in particular, although he does not seem to have trained any English painters himself, he was a powerful influence in promoting the baroque style. One of the most important native painters of this period was William Dobson. During the 17th century the English nobility also became important collectors of European art, led by King Charles I and Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel in the first half of the century. By the end of the century the Grand Tour had become established for wealthy young English people.

In the 18th century, English painting finally developed a distinct style and tradition again, still concentrating on portraits and landscapes, but also attempting, without much success, to find an approach to history painting, regarded as the highest of the hierarchy of genres. Sir James Thornhill's paintings were executed in the Baroque style of the European Continent and William Hogarth reflected the new English middle-class temperament - English in habits, disposition, and temperament, as well as by birth. His satirical works, full of black humour, point out to contemporary society the deformities, weaknesses and vices of London life.

Portraits were, as elsewhere in Europe, much the easiest and most profitable way for an artist to make a living, and the English tradition continued to draw of the relaxed elegance of the portrait style developed in England by Van Dyck. Leading portraitists were Thomas Gainsborough; Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy of Arts. The early 19th century also saw the emergence of the Norwich school of painters. Influenced by Dutch landscape painting and the landscape of Norfolk, the Norwich School were the first provincial art-movement outside of London. Paul Sandby was called the father of English watercolour painting. Other notable 18th and 19th-century landscape painters include Richard Wilson (born in Wales); George Morland; John Robert Cozens; Thomas Girtin; John Constable; J. M. W. Turner; and John Linnell.

1.3 20th Century of British Art

In many respects the Victorian era continued until the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and the Royal Academy became increasingly ossified; the unmistakably late Victorian figure of Frank Dicksee was appointed President in 1924. In photography Pictorialism aimed to achieve artistic indeed painterly effects; The Linked Ring contained the leading practitioners. The American John Singer Sargent was the most successful London portraitist at the start of the century, with John Lavery, Augustus John and William Orpen rising figures. John's sister Gwen John lived in France, and her intimate portraits were relatively little appreciated until decades after her death. British attitudes to modern art were "polarized" at the end of the 19th century. Modernist movements were both cherished and vilified by artists and critics; Impressionism was initially regarded by "many conservative critics" as a "subversive foreign influence", but became "fully assimilated" into British art during the early-20th century. The London-born Irish artist Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957), was based in Dublin, at once a romantic painter, a symbolist and an expressionist.

Vorticism was a brief coming together of a number of Modernist artists in the years immediately before 1914; members included Wyndham Lewis, the sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein, David Bomberg, Malcolm Arbuthnot, Lawrence Atkinson, the American photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, Frederick Etchells, the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Cuthbert Hamilton, Christopher Nevinson, William Roberts, Edward Wadsworth, Jessica Dismorr, Helen Saunders, and Dorothy Shakespear. The early 20th century also includes the Bloomsbury Group a group of mostly English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, including painter Dora Carrington, painter and art critic Roger Fry, art critic Clive Bell, painter Vanessa Bell, painter Duncan Grant among others; very fashionable at the time, their work in the visual arts looks less impressive today. British modernism was to remain somewhat tentative until after World War II, though figures such as Ben Nicholson kept in touch with European developments.

Walter Sickert and the Camden Town Group developed an English style of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism with a strong strand of social documentary, including Harold Gilman, Spencer Frederick Gore, Charles Ginner, Robert Bevan, Malcolm Drummond and Lucien Pissarro (the son of French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro).Where their colouring is often notoriously drab, the Scottish Colourists indeed mostly used bright light and colour; some, like Samuel Peploe and John Duncan Fergusson, were living in France to find suitable subjects. They were initially inspired by Sir William McTaggart (1835 - 1910), a Scottish landscape painter associated with Impressionism.

The reaction to the horrors of the First World War prompted a return to pastoral subjects as represented by Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, mainly a printmaker. Stanley Spencer painted mystical works, as well as landscapes, and the sculptor, printmaker and typographer Eric Gill produced elegant simple forms in a style related to Art Deco. The Euston Road School was a group of "progressive" realists of the late 1930s, including the influential teacher William Coldstream. Surrealism, with artists including John Tunnard and the Birmingham Surrealists, was briefly popular in the 1930s, influencing Roland Penrose and Henry Moore. Stanley William Hayter was a British painter and printmaker associated in the 1930s with Surrealism and from 1940 onward with Abstract Expressionism. In 1927 Hayter founded the legendary Atelier 17 studio in Paris. Since his death in 1988, it has been known as Atelier Contrepoint. Hayter became one of the most influential printmakers of the 20th century.Fashionable portraitists included Meredith Frampton in a hard-faced Art Deco classicism, Augustus John, and Sir Alfred Munnings if horses were involved. Munnings was President of the Royal Academy 1944-1949 and led a jeering hostility to Modernism. The photographers of the period include Bill Brandt, Angus McBean and the diarist Cecil Beaton.

In the 1950s the London based Independent Group formed; from which pop art emerged in 1956 with the exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts This Is Tomorrow, as a British reaction to abstract expressionism. The International Group was the topic of a two-day, international conference at the Tate Britain in March 2007. The Independent Group is regarded as the precursor to the Pop Art movement in Britain and the United States. The This is Tomorrow show featured Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, and artist John McHale amongst others, and the group included the influential art critic Lawrence Alloway as well.

In the 1960s Sir Anthony Caro became a leading figure of British sculpture along with a younger generation of abstract artists including Isaac Witkin, Phillip King and William G. Tucker. John Hoyland, Howard Hodgkin, John Walker, Ian Stephenson, Robyn Denny and John Plumb were British painters who emerged at that time and who reflected the new international style of Color Field painting. During the 1960s another group of British artists offered a radical alternative to more conventional artmaking and they included Bruce McLean, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long and Gilbert and George. British pop art painters David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips, Peter Blake (best known for the cover-art for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), the sculptor Allen Jones were part of the sixties art scene as was the British based American painter R. B. Kitaj. Photorealism in the hands of Malcolm Morley (who was awarded the first Turner Prize in 1984) emerged in the 1960s as well as the op-art of Bridget Riley. Michael Craig Martin was an influential teacher of some of the Young British Artists and is known for the conceptual work, An Oak Tree (1973).

1.4 Contemporary Art

Post-modern, contemporary British art, particularly that of the Young British Artists, has been said to be "characterised by a fundamental concern with material culture ... perceived as a post-imperial cultural anxiety".The annual Turner Prize, founded in 1984 and organized by the Tate, has developed as a highly publicized showcase for contemporary British art. Among the beneficiaries have been several members of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement, which includes Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, and Tracey Emin, who rose to prominence after the Freeze exhibition of 1988, with the backing of Charles Saatchi and achieved international recognition with their version of conceptual art. This often featured installations, notably Hirst's vitrine containing a preserved shark. The Tate gallery and eventually the Royal Academy also gave them exposure. The influence of Saatchi's generous and wide-ranging patronage was to become a matter of some controversy, as was that of Jay Jopling, the most influential London gallerist.

In 1999, the Stuckists figurative painting group which includes Billy Childish and Charles Thomson was founded as a reaction to the YBAs. The Federation of British Artists hosts shows of traditional figurative painting. Jack Vettriano and Beryl Cook have widespread popularity, but not establishment recognition. Banksy made a reputation with street graffiti and is now a highly-valued mainstream artist. In 2004, the Walker Art Gallery staged The Stuckists Punk Victorian, the first national museum exhibition of the Stuckist art movement.

Antony Gormley produces sculptures, mostly in metal and based on the human figure, which include the 20 metres (66 ft) high Angel of the North near Gateshead, one of the first of a number of very large public sculptures produced in the 2000s, Another Place, and Event Horizon. The Indian-born sculptor AnishKapoor has public works around the world, including Cloud Gate in Chicago and Sky Mirror in various locations; like much of his work these use curved mirror-like steel surfaces. The environmental sculptures of British earth works artist Andy Goldsworthy have been created in many locations around the world. Using natural found materials they are often very emphemeral, and are recorded in photographs of which several collections in book form have been published. Richard Long is another land artist, often working with river mud. Grayson Perry works in various media, including ceramics.

In September 2010 John Hoyland and five other British artists including Howard Hodgkin, John Walker, Ian Stephenson, Patrick Caulfield and R.B. Kitaj were included in an exhibition entitled The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art From the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, at the Yale Center for British Art.

2. Movements of Modern British Art

2.1 Vorticism

Vorticism, an offshoot of Cubism, was a short-lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century. It was based in London but international in make-up and ambition.

The Vorticism group began with the Rebel Art Centre which Wyndham Lewis and others established after disagreeing with Omega Workshops founder Roger Fry, and has roots in the Bloomsbury Group, Cubism, and Futurism. Lewis himself saw Vorticism as an independent alternative to Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism.

Though the style grew out of Cubism, it is more closely related to Futurism in its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern (cf. Cubo-Futurism). However, Vorticism diverged from Futurism in the way it tried to capture movement in an image. In a Vorticist painting modern life is shown as an array of bold lines and harsh colours drawing the viewer's eye into the centre of the canvas.

The name Vorticism was given to the movement by Ezra Pound in 1913, although Lewis, usually seen as the central figure in the movement, had been producing paintings in the same style for a year or so previously.

Other than Lewis, the main figures associated with Vorticism were Malcolm Arbuthnot, Lawrence Atkinson, one of the signatories of BLAST. David Bomberg, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Jacob Epstein, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jessica Dismorr, Cuthbert Hamilton, Christopher Nevinson, William Roberts, Helen Saunders, Dorothy Shakespear and Edward Wadsworth were also contributors to the development of the movement . The most recent active participant is the grandson of Lawrence Atkinson, Christian N Atkinson, born November 1939 in Aldeburgh, now residing in Capel St. Andrew. Some of Christian's work can be seen on Saatchi online.

The Vorticists published two issues of the literary magazine BLAST, in June 1914 and July 1915 which Lewis edited. It contained work by Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot as well as by the Vorticists themselves. Its typographical adventurousness was cited by El Lissitzky as one of the major forerunners of the revolution in graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s.

Paintings and sculpture shown at the Rebel Art Centre in 1914, before the formation of the Vorticist Group was experimental work by Lewis, Wadsworth, Shakespear and others, using angular simplification and abstraction. This work was contemporary with and comparable to abstraction by European artists such as Kandinski, Frantisek Kupka and the Russian Rayist Group. The Vorticists held only one exhibition, in 1915 at the Dorй Gallery, in London. The main section of the exhibition included work by Jessica Dismorr, Frederick Etchells, Lewis, Gaudier-Brzeska, William Roberts, Helen Saunders and Edward Wadsworth. There was a smaller section area titled `Those Invited To Show' that included several other artists. Jacob Epstein was notably not represented, although did have his drawings reproduced in 'Blast!'.

After this, the movement broke up, largely due to the onset of World War I and public apathy towards the work. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in military service, while leading figures such as Epstein distanced themselves stylistically from Lewis. A brief attempt by Lewis to revive the movement in 1920 under the name Group X proved unsuccessful. Pound, however, through his correspondence with Lewis, was understood to hold a commitment to the goals of the movement as much as forty years after its demise.

While Lewis is generally seen as the central figure in the movement, it has been suggested that this was more due to his contacts and ability as a self-publicist and polemicist than the quality of his works. A 1956 exhibition at the Tate Gallery was called Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism, highlighting his prominent place in the movement. This angered other members of the group. Bomberg and Roberts (who published a series of "Vortex Pamphlets" on the matter) both protested strongly the assertion of Lewis, which was printed in the exhibition catalogue: "Vorticism, in fact, was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period." The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University held an exhibition entitled The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-18 from September 30, 2010 through January 2, 2011. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice) held an exhibition entitled: The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York 1914-18 between January 29 and May 15, 2011. Tate Britain held an exhibition entitled The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World, between the 14th of June and the 4th of September 2011.

2.2 Pop Art

Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art. Pop removes the material from its context and isolates the object, or combines it with other objects, for contemplation. The concept of pop art refers not as much to the art itself as to the attitudes that led to it.

Pop art employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. It is widely interpreted as a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism, as well as an expansion upon them. And due to its utilization of found objects and images it is similar to Dada. Pop art is aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artists' use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques.

Much of pop art is considered incongruent, as the conceptual practices that are often used make it difficult for some to readily comprehend. Pop art and minimalism are considered to be art movements that precede postmodern art, or are some of the earliest examples of Postmodern Art themselves.

Pop art often takes as its imagery that which is currently in use in advertising. Product labeling and logos figure prominently in the imagery chosen by pop artists, like in the Campbell's Soup Cans labels, by Andy Warhol. Even the labeling on the shipping carton containing retail items has been used as subject matter in pop art, for example in Warhol's Campbell's Tomato Juice Box 1964, (pictured below), or his Brillo Soap Box sculptures.

The origins of pop art in North America and Great Britain developed differently. In America, it marked a return to hard-edged composition and representational art as a response by artists using impersonal, mundane reality, irony and parody to defuse the personal symbolism and "painterly looseness" of Abstract Expressionism. By contrast, the origin in post-War Britain, while employing irony and parody, was more academic with a focus on the dynamic and paradoxical imagery of American popular culture as powerful, manipulative symbolic devices that were affecting whole patterns of life, while improving prosperity of a society. Early pop art in Britain was a matter of ideas fueled by American popular culture viewed from afar, while the American artists were inspired by the experiences, of living within that culture. Similarly, pop art was both an extension and a repudiation of Dadaism. While pop art and Dadaism explored some of the same subjects, pop art replaced the destructive, satirical, and anarchic impulses of the Dada movement with detached affirmation of the artifacts of mass culture. Among those artists seen by some as producing work leading up to Pop art are Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, and Man Ray.

The Independent Group (IG), founded in London in 1952, is regarded as the precursor to the pop art movement. They were a gathering of young painters, sculptors, architects, writers and critics who were challenging prevailing modernist approaches to culture as well as traditional views of Fine Art. The group discussions centered on popular culture implications from such elements as mass advertising, movies, product design, comic strips, science fiction and technology. At the first Independent Group meeting in 1952, co-founding member, artist and sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi presented a lecture using a series of collages titled Bunk! that he had assembled during his time in Paris between 1947-1949. This material consisted of 'found objects' such as, advertising, comic book characters, magazine covers and various mass produced graphics that mostly represented American popular culture. One of the images in that presentation was Paolozzi's 1947 collage, I was a Rich Man's Plaything, which includes the first use of the word "pop?, appearing in a cloud of smoke emerging from a revolver. Following Paolozzi's seminal presentation in 1952, the IG focused primarily on the imagery of American popular culture, particularly mass advertising.

Subsequent coinage of the complete term "pop art" was made by John McHale for the ensuing movement in 1954. "Pop art" as a moniker was then used in discussons by IG members in the Second Session of the IG in 1955, and the specific term "pop art" first appeared in published print in an article by IG members Alison and Peter Smithson in Arc, 1956. However, the term is often credited to British art critic/curator, Lawrence Alloway in a 1958 essay titled The Arts and the Mass Media, although the term he uses is "popular mass culture". Nevertheless, Alloway was one of the leading critics to defend the inclusion of the imagery found in mass culture in fine art.

2.3 Stuckism

Stuckism is an international art movement founded in 1999 by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson to promote figurative painting in opposition to conceptual art. The initial group of 13 British artists has expanded to 220 groups in 50 countries as of July 2011.

They have issued several manifestos, the first one being The Stuckists, consists of 20 points starting with "Stuckism is a quest for authenticity". Remodernism, the other well-known manifesto of the movement is a criticism of postmodernism and aims to get back to the true spirit of modernism, to produce art with spiritual value regardless of style, subject matter or medium. In another manifesto they also define themselves as anti-art which is against anti-art and for art.

After exhibiting in small galleries in Shoreditch, London, the Stuckists' first show in a major public museum was held in 2004 at the Walker Art Gallery, as part of the Liverpool Biennial. The group has demonstrated annually at Tate Britain against the Turner Prize since 2000, sometimes dressed in clown costumes. They have also come out in opposition to the Charles Saatchi-patronised Young British Artists.

Although painting is the dominant artistic form of Stuckism, artists using other media such as photography, sculpture, film and collage have also joined, and share the Stuckist opposition to conceptualism and ego-art.

The name "Stuckism" was coined in January 1999 by Charles Thomson in response to a poem read to him several times by Billy Childish. In it, Childish recites that his former girlfriend, Tracey Emin had said he was "stuck! stuck! stuck!" with his art, poetry and music. Later that month, Thomson approached Childish with a view to co-founding an art group called Stuckism, which Childish agreed to, on the basis that Thomson would do the work for the group, as Childish already had a full schedule.

There were eleven other founding members: Philip Absolon, Frances Castle, Sheila Clark, Eamon Everall, Ella Guru, Wolf Howard, Bill Lewis, Sanchia Lewis (who joined during the first show in September and is unrelated to Bill Lewis), Joe Machine, Sexton Ming, and Charles Williams. The membership has evolved since its founding through creative collaborations: the group was originally promoted as painters, but members work in various other media, including poetry, fiction, performance, photography, film and music.

In 1979, Thomson, Childish, Bill Lewis and Ming were members of The Medway Poets performance group, to which Absolon and Sanchia Lewis had also contributed. Peter Waite's Rochester Pottery staged a series of solo painting shows. In 1982, TVS broadcast a documentary on the poets. That year, Emin, then a fashion student, and Childish started a relationship; her writing was edited by Bill Lewis, printed by Thomson and published by Childish. Group members published dozens of works. The poetry group dispersed after two years, reconvening in 1987 to record The Medway Poets LP. Clark, Howard and Machine became involved over the following years. Thomson got to know Williams, who was a local art student and whose girlfriend was a friend of Emin; Thomson also met Everall. During the foundation of the group, Ming brought in his girlfriend, Guru, who in turn invited Castle.

In August 1999, Childish and Thomson wrote The Stuckists manifest which places great importance on the value of painting as a medium, as well as its use for communication, the expression of emotion and of experience - as opposed to what Stuckists see as the superficial novelty, nihilism and irony of conceptual art and postmodernism. The most contentious statement in the manifesto is: "Artists who don't paint aren't artists".

The second and third manifestos, respectively An Open Letter to Sir Nicholas Serota and Remodernism, were sent to Nicholas Serota which received a brief reply: "Thank you for your open letter dated 6 March. You will not be surprised to learn that I have no comment to make on your letter, or your manifesto 'Remodernism'."

In Remodernism manifesto, the Stuckists declared that they aimed to replace postmodernism with remodernism, a period of renewed spiritual (as opposed to religious) values in art, culture and society. Other manifestos include Handy Hints, Anti-anti-art, The Cappuccino writer and the Idiocy of Contemporary Writing, The Turner Prize, The Decreptitude of the Critic and Stuckist critique of Damien Hirst.

Manifestos have been written by other Stuckists, including the Students for Stuckism group. An "Underage Stuckists" group was founded in 2006 with their own manifesto for teenagers by two 16-year olds, Liv Soul and Rebekah Maybury, on MySpace. In 2006, Allen Herndon published The Manifesto of the American Stuckists, the content of which was challenged by the Los Angeles Stuckists group.

3. Famous Painters of Great Britain

3.1 Percy Wyndham Lewis

Percy Wyndham Lewis (18 November 1882 - 7 March 1957) was an English painter and author (he dropped the name 'Percy', which he disliked). He was a co-founder of the Vorticist movement in art, and edited the literary magazine of the Vorticists, BLAST. His novels included his pre-World War I-era novel Tarr (set in Paris), and The Human Age, a trilogy comprising The Childermass (1928), Monstre Gai and Malign Fiesta (both 1955), set in the afterworld. A fourth volume of The Human Age, The Trial of Man, was begun by Lewis but left in a fragmentary state at the time of his death. He also wrote two autobiographical volumes, Blasting and Bombardiering (1937) and Rude Assignment: A Narrative of my Career up-to-date (1950).

Lewis was reputedly born on his father's yacht off the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. His British mother and American father separated about 1893. His mother subsequently returned to England, where Lewis was educated, first at Rugby School, then at the Slade School of Art, University College, London, before spending most of the 1900s travelling around Europe and studying art in Paris. It was in the years 1913-15 that he developed the style of geometric abstraction for which he is best known today, a style which his friend Ezra Pound dubbed "Vorticism." Lewis found the strong structure of Cubist painting appealing, but said it did not seem "alive" compared to Futurist art, which, conversely, lacked structure. Vorticism combined the two movements in a strikingly dramatic critique of modernity. In his early visual works, particularly versions of village life in Brittany showing dancers (ca. 1910-12), Lewis may have been influenced by the process philosophy of Henri Bergson, whose lectures he attended in Paris. Though he was later savagely critical of Bergson, he admitted in a letter to Theodore Weiss (19 April 1949) that he "began by embracing his evolutionary system."

After a brief tenure at the Omega Workshops, Lewis quarrelled with the founder, Roger Fry, over a commission to provide wall decorations for the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, which Lewis believed Fry had misappropriated. He walked out with several Omega artists to start a competing workshop called the Rebel Art Centre. The Centre operated for only four months, but it gave birth to the Vorticist group and the publication, BLAST. In BLAST Lewis wrote the group's manifesto, several essays expounding his Vorticist aesthetic (distinguishing it from other avant-garde practices), and a modernist drama, "Enemy of the Stars." The magazine also included reproductions of now lost Vorticist works by Lewis and others.

After the war, Lewis resumed his career as a painter, with a major exhibition, Tyros and Portraits, at the Leicester Galleries in 1921. "Tyros" were satirical caricatural figures intended by Lewis to comment on the culture of the "new epoch" that succeeded the First World War. A Reading of Ovid and Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro are the only surviving oil paintings from this series. As part of the same project, Lewis also launched his second magazine, The Tyro, of which there were only two issues. The second (1922) contained an important statement of Lewis's visual aesthetic: "Essay on the Objective of Plastic Art in our Time". It was during the early 1920s that he perfected his incisive draughtsmanship.

By the late 1920s, he was not painting so much, but instead concentrating on writing. He launched yet another magazine, The Enemy (three issues, 1927-29), largely written by himself and declaring its belligerent critical stance in its title. The magazine, and the theoretical and critical works he published between 1926 and 1929, mark his deliberate separation from the avant-garde and his previous associates. Their work, he believed, failed to show sufficient critical awareness of those ideologies that worked against truly revolutionary change in the West. As a result their work became a vehicle for these pernicious ideologies. His major theoretical and cultural statement from this period is The Art of Being Ruled (1926). Time and Western Man (1927) is a cultural and philosophical discussion that includes penetrating critiques of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound that are still read. In the domain of philosophy, Lewis attacked the "time philosophy" (i.e. process philosophy) of Bergson, Samuel Alexander, Alfred North Whitehead and others.

After becoming better known for his writing than his painting in the 1920s and early '30s, he returned to more concentrated work on visual art, and paintings from the 1930s and 1940s constitute some of his best-known work. The Surrender of Barcelona (1936-37) makes a significant statement about the Spanish Civil War. It was included in an exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1937 that Lewis hoped would re-establish his reputation as a painter. After the publication in The Times of a letter of support for the exhibition, asking that something from the show be purchased for the national collection (signed by, among others, Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, Geoffrey Grigson, Rebecca West, Naomi Mitchison, Henry Moore and Eric Gill) the Tate Gallery bought the painting, Red Scene. Like others from the exhibition, it shows an influence from Surrealism and de Chirico's Metaphysical Painting. Lewis was highly critical of the ideology of Surrealism, but admired the visual qualities of some Surrealist art.

Lewis then also produced many of the portraits for which he is well-known, including pictures of Edith Sitwell (1923-36), T. S. Eliot (1938 and again in 1949) and Ezra Pound (1939). The rejection of the 1938 portrait of Eliot by the selection committee of the Royal Academy for their annual exhibition caused a furore, with front-page headlines prompted by the resignation of Augustus John in protest. However, no less an authority than Walter Sickert once claimed that: 'Wyndham Lewis is the greatest portraitist of this or any other time', though it was left to Lewis to make this statement public.

Lewis spent World War II in the United States and Canada. Artistically the period is mainly important for the series of watercolour fantasies around the themes of creation, crucifixion and bathing that he produced in Toronto in 1941-42. He returned to England in 1945. By 1951, he was completely blind. In 1950 he published the autobiographical Rude Assignment, in 1951 a collection of allegorical short stories about life in "the capital of a dying empire," entitled "Rotting Hill," and in 1952 a book of essays on writers such as George Orwell, Jean-Paul Sartre and Andrй Malraux, entitled "The Writer and the Absolute." This was followed by the semi-autobiograpical novel "Self Condemned" (1954), a major late statement.

3.2 Paul Nash

Paul Nash (11 May 1889 - 11 July 1946) was a British landscape painter, surrealist and war artist, as well as a book-illustrator, writer and designer of applied art. He was the older brother of the artist John Nash.

The son of a successful lawyer and a mentally unstable mother who died in a mental asylum in 1910, Nash was born in London on 11 May 1889. He was educated at St Paul's School, and originally intended for a career in the Navy, like his maternal grandfather. However, he failed his exams, and decided instead to take up art as a career. Studying first at the Chelsea Polytechnic, he went on to the London County Council School of Photo-engraving and Lithography, where his work was spotted and praised by Selwyn Image. He was advised by his friend, the poet Gordon Bottomley, and by the artist William Rothenstein, that he should attend the Slade School of Art at University College, London. He enrolled there in October 1910, though he later recorded that on his first meeting with the Professor of Drawing, Henry Tonks, 'It was evident he considered that neither the Slade, nor I, were likely to derive much benefit'.

The Slade was then opening its doors to a remarkable crop of young talents - what Tonks later described as the School's second and last 'Crisis of Brilliance' (the first had seen such stars as Augustus John and Percy Wyndham Lewis). Nash's fellow students included Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler, William Roberts, Dora Carrington, Christopher R. W. Nevinson and Edward Wadsworth. However, he struggled with figure drawing, and spent only a year at the School. Influenced by the poetry of William Blake and the paintings of Samuel Palmer and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Nash had shows in 1912 and 1913 (sometimes alone, sometimes with his brother John), largely devoted to drawings and watercolours of brooding landscapes. By the summer of 1914 he was enjoying some success.

At the outbreak of World War I, Nash reluctantly enlisted in the Artists' Rifles and was sent to the Western Front in February 1917 as a second lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment. A few days before the Ypres offensive he fell into a trench. He broke a rib and was invalided home. While recuperating in London, Nash worked from his front-line sketches to produce a series of drawings of the war. This work, which shows the influence of the literary magazine BLAST and the Vorticist movement of which it was a manifesto, was well-received when exhibited later that year at the Goupil Gallery.

As a result of this exhibition, Nevinson advised Nash to approach Charles Masterman, head of the government's War Propaganda Bureau (WPB). Nash was recruited as an official war artist, and in November 1917 he returned to the Western Front where his drawings resulted in his first oil paintings. Nash's work during the war included The Menin Road, We Are Making a New World, The Ypres Salient at Night, The Mule Track, A Howitzer Firing, Ruined Country and Spring in the Trenches. They are some of the most powerful and enduring images of the Great War painted by an English artist.

Nash used his opportunity as a war artist to bring home the full horrors of the conflict. As he wrote to his wife from the front on 16 November 1917:

"I am no longer an artist. I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth and may it burn their lousy souls."

In the early 1920s, Nash, along with several other artists became prominent in the Society of Wood Engravers and in 1920 was involved in its first exhibition. He became close friends with Eric Fitch Daglish whom he educated in the art of wood engraving and Daglish as a result went on to become a successful engraver.

Nash was also a pioneer of modernism in Britain, promoting the avant-garde European styles of abstraction and surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1933 he co-founded the influential modern art movement Unit One with fellow artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Edward Wadsworth and the critic Herbert Read. It was a short-lived but important move towards the revitalisation of British art in the inter-war period.

During World War II Nash was again employed as an official war artist, this time by the Ministry of Information and the Air Ministry, and paintings he produced during this period include the Battle of Britain and Totes Meer (Dead Sea).

Nash found much inspiration in British landscape, particularly landscapes with a sense of ancient history, such as burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts such as Wittenham Clumps and the standing stones at Avebury in Wiltshire. When in 1932 he was invited to illustrate a book of his own choice Nash unhesitating choose Sir Thomas Browne's Urn Burial and The Garden of Cyrus providing the publisher with a set of no less than 32 illustrations to accompany Browne's Discourses. In his final years, he also returned to the influence of Blake that had so affected his early art, for example in the series of gigantic sunflowers including Sunflower and Sun (1942) and Eclipse of the Sunflower (1945) based on Blake's poem Ah! Sunflower.

3.3 Billy Childish

Billy Childish (born Steven John Hamper, 1 December 1959) is an English artist, painter, author, poet, photographer, film maker, singer and guitarist. He is known for his explicit and prolific work - he has detailed his love life and childhood sexual abuse, notably in his early poetry and the novels My Fault (1996), Notebooks of a Naked Youth (1997), Sex Crimes of the Futcher (2004) - The Idiocy of Idears (2007), and in several of his songs, notably in the instrumental "Paedophile" (1992) (featuring a photograph of the man who sexually abused him on the front cover) and "Every Bit of Me" (1993). From 1981 till 1985 Childish had a relationship with artist Tracey Emin and has also been associated with another British artist Stella Vine.

He is a consistent advocate for amateurism and free emotional expression and was a co-founder of the Stuckism art movement with Charles Thomson in 1999, which he left in 2001. Since then a new evaluation of Childish's standing in the art world has been under way, culminating with the publication of a critical study of Childish's working practice by the artist and writer Neal Brown, with an introduction by Peter Doig, which describes Childish as "one of the most outstanding, and often misunderstood, figures on the British art scene".

As a prospective student lacking the necessary entry qualifications, Childish was accepted into art school four times on the strength of his paintings and drawings. Childish studied foundation at Medway College of Design in 1977-78, and was then accepted onto the painting department of St Martins School of Art in 1978, before quitting a month later. He was reaccepted at St Martins in 1980, but was expelled in 1982 for refusing to paint in the art school and other unruly behaviour. At St Martins, Childish became friends with Peter Doig with whom he shared an appreciation of Munch, Van Gogh and blues music. Doig later co-curated Childish's first London show at the Cubit Street Gallery. In the early/mid 1980s Childish was a "major influence" on the artist Tracey Emin, who he met after his expulsion from St Martins when she was a fashion student at Medway College of Design. Childish has been cited as the influence for Emin's later confessional art. Childish paints in a personal style, which parallels his passion for the elemental in both writing and music. He has exhibited extensively since the 1980s and was featured in the British Art Show in 2000. Since 2002 Childish has been represented in London by the L-13 Gallery, along with Jamie Reid and James Cauty (with whom sometimes collaborates). In 1996 Childish painted "The Drinker", influenced by Hans Fallada's novel of the same title. In 2008 Childish commenced a series of paintings based on the life and death of the Swiss author Robert Walser, whom Childish has also cited as an influence on his prose work. In 2008 Childish made several paintings of the steam paddle tug John H Amos which was moored on a pontoon at Rochester. In 2010 a major exhibition of Childish's recent paintings, writing and music was held at The ICA London, with a concurrent painting show running at White Columns Gallery in NY. Childish is represented by neugerriemschneider Berlin, and Lehmann Maupin, NY.

4. British Comics

4.1 History of British Comics

art struckism british comic

A British comic is a periodical published in the United Kingdom that contains comic strips. It is generally referred to as a comic or a comic magazine, and historically as a comic paper.

British comics are usually comics anthologies which are typically aimed at children, and are published weekly, although some are also published on a fortnightly or monthly schedule. The top three longest-running comics in the world, The Dandy, The Beano and Comic Cuts are all British, although in modern times British comics have been largely superseded by American comic books and Japanese manga.

The description comics derived from the names of popular titles such as Comic Cuts, and from the fact that in the beginning all the titles presented only comic (humorous) content.

British comics typically differ from the American comic book. Although historically they shared the same format size, based on a sheet of imperial paper folded in half, British comics have moved away from this size, with The Beano and The Dandy the last to adopt a standard magazine size in the late 1980s. Until that point, the British comic was also usually printed on newsprint, with black or a dark red used as the dark colour and the four colour process used on the cover. The Beano and The Dandy both switched to an all-colour format in 1993.

Originally aimed at the semi-literate working class, the comic eventually came to be seen as childish, and hence was marketed towards children. In today's market in the UK, comics intended for teenagers or adults are considered to be stretching the medium beyond its primary audience.

Historically, strips were of one or two pages in length, with a single issue of a comic containing upwards of a dozen separate strips, featuring different characters, although strips now last longer and tend to continue over a number of issues and period of time.

Whilst some comics contained only strips, other publications have had a slightly different focus, providing readers with articles about, and photographs of, pop stars and television/film actors, plus more general articles about teenage life, whilst throwing in a few comic strips for good measure.

Since the 1930s, it has been traditional that the most popular comics have annuals, 150 or more pages bound in hardback, usually published just in time for Christmas, and summer special editions of 96 pages or more in softback.

In British comics history, there are some extremely long-running publications such as The Beano and The Dandy published by D. C. Thomson & Co., a newspaper company based in Dundee, Scotland. The Dandy began in 1937 and The Beano in 1938. They are both still going today. The Boys' Own Paper lasted from 1879 to 1967.

The intellectual span of British comics over the years has stretched all the way from the cheerfully moronic obscenities of Viz (adult) to the political awareness of Crisis (adolescent to adult) and the sound educational values of Look and Learn (children's). There has also been a continuous tradition of black and white comics, published in a smaller page size format, many of them war titles like Air Ace inspiring youngsters with tales of the exploits of the army, navy and Royal Air Force mainly in the two world wars, also some romance titles and some westerns in this format.

In the 19th century, story papers (containing illustrated text stories), known as "penny dreadfuls" from their cover price, served as entertainment for British children. Full of close-printed text with few illustrations, they were essentially no different from a book, except that they were somewhat shorter and that typically the story was serialised over many weekly issues in order to maintain sales.

These serial stories could run to hundreds of installments if they were popular. And to pad out a successful series, writers would insert quite extraneous material such as the geography of the country in which the action was occurring, so that the story would extend into more issues. Plagiarism was rife, with magazines pirating competitors' successes under a few cosmetic name changes. Apart from action and historical stories, there was also a fashion for horror and the supernatural, with epics like Varney the Vampire running for years. Horror, in particular, contributed to the epithet "penny dreadful". Stories featuring criminals such as 'Spring-Heeled Jack', pirates, highwaymen (especially Dick Turpin), and detectives (including Sexton Blake) dominated decades of the Victorian and early 20th-century weeklies.

Comic strips-stories told primarily in strip cartoon form, rather than as a written narrative with illustrations-emerged only slowly. Ally Sloper's Half Holiday (1884) is reputed to be the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character, and the first British comic that would be recognised as such today. This strip cost one penny and was designed for adults. Ally, the recurring character, was a working class fellow who got up to various forms of mischief and often suffered for it.

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