A Comparative Essay of Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 and Mark Rothko’s Untitled, 1969

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The art of the twentieth century is art of newness and exploration. The art of these times is a historical commentary on the world’s shift from the traditional to the modern, from the classical to the contemporary. Specifically, the art of the mid-twentieth century was about exploring new ways in which to utilize paints and mediums, it was about pushing the boundaries of our perceptions of what art was and is, and forever will be. New concepts of composition arose, abandoning the usual ideas of depth and space as seen in nature, artists in these influential years began experimenting with a more two dimensional approach, creating depth not through scale and shading, but rather through colors and shapes. However, these artist’s works were far from flat as they challenged the traditionalist’s creation of three dimensions through representation by instead evoking both depth and mood through non-representation. These artists were continuously experimenting with the effects of non-representational paint application. By rejecting the traditional, which was created through observation, and rather finding inspiration by embracing the emotional, the primal, and the inherent subconscious of man, these important artists redefined what art and expression were and are, and opened massively influential doors enabling the evolution of art to proceed in new, bold, and boundless ways. Two of these revolutionary artists were Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and Mark Rothko (1903-1970). These painters were considered by observers to be a part of the New York School of artists who, in the mid-twentieth century, were severely challenging the foundations of the art world. Both Jackson and Rothko were known for their progressive and individual styles, which, on the surface can seem completely unrelated, however, when looked upon with an academic and artistic mindset, share profound

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