Abstract Art: A Definition

There are a lot more people who don’t know what abstract art is really all about than those who understand it. It is no wonder since, as you will see, you need to know some things about art in general in order to understand why it really matters. In the following paragraphs we will try to provide you with a brief introduction into how abstract art came to be in the first place, as well as an idea of what it is really all about!

When talking about the origins of abstract art, experts usually trace the beginnings to the 20th century. Although it could be said that this process had started a lot earlier, it is not until the 20th century that we can witness any real tendencies toward abstraction. This was a time when painters decided to break free from all their visual limitations and base their works solely on the contents of their imaginations. The results were strikingly odd – paintings with not a single thing represented on them, at least not any thing we could recognize from what we can see around us.

But why did painters decide to do this? During the 19th century, a whole other perspective emerged in the world of art, one that can go by both the name impressionism and the name expressionism. It is because they both share the same goals – capturing the nature of the human emotion and viewing their objects from a subjective perspective. This is the line of thought continued by abstract painters of the 20th century. Some of the earliest and most notable works of this kind include the 1909’s “Caoutchouc” from Picabia and Kandinsky’s “Picture with a Circle” from 1911.

Considering what has been said, how could we define abstract art? It is best defined in opposition to figurative art, which is realistic depiction of things we can see around us. Abstract art, on the other hand, doesn’t strive to realism. It is the art movement that disregards objects as we see them and instead tries to bring us closer to a subjective point of view by allowing the viewer to decide on the meaning for themselves.