Black and White Art
Our monochrome collection is timeless and stylish, letting the artwork speak for itself without any colour. Black and white prints, also known as monochrome, is a placeholder in contemporary art that emerged as part of the avant-garde movement in the 20thcentury and continues to hold place in works of the modern day. Black and white art is considered particularly engaging for artists, critics and art-lovers alike for the wide-ranging possibilities of interpretation that its style lends to a canvas. Black and white as a style has never become dominant in its time, nor have any artists dedicated themselves purely to it, however it remains omnipresent. It lives an existence of both a symbol of modernism that presents usually during times of artistic and social turmoil, and through its uses in geometric precision and expressionism, which it has proved enduring and wistfully intangible.
What Does Black and White Mean in Art?
In art, black and white means the predominant use of two colours to depict a subject or express an idea. The use of black and white falls under the term monochrome, however monochrome means the use of any single colour in a work.
Black and white Artists
There are no mediums limited to the colours black and white. There are a range of artists who work in monochrome, including Henri Cartier-Besson, Ad Reinhardt, and Robert Rauschenberg. They have either worked within the confines of black and white or chosen a solitary colour to express whatever their idea.
One famous artist who has played within the confines of black and white artwork is Russian artist Kazimir Malevich. In his 1915 painting Black Square, Malevich paints a black square within a white border. The painting challenged the conventions of the time and stirred controversy on the meaning of art. Three years later Malevich used the colour white to further push boundaries of what constitutes art.
In what seems to be a one-up on Malevich’s Black Square is Ad Reinhardt’s Abstract Painting No. 5 (1962) which is limited in texture and maintains a solid black canvas. Inspired by Malevich, Reinhardt created an entire series on the subject, titled Black Paintings (1954-1967) and claimed the paintings was the last one can paint. His aim as an artist was to eliminate the prettiness of symbolism.
One of the most important photographers of the twentieth century was Henri Cartier-Besson. The French photographer excelled in black and white print photography, capturing his surroundings. His photographs are lauded for being spontaneous and humane. His work in photography helped to establish photojournalism as an artform.
Examples of Black and White Wall Art
Black and white art usually deals with artworks created using photography, however, is not limited to this.
Self-portrait in a Soft Hat Patterned Cloak (1631) by Rembrandt
In 1631, the Dutch artist Rembrandt etched his portrait. It’s an incredibly detailed piece of art that makes it hard to believe it is an etching. Rembrandt depicts the details of his patterned cloak and folds of his soft hat.
Laura by Gabriela Slegrov
Gabriela Slegrova’s black and white photograph Laura is stark. The photograph depicts a woman floating underwater, her dress flowing dreamily. The light source comes from the surface, and breaks through to light the subject. The artist from Cape Town, South Africa specialises in underwater photography.
Sketches for the Medici Chapel by Michelangelo
In our collection of black and white prints, we have a sketch by Michelangelo. Michelangelo was a master painter and sculpture, and his sketches are no less pieces of art. In Sketches for the Medici Chapel, we have an insight into the mind of Michelangelo. The renaissance artist designed the chapel for his patron family, the Medicis.
Is Black and White Arwork a Contemporary Art?
Black and white art prints are not tied down to any movement or time period in art history, so it cant' be classified as a contemporary artform. This is because there have been no number of artists or movements dedicated to the use of the colours black and white. While minimalism does contain many artworks with black and white, the focus of the movement is not the colours themselves.
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