AP Art History : Analyzing twentieth- and twenty-first-century 2D art

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Pablo Picasso took direct inspiration from all of the following artists EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

Henri Matisse

Wassily Kandinsky

El Greco

Diego Velázquez

Correct answer:

Wassily Kandinsky

Explanation:

Pablo Picasso emerged in the early years of the the twentieth century from Spain being clearly influenced by his Spanish antecedents Diego Velázquez, El Greco, and Francisco de Goya. When he moved to Paris in 1901, he began to be influenced, and helped shape the careers of, fellow artists like Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. After the 1930s, however, while Picasso himself was massively influential, he began to retreat into his own style and missed out on innovations by painters like Wassily Kandinsky.

Example Question #2 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Tableau_i__by_piet_mondriaan

The above work of art is a representative of the movement known as __________.

Possible Answers:

Bauhaus

Impressionism

Surrealism

De Stijl

Correct answer:

De Stijl

Explanation:

The De Stijl movement grew out of the work of a select group of Dutch modernists in the 1890s, who all focused on basic shapes and form over function in design. Piet Mondrian, whose Tableau I is displayed here, was the foremost painter of the De Stijl movement. Mondrian's chief visual markers—primary colors, simple geometric forms, and thick black lines—are all hallmarks of the De Stijl movement more generally.

Image: Tableau I by Piet Mondrian (1921)

Example Question #3 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Tableau_i__by_piet_mondriaan

The artist of the above work was hugely influential to __________.

Possible Answers:

Abstract Expressionism

Neorealism

Surrealism

Pop Art

Correct answer:

Abstract Expressionism

Explanation:

Mondrian's use of geometric shapes and simple lines gave him the opportunity to create abstract art that nonetheless borrowed from familiar forms. The abstract expressionists, who flourished in the two decades after World War II in New York City, similarly used bold expressions of color and shapes to create abstract forms. Many of the abstract expressionists, most notably Mark Rothko, similarly used large blocks of color on sizable canvasses.

Image: Tableau I by Piet Mondrian (1921)

Example Question #4 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Tableau_i__by_piet_mondriaan

The artistic style belonging to this artist is distinguished by all of the following EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

wide use of abstract shapes

thick black lines running across the canvas

wide use of primary colors

wide use of squares and rectangles

Correct answer:

wide use of abstract shapes

Explanation:

While Piet Mondrian, the creator of this painting, is well known as an abstract artist, he actually used essentially no abstract shapes in his paintings. Instead, Mondrian placed together thick black lines to create geometrical patterns, almost entirely in squares and rectangles, and then used large blocks of primary colors to create different images.

Image: Tableau I by Piet Mondrian (1921)

Example Question #5 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

210px-juan_gris_-_portrait_of_pablo_picasso_-_google_art_project

This painting was highly influenced by __________.

Possible Answers:

the Christian religion

advanced mathematics

scientific discoveries

classic literature

Correct answer:

advanced mathematics

Explanation:

As an example of cubism, this painting deeply engages with various forms of advanced mathematics, especially geometry. Cubism broke down forms to various geometric shapes, and rendered them in crystalline forms based on those shapes. Cubism could be taken to different lengths; certain works may have a difficult underlying shape to discern, but Gris' Portrait of Pablo Picasso surrounds a rather conventional human form with geometric shapes.

Figure: Portrait of Pablo Picasso by Juan Gris (1912)

Example Question #6 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Which of the following best describes the purpose of Picasso's Guernica?

Possible Answers:

A reflection on the purpose of war

A reaction to industrialization

An exploration of human relationships

A response to Fascist violence during the Spanish civil war

Correct answer:

A response to Fascist violence during the Spanish civil war

Explanation:

Pablo Picasso's Guernica (1937) was painted in response to the Fascist bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The black-and-white cubist painting uses animal imagery to denote brutality and darkness, as well as a women with a torch to symbolize freedom.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

All of the following statements are true of Henri Matisse's Red Room (Harmony in Red) except ___________.

Possible Answers:

this painting demonstrates the fauvist tendency to use mixed, muted colors to convey meaning, rather than pure, intense hues

as a development of fauvism, color here is utilized as the formal element most responsible for pictorial coherence and is the primary conveyor of meaning

the rich contrasting colors here give this simple scene much of its emotional intensity

the objects are depicted in a simplified and schematized fashion with flattened-out forms

this painting testifies to the Fauve movement's interest in color's structural, expressive, and aesthetic capabilities

Correct answer:

this painting demonstrates the fauvist tendency to use mixed, muted colors to convey meaning, rather than pure, intense hues

Explanation:

Henri Matisse and the Fauve movement where primarily interested in intense, unadulterated color as a formal element to convey meaning. The colors in this painting imbue it with deep emotional intensity.

Example Question #8 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Kirchner   selbstbildnis als soldat

Which conflict most inspired the work shown here?

Possible Answers:

World War I

World War II

Franco-Prussian War

Napoleonic Wars

Correct answer:

World War I

Explanation:

Self-Portrait as a Soldier was painted in 1915, just after the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner had volunteered for service in World War I and quickly been discharged for mental health reasons. The alienation and detachment is shown by the off color in the main subject's skin tone and his missing hand, while his pride of being a soldier is evident in the prominence of the military uniform. With the general abstractness and surreality of the expressionists present before World War I, the horrors and frustrations of the conflict made post-war expressionism much darker in both color and subject.

Image is in the public domain, accessed through Wikipedia Media Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kirchner_-_Selbstbildnis_als_Soldat.jpg

Example Question #9 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Piet Mondrian's Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow from 1930 represents the artist's style by featuring ___________________.

Possible Answers:

large blocks of the primary colors

wide use of natural light elements

obvious brushstrokes in bright colors

abstract representations of natural figures

Correct answer:

large blocks of the primary colors

Explanation:

Piet Mondrian was a part of the Dutch artistic movement known as De Stijl, Dutch for simply "The Style," a group of painters working before the First World War who attempted to distill art to its basic elements. Between the World Wars, Mondrian pushed ahead with similar work in Paris he termed "Neoplasticism." Mondrian's hallmarks from this period were thick black horizontal and vertical lines across a white canvas, while inside some of the resultant rectangular shapes were large blocks of primary colors.

Example Question #10 : Twentieth And Twenty First Century 2 D Art

Georges Braque used stencilled letters in this work in order to __________________.

Possible Answers:

underscore the tie to realistic representation in the overall work

label his work with the piece's title

force the viewer to see the work outside of representational terms

draw a contrast to the strong imagery in the rest of the work

Correct answer:

force the viewer to see the work outside of representational terms

Explanation:

The letters “D BAL” are stenciled in the upper right corner of Portuguese, placed there by Georges Braque seemingly separately from the rest of the painting. As a cubist artist, Braque’s intention was to deconstruct the very concept of representation and clear imagery and present art in a new manner. Including the stencilled letters further reinforces the way in which the work of art intentionally separates itself from the traditional expectations of painting.

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