Contextual Studies – Lecture One

The importance of Fine Art in wider visual culture: Piet Mondrian, (1872 – 1944)

Fine Art, particularly modern art. has inspired visual culture since the early 20th century with its unique design and unexpected impact in modern society. Artists such as Piet Mondrian has created work that has inspired and impacted visual culture throughout the 20th century and even today long after his death.


Piet Mondrian ‘Composition With Red, Blue and Yellow‘ (1930)

This particular painting, which was completed in 1921, has inspired fashion, architecture, engineering and even product design. The images below depict a modern-day Kleenex box, a car, a building and a still from Katy Perry’s ‘This is how we Do‘ music video.





As you can see, Mondrian has had a huge impact on modern visual culture, even today his work is still inspiring to those in all creative industries. And it’s not just Mondrian in today’s limelight. Modern Artists such as; Pollock, Dali, Matisse, Picasso and Monet can still be remembered through things you walk by every day. In a way, their inspirational work has made them all live forever.

What I Should Consider When Looking at Fine Art:

  • Colour takes a till on art when it is viewed online or even in a book as it loses it’s authenticity of colour when it is photographed. To fully understand an artist and their work I must make sure that the colour composition is absolutely right when viewing it online and if I can help it, I should view it in a gallery.

picasso weeping woman

Pablo Picasso ‘Weeping Woman‘ (1937)

This is an image I found of Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’ online, with a quick search in google. However, this is only one version of the painting. Below, you will see two more of the same painting, but there is a difference in colour. One is darker in the areas of white, while the other appears blue.

download (1)

Picasso, Weeping Woman 1937.jpg

As you can see, it is absolutely imperative that the colour is correct when referencing or even viewing a piece as you may analyse something that doesn’t even exist.

  • Scale is also important when looking at art as viewing a piece in a non-physical form could mean that you miss the point of the piece entirely. When looking at art you must always look at the piece as it is exhibited or you will not get the experience and emotional energies that you would when visiting a gallery that displayed that particular art. Of course you won’t get those experiences looking at the images online, but you would be far more educated if looking at the exhibited images.

Autumn Rhythm Number 30, 1950  by Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock ‘One‘ (1950)


Salvador Dali ‘The Persistence of Memory‘ (1931)

As you can see, the images appear to be of similar size when viewed as a scale photograph or copy of the piece. However, this is not the case with these two pieces. ‘One’, in reality, is much larger than ‘The Persistence of Memory’.



These are the real size of these pieces as they are exhibited. I have found images with people in them so that you can get a real sense of the scale of these artworks.

  • Viewing non-physical versions of art can also eliminate the texture of the canvas it is created on. The lack of depth of a two dimensional copy can take something away that is supposed to be there.


Here is another image of Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow.’ This image however is a photograph of the original from 1930. As you can see it has much more texture than the re-created version above.

  • The location of artwork is equally as important as the other three points. The location of a piece can make an incredible difference to the outcome of the display. There could be other factors to take into consideration about the environment around the painting. Lighting is extremely important in all artwork as the way the piece is lit could determine the perception an audience has about a piece.


Ron Muek ‘A Girl

As you can see this sculpture is placed directly in the middle of the room due to its enormous scale. This sculpture wouldn’t work if it was placed against a wall or even dangling from the roof. This is because Muek wants his audience to take in all of his sculpture and not be limited to how they can view it. The space around the piece becomes part of the sculpture as the viewer can fully immerse themselves and become part of the artwork presented to them.


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