The A in STEAM – Artisitic expression as a result of Imagination or Nature?
Note: This post is a supplemental resource from a recent professional development session for educators.
Does Artistic Expression Emanate from Imagination or Nature?
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a French Post-Impressionist artist, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, and writer. As a friend and colleague with fellow artist Vincent Van Gogh, in 1888 the two artists parted company after a conceptual argument that could not be resolved. Gauguin argued it was important in artistic expression to work from imagination, while Van Gogh maintained paintings should be based on nature.
Imagination versus realism remains a distinguishing topic of discussion today.
What is your opinion? Personally, would you tend to agree with Gauguin’s viewpoint or Van Gogh’s viewpoint? As an educator working with students does your view change on whether art is based on imagination or nature?
Have there been instances in your professional practice in which you have had conceptual disagreements with colleagues?
In 1891, Gauguin and his wife, artist Mette-Sophie Gad moved from France to Tahiti. Among his works created in Tahiti was a three-paneled work of Symbolism called “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” Painted during a period of poverty, obscurity, and intense grieving over the death of his daughter, Gauguin’s work asks questions that are universal.
Image Source: KazoArt
Gauguin’s work featured artistic experiments in Synesthesia. According to Wikipedia, “Synesthesia has historically referred to a wide variety of artists’ experiments that have explored the co-operation of the senses in the genres of visual music, music visualization, audiovisual art, abstract film, and intermedia.”
Bouye, L. (2021). Gauguin and Van Gogh, an explosive friendship. KAZoART. https://www.kazoart.com/blog/en/gauguin-and-van-gogh-an-explosive-friendship/#:~:text=But%20it%20was%20above%20all,should%20be%20based%20on%20nature
Synesthesia in art. (2022, August). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia_in_art