Abstract art is a style of art that has a visual vocabulary of its own using line, shape, form, and color to create compositions that are independent of the visual references the world offers. Starting from Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century Western Art had been supported by the principle of perspective and an endeavor to recreate a simulated reality. At this point in the history of art, cultures from all over the world were exposed to each other and became more accessible. This opened up new ways and avenues to build a new visual vocabulary for the artists.
Many artists began to sense the need to introduce a new kind of art that would incorporate the ground breaking changes in terms of technology, science, and philosophy by the end of the 19th century. Every artist drew their individual theoretical arguments through varied sources and demonstrated social and intellectual concerns across all aspects of Western culture during the times.
Abstraction is a form of art that deviates from actuality to go on and portray a unique imagery in art. This deviation or departure from a realistic depiction may be of varying degree – slight, partial or complete. It can be argued that abstraction exists along a continuum. Even in the most realistic of works there is an element of abstraction at least at a theoretical level, as a perfectly realistic representation is an illusion in itself. Works of art that take liberty in altering colors or forms in quite obvious ways can be classified as partially abstract. It is a complete abstraction when the artworks bear no resemblance to anything recognizable. In geometric abstraction for instance, there might not be any naturalistic references at all. Figurative and representative art are often known to have partial abstraction as an element.
Geometrical abstraction and Lyrical abstraction are almost always completely abstract. There are a number of art movements that incorporate partial abstraction. In Fauvism for example, colors are quite obviously altered when compared to the reality, whereas in cubism the forms of real life entities are deliberately altered.
Romanticism, Expressionism, and Impressionism are the three art movements that contributed to the development of abstract art. It was during the 19th century that artistic independence for artists started advancing at a significant pace. As patronage from the religious bodies and private entities diminished, it was the public that stood up to offer glorious avenues for livelihood to the artists. Furthermore Post-impressionism practiced by legends like Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh, Cezanne and more led to the advent of 20th century abstraction. The beginning of the 20th century was characterized by wild, expressive, multi-colored landscapes and figure paintings and Fauvism was born.
The rise of abstraction as an art form or movement is as dramatic as the art form itself and has quite a colorful history of its own. The political, social and cultural environment had a lot of influence and impact on its evolution and abstractionism developed a deep and strong foundation in the world of art.