The essay "Classical Mythology in Abstract Expressionism" investigates classical mythology influence on abstract expressionism. The influences of depicting Classical Mythology begin with the thematic work that is accepted with both Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists during both time frames. The main ideology is based on creating the universal theme of humanism that is a part of every experience. The modern artwork depicts this by taking the mythology and relating it to the human experience by representing the mythology from a different perspective. The ideology was to take the idea of humanism and to create a modern approach to the myths that would combine the poetic expression of the artwork and the humanistic ideologies related to the myths. Instead of the stories representing the ancient and mysterious, both artistic movements created a sense of duality with the mythology. This was dependent on the mysterious and the human that combined together to create a sense of poetic meaning with the artwork. By doing this, artists were able to create a sense of meaning through the subject matter which could be depicted in modern society. The importance of the humanistic approach was not only to express the universal themes of duality between human nature and the myths. This was furthered with the time frame in which the artists were developing the portraits in. Many that were depicting the artwork focused on the social and political agenda of the time, specifically with the movement into modernism. The social and political approach was one which consisted of conflicts in society, stress which many were under because of political agendas and change that was continuously moving forward during this time frame. The themes were based on the tension of those who were living with the humanistic side, as opposed to the political and social agendas based on status, violence and struggle. Depicting these themes became an important aspect of the work in both time frames, specifically because of influences of war, political leaders and social change that continued to move forward through contemporary events and ideas which followed (Bernstock, 1993: 153). An example of the artwork that showed the humanistic side and the social and political stresses came through works such as Andre Masson and Jacques Lipchitz (see Appendix A). The work of Andre Masson, Myth of Sisyphus, shows the French Surrealist viewpoint of conflict and humanism during the time. The myth is depicted by a boulder being rolled up a hill, only to continue to roll back down. This is followed in Greek mythology by a king who moves into power but doesn’t follow through with wisdom, instead ruthlessly killing thousands and betraying the gods. The influence of the 1930s was one which was created through the political agendas leading to war as well as the philosophical belief that there wasn’t meaning behind this. When looking at the painting of Masson, it is able to follow the myth of the ruthless actions and the boulder only going back down the hill. Masson does this by making the boulders appear out of place and time, each which carries the same myth as is depicted in the Greek legends. By doing this, Masson is able to create a link to the political leaders of the myth that deceive the gods to the present day, in which the same
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