Nesting dolls may have originated in the eastern European country of Russia, but lately, they've taken a western turn. Nesting dolls, or Matryoshka dolls, are symbols of Russian folk arts and crafts dating back to the 20th century. They're a set of hand-carved wooden dolls that are nested one in another.
Original Russian nesting dolls depicted 19th-century Russian peasant women, but they come in many designs today– popular culture, custom designs, interior minimalism, and more. In this article, we'll be discussing Nesting dolls and Western art history.
Art Nouveau Nesting Dolls (1890–1910)
Art Nouveau, or New Art, flourished between 1890 and 1910 in Europe and the United States. It's characterized by its use of long, sinuous, organic lines.
Art Nouveau was often employed most often in posters, illustrations, architecture, interior design, jewelry and glass design.
Popular artists of this era: Alphonse Mucha, a Czech painter, illustrator, and graphic artist, living in Paris during the Art Nouveau period. Mucha is best known for his sharply stylized and decorative theatrical posters of Sarah Bernhardt.
Impressionism is a nineteenth-century art movement distinguished by small, thin, yet visible brush strokes. This period of western art history was characterized by open composition with accents on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often the effects of time passing), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a critical component of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.
Impressionism began with a group of Paris-based artists who rose to prominence through independent exhibitions in the 1870s and 1880s.
Impressionist artists painted scenes from modern life, such as dance halls and sailboat regattas, rather than historical and mythical events.
Claude Monet, a French artist who pioneered expressing one's perceptions in front of nature, is most associated with the Impressionist movement. Monet's famous works include The Water Lily Pond (1899), Woman with a Parasol (1875), and Impression, Sunrise (1872).
Although Post-Impressionist painters worked independently rather than as a group, each influential Post-Impressionist painter shared similar ideals. They were more concerned with subjective visions and symbolic personal meanings than with observations of the outside world. This was frequently achieved through the use of abstract forms.
Georges Seurat was a Post-Impressionist painter known for his pointillism technique, which used small, distinct dots to form an image. Vincent van Gogh is also regarded as a Post-Impressionist painter, as he sought personal expression through his work, which often featured rough brushstrokes and dark tones.
Fauvism is the style of Les Fauves—a group of early 20th-century artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over Impressionism's representational or realistic values.
While the Fauvism style began around 1904 and continued beyond 1910, the movement lasted from 1905 to 1908 and had three exhibitions. The movement's leaders were André Derain and Henri Matisse.
CubismCubism was one of the twentieth century's most influential art movements. It is widely assumed that it started around 1907, with Picasso's renowned painting Demoiselles d'Avignon, which included cubist elements. The term "cubism" appears to have derived from a remark made by critic Louis Vauxcelles, who described some of Georges Braque's paintings exhibited in Paris in 1908 as reducing everything to "geometric outlines, to cubes."
Cubism provided the foundation for many later abstract styles, including constructivism and neo-plasticism, by opening up nearly infinite new possibilities to treat visual reality in art.
Surrealism is a visual art and literary movement that flourished in Europe between World Wars I and II. Surrealism arose primarily from the earlier Dada movement, which produced works of anti-art that purposefully defied logic prior to World War I. Surrealism, on the other hand, placed more importance on positive expression rather than negation. The movement was a reaction to the damage caused by "rationalism," which had previously guided European culture and politics and eventually resulted in the horrors of World War I.
According to André Breton, who published The Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, Surrealism was an approach to ultimately joining the world of dream and fantasy to the everyday rational world in "an absolute reality, a surreality."
Breton saw the unconscious as the source of the imagination, drawing heavily on Sigmund Freud's theories. He defined genius as having access to this previously untapped realm, which he believed could be attained by both poets and painters.
Popular artists of this era: Jean Arp, Max Ernst, André Masson, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali, Pierre Roy, Paul Delvaux, and Joan Miró.
Each artist sought their method of self-discovery. Some pursued a spontaneous revelation of the unconscious, liberated from the conscious mind's controls. While others, most notably Miró, used Surrealism as a liberating starting point for an exploration of personal fantasies, conscious or unconscious, often through formal means of great beauty.