Comparing Movements and Works of Art


Comparing Movements and Works of Art

Art is one of the medium that artists have used to express what they feel and convey different kinds of messages to their audiences. Art movements explain the differences or the unique features manifested in different forms of art. This paper delineates on the works of art of modernism and the baroque movements.

Modernism movement was a period extending from 1860 to 1970. This was a period of experimentation as the artist conceived new ideas. The people lifestyles were beginning to change because of industrialization and therefore, new ideas were incorporated in the artworks (Kleiner, 2008). Various pieces of artwork were created during this period.  On the other hand, Baroque movement began in Rome in Italy in the 1600 and extended to other parts of Europe (Michael, 1966). This artists exaggerated their style using motion and easy to interpret details that created tension and drama. The adoption of this art style manifested in various pieces of religious works and aimed at conveying a certain message to the people to arouse their emotions.

The baroque artwork that marks the basis of this discussion is ‘the martyrdom of saint Bartholomew’ by Jose de Ribera painted in Prado, Madrid 1639 while one of the artwork during the modern movement is the ‘Guernica’ painting done by Pablo Picasso. This piece of painting was done in 1937 and demonstrated the bombing that happened in Guernica in Spain committed by German and the Italian warplane during the Spanish civil war.

These two pieces of work manifest the various questions that art historians ask and various words that are used.  The first question is normally about the significance of the painting. Every painting conveys certain message to the audience. The Guernica painting  was done to demonstrate how innocent people suffers during wars while the martyrdom of saint Bartholomew was  also aimed at depicting how Bartholomew went though  suffering as he was going to be crucified on the cross. This painting has religious themes aimed at making people to be strong in their faith even in times of suffering after accepting salvation.

The artist used various combinations of colors to paint the pictures. Both of them were done on a piece of canvas oil, one of the best materials that much artist uses to paint different pieces of work. The artists incorporated various elements of art and design to ensure that the meaning they intend to convey was understood.  Different colors are used in these two pieces of art.  In the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, there are various colors used including red, brown, black and greenish. Likewise, Guernica painting uses colors such as grey and patches of white to depict the objects and to convey the message to the audience. There is also use of lighting in the two pictures. Balance and harmony is also manifest in the two pieces of drawing.  Space is concisely used in both of the paintings as the objects are well positioned to create harmony and unity. The baroque painting has strong perspective effects, has dramatic light and dark and depicts that the painter used lose brush strokes compared to the Guernica painting of the modernism movement.

Analyzing these paintings closely, they reflect iconographic, historical, political, philosophical, religious, and social factors of the movements. The two paintings apply iconography. The martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew iconography is simple, direct and dramatic. This therefore makes it easier to understand what the painting is representing. The images come out clearly and any person is able to interpret and relate the story with the events that happened in the bible. The two paintings are a reflection of historical events that happened in the past.  However, the difference in time that these two events happen is very wide. The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew is a painting that illustrates the biblical stories that did occur in many centuries away while the Guernica painting reflects a civil war that happened not so long in Italy. Therefore, the two artists have this common relationship.

Art is said to be a mirror of the society and this means that it is through these representations that society gets to understand itself and how it needs to live and face the challenges that comes into their way.  Art is therefore; use this platform to communicate ideas and issues relating to the lives of the people. Guernica is an art that reflects on many things ranging from political, philosophical and social aspects. From philosophical perspectives, it portrays that people go to war to free themselves and get what they want but what they does not consider is the consequences of  getting the freedom and the liberty of that which they want (Martin,  2002).   The killings and the war represented in the painting are instigated by politics.  Political leaders that have self-interest are the ones that cause these wars that lead to negative impacts to the people.  The war cuts social links making people to live in fear. Therefore, the painting even though shows violence, it sends a message to the audience to embrace peace and democracy and live with one another in peace (Ray, 2006). The consequences of wars are severe and should be avoided at all cost.  The artists use creativity to depict this message. On the other hand, the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew painting is limited to religious perspective and social aspects. The painting, demonstrates that people in society should live together and not to betray their brothers. In religious perspectives, it represents the unity and the needs of pro people to remain steadfast with their religion.

In conclusion, these two schools of art movements played significant role in the field of artwork. Various pieces of artwork improved the field of art over the centuries because of the creativity employed. The two painting have managed to convey their message to the audience clearly through the artistic styles adopted by the artists.


Kleiner, F. (2008). Gardeners Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective. Fourteenth             Edition, Volume 11. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

Martin, R. (2002). Picasso’s War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece that Changed             the World.

Michael, K. (1966).  The Age of Baroque’

Ray, B. (2006). Analyzing Political Art to Get at Historical Fact: Guernica and the            Spanish Civil War. The Social Studies 97: 168–171.



The martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew by Jose de Ribera in Madrid (1939).


Guernica by Pablo Picasso (1937)




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