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Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Damien Steven Hirst (b. 1965) is an English artist and member of the Young British Artists organization. He first received public attention during his student exhibition of "Freeze" at Goldsmith's College in London. Following the success of this exhibit Hirst became one the most influential artists of the 21st century. His installations and sculptures dominated the UK art scene during the 1990s and many of his pieces are universally recognized. One central theme in his work is death. His work includes animals preserved in formaldehyde after dissection. His most popular work is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. In this exhibit, a 14-ft tiger shark is displayed in a clear case filled with formaldehyde. He also sold The Golden Calf, in which a calf's hooves and horns are adorned in 18 carat gold, for a record 198 million euros. In addition to his dead animal series, he creates "spin paintings" on a spinning circular surface and "spot paintings" consisting of randomly distributed points. He is among the United Kingdom's wealthiest living artists.

French School

Romanticism and Classicism were the two main schools of French art during the mid-nineteenth century. Rather than creating romanticized or heightened visions of nature and idealized beauty, realists focused on depicting images as naturally as possible. Some of these artists conducted drawing studies in an attempt to work out how to accurately depict three-dimensional figures and forms in space. From these studies and experiments emerged a new style that rejected ideal beauty and looked to instead create work that actively engaged participants by limiting any interpretive distortions the artist might add to the work. Rather than “pure” art, for art's sake, these artists also embraced the social components of their work. Artists sought to exemplify the social value of art and everyday themes began dominating their work. Many characters depicted in these paintings and sculptures were everyday citizens working in a multitude of professions: musicians, shepherd boys, women, and peasants were studied and depicted in a variety of media including oil paint, crayon, pencil, and sculptures often in patinated bronze. 

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