What is Environmental Art?

Environmental art, also referred to as ecological art, is a genre that encompasses a blend of both craft and nature. The idea of showcasing the Earth through art has been around since the dawn of man, starting with paleolithic cave paintings. They were, in essence, the beginning of landscape art. Back then, their only purpose was to display the beauty of nature itself, not to send any type of political message. In this era of a growing concern for our planet, a lot of people are feeling ecologically motivated to send a social message along with displaying their talent. There is a strong movement towards educating the public about growing concerns all around us. 

Instead of using nature as merely a background that is used to tell human tales, many artists nowadays are working alongside nature to create works of art in order to convey a deeper message about climate change and how it relates to society as a whole. By choosing a specific landscape to showcase their work instead of working within the confines of a studio, environmental artists help draw their audiences’ attention to the canvas of nature itself. This can help bring attention in a positive way to those areas that need human intervention.

Some artists in this field have chosen to express themselves in a very literal sense, using only all-natural materials and working only within natural landscapes. This can be rural, urban, or a combination of both. These particular artists try to achieve two things simultaneously – they seek to display a certain area as it has always been in its natural state, while also transforming it into a new vision to send a message. The purpose of having a twofold goal in mind is to help people see the existing world around them from a new perspective. 

A common thread among environmental artists, regardless of location, is that they must do no harm. Their purpose is to raise awareness while drawing attention to a specific area or plight without harming it further. Some artists take a more figurative approach, but most of them will use organic material in order to represent their subject matter. The types of substances they might use include rocks, sticks, leaves, sand, flowers, or water, to name just a few. This leaves them open to vulnerability, much like in nature itself which falls prey to the changing of the seasons and predictable decay. 

 

The Most Famous Portrait Paintings

Some of the world’s most famous artists are more commonly known for their detailed portraits of human subjects. Portrait paintings provide the artist with the opportunity to depict a story within the subject’s expressions. Although the meaning behind the portrait may not always be apparent, what makes most of them famous is the open interpretation of the emotions and inner thoughts of the subject. Here are some of history’s most recognizable faces

 

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Not surprisingly, the Louvre’s invaluable portrait would make this list. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a merchant’s wife, Lisa Gherardini, is perceived as the most famous piece of art in history. Originally commissioned by the merchant as a gift for his consort, da Vinci ended up keeping the Mona Lisa for the remainder of his life. When is passed away in 1519, the painting then fell into place in various French Palaces, including that of Napoleon Bonaparte, until finding it’s permanent resting place in the Louvre.  

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer was one of the most well-known artists of his time. The painting is often referred to as the “Dutch Mona Lisa” appearing a little more than 100 years after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. One of the most enticing aspects of the painting is that very little is known about the model that is depicted. Viewers are fascinated with the mystery and like to speculate a story behind Vermeer’s subject. Modern-day entertainment has since written novels and movies about the peculiar girl.    

 

Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso

Known for his modern cubism style of painting, Pablo Picasso has a unique style that has made him one of the most famous painters in history. Le Rêve is a portrait of his 22-year old mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso often painted her using bright colors, evoking pleasant emotions in the interpretation of their relationship. Picasso was not one to shy away from expressing emotions in his work that others would not be inclined to. 

 

American Gothic by Grant Wood 

Since it was painted in 1930, the relationship of the subjects of Wood’s most famous work has been discussed by art lovers across the world. In fact, the man who modeled for the painting is Wood’s dentist, and the woman is his sister. The two had an unusual connection for portrait subjects in that they were strangers to one another. Grant Wood was intentional about choosing subjects that he could imagine living in the Dribble House in Iowa, which served as his inspiration for the painting.