Cycling Art And Contemporary Art

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Cycling art and contemporary art


Cycling art, an art that for many are a series of simple artistic representations and without too much interest, for many others an original, inspiring, mysterious and interesting art. Belonging to classical antiquity have been representations that have served as a source of inspiration of the art of the twentieth century due to the numerous discoveries of primitive art, among which were the sculptures of this civilization.

Cycling art

This art was born in the cycled islands, located in the Aegean Sea, among the third millennium to.C until the second millennium to.C. Little is known about the inhabitants of this civilization as of many other of the nearby islands, being the figures and artistic and artisanal objects the only inherited from said civilization. The crafts carried out mostly with interesting materials such as white marble, these representations being the germ of what we know as "Greek art".

Map of the Cycled Islands

Chronologically, this culture can be divided into three phases or periods:

  • Ancient cycládic, from 3100 to.Cal 2000 a.C
  • Middle Cycling, from 2000 to.C A 1600 A.C
  • Recent cycling, from 1600 to 1050 to.C

Already in the III Millennium to.C, this art stood out for being different from all other artistic representations of the moment because, for the most part, they used marble materials or stone due (especially in terms of marble) to be abundant materials in these islands.

This art stands out for its schematism in its forms as well as its simplicity. Different figures have been found, among which cycladic idols predominate (of which we will deepen), violin figures, figures with musical instruments as well as the drivers of souls known as psychopompo. Do not forget creations such as vessels or glasses which also have simple decorations in some cases;headbands or necklaces made in metals such as gold or silver although they do not have the popularity of the statuettes.

Cycling idols

As we have said in the previous section, cycling idols are perhaps the most remarkable of the art of this ancient civilization. They belong to the ancient cycling period, this being the moment of maximum splendor of art. As for their size, they usually around 30 centimeters, although there is some exception of a meter and a half height. These statuettes had a merely funeral purpose although it is true that there are hypotheses that point to other ends.

Its forms are schematic, simplified but with a perfect development of the form creating softened and sinuous forms lines. These forms managed to make them thanks to tools, usually copper but also with a stone: the emery, material that made use of it to soften the surface. The ways in which the figures were carved used to be triangular, representing organs such as nose, small breasts and pubis, as well as crossed arms limbs, wide shoulders … getting a symmetrical effect. It should be noted that representations have been found in which the statuettes show a bulky belly, referring to pregnancies, supposedly having a mystical purpose to help or favor reproduction between inhabitants of the islands. The legs are represented long and together, sometimes leaving a hole between the thighs sometimes ..

different cycladic idols

As is common, cycling statute evolved towards two different forms of representation: schematic figures as they had been and other figures with more realistic ways. The most schematic representations are those of the first era, also known as "violin form" or "violin box", dated from the 1st century to II to.C (geographically located in the area we have been naming), and on the other hand, perhaps the best known, are the most realistic characteristics being figures with crossed arms. As we can see in the attached images, the term "realistic" is not as we know it, but this word has been awarded to these last statuettes because the limbs and joints, breasts and breasts are already represented in a more marked waynose, hips and belly as well as shoulders and chin, generally representing women.

These figures with female characteristics have made the purposes of the creations rethink, since as we have been saying from the beginning, the figures would have a funeral purpose, however the latter would already have a more mystical purpose, close to fertility, without removing theProtection of dead as well as amulets. Another supported hypothesis is also that they would serve as substitutes for human sacrifices in rituals, but being hypothesis and lack of information, these data will remain as they have been until now: hypothesis.

Female cycling idol

Likewise, we must highlight the discovery of numerous female figures, being specifically interpreted as a representation of the goddess of fertility as well as amulets and with protective functions of the dead;So at the end of these purposes we can make a similarity with the Egyptian amulets, the ushebtis among others which had similar purposes.

As we have said, and it is always importantThe tribe or family. Likewise, all this is difficult to conclude due to the few excavations and light findings found due to the passage of time and the looting suffered.


As we have said, cycling idols and contemporary art may be more related than we think, and for this we have to introduce (even though a roughly) contemporary art to know in full about what we try to.

Therefore, contemporary art is typical of the twentieth century, a century in which a series of numerous avant -garde and new artistic expressions appear, breaking and experimenting with everything that had been managing centuries ago.

Specifically, it begins at the end of the 19th century developing completely in the later century along with a revolution in both the artistic and intellectual field. These changes came from the hand of war conflicts that occurred in that century, such as World War I. This conflict among many others caused nonconformism, anxiety and sadness between artists and intellectuals causing them to show their discomfort before society and life through their creations. This gave rise to what we know in art such as the "isms", different artistic currents that broke with the traditional.

Impressionism and post -impressionism were the "ismos" that gave the gun of exit to contemporary art, and within the most outstanding historical avant -garde we will have: fauvism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism, neoplasticism, dadaism and finally surrealism. But in our case we will focus on Cubism, mainly, as well as all movements that were inspired by this art and primitive art. Among the artists who were most related to primitivism were Henry Moore and Constantin Brancusi among others, but we will focus on personalities because they will help us for the next section to develop.

Henry Moore was a British sculptor of the twentieth century whose most characteristic works are of abstract influence achieving iconic and complex results synthesizing the shape of the characters but making their creations recognizable. His works have numerous influences, especially primitive and classic art, both pre -Columbian era, cultures and Azteca or Maya or even ancient Greek art such as cycling art. Moore had a period of his artistic career in which he made his sculptures directly carving in the stone, leaving imperfections, as if it were an antiquity inhabitant, reflecting his desire to search for the tune and essence of primitive art.

"Lying figure" Henry Moore "Family" Henry Moore

As for Brancusi, perhaps he is the sculptor in which through his works his inspiration in classical cultures is better observed, finding a great resemblance specifically with cycling idols. Romanian by birth, related to great contemporary artist, inspired by many and focusing on the realization of impressionist works, but little happened to begin to opt for simplified forms, abstraction and primitive art as well as prehistory sculpture,African among others.

Union between both arts

After having made these introductions of both cycling art and idols of this culture as well as contemporary art it will be easier for us to start talking about the similarities between the two arts.

And it is that it all began with the discoveries of these sculptures in the 19th century, when they were discovered and began to be collected by travelers to later move to the world of art and collecting. These cycling sculptures were a great influence on the modern world inspiring numerous artists such as Modigliani and their "heads" creations that, as we see in the attached images, inspiration is evident. All artists who influenced these sculptures saw a great charm in this primitive art

."Cabezas" Modigliani

Cycling idols have simple, schematic forms but with a special essence, making us consider how they could perform forms with such a current essence. Do contemporary artists like Brancusi have a retrograde mentality when doing their works? Or is it that the inhabitants of the cycled islands were more advanced in relation to art? Was your mentality similar to that of men and women of the twentieth and twenty -first century? These and more issues are raised when it comes to observing works of idols and works such as "the kiss" of the already appointed Brancusi. In fact, "the kiss" is a clear example of its similarities and how the artists of this avant -garde were greatly inspired by that culture. We see the perfect balance between the forms and the bodies sculpted in a block of rock so rough that it is striking that leads to transmit, similar to cycling idols. As can be seen, they are two human figures that are kissing, highlighting the features that the inhabitants of Cycled stood out in their creations: symmetrical eyes, mouth, arms … essential and minimal features to differentiate what you want to represent;Movements of lines to simulate hair and bodies insinuated.

"Brancusi’s kiss"

Both this sculpture and the figures cited by the third millennium of the island of Cycled, stand out for their realization since they are created by using direct stature;the lack of narrative elements or feelings. In both types of representations, it is difficult to identify the sexuality of the figures, unless characteristic features such as breasts or pubic triangle are presented although this is usually in counted cases, especially in contemporary art, focusing mainly on natural aspects such as volumeor simplicity as well as the mass or texture of the materials.

Contemporary artists who are inspired by primitive art seek so pure and real essence of these past arts: reducing details, giving greater value to the essentials such as volume, rhythm, form, direct size … losing interest in othersMany elements and winning it in the treatment of volumes and identification features as well as direct size.

But why is this decided? Well, speaking in a general way and referring to both parties, perhaps what they seek, apart from the aforementioned, is the faithful representation of the essence, joining the human form with life and the inert form and essence of the materials, minimizing thefeatures to the essential to convey what really matters: the message, the soul and its usefulness (either mystical, funeral or as amulet). Yes, it should be noted that the reason for the representations that contemporaries perform their works may be deeper than what the cycladic did, but that remains in the judgment of each spectator.

Another of the artists who are inspired by primitive art is Picasso, but we will not deepen him because he focused more on African art than in Cycled. Even so, it is worth mentioning a phrase that pronounced about cycling art, because for Picasso, cycling idols were the only vestige that had a time already disappeared. "Sometimes I think," said Malaga – who once there was a small man of cycled … but there is nothing left of his life, or his gods. There is nothing at all except this magical testimony.”₁

Therefore, we can say that both Brancusi, and Picasso, as many other artists who were inspired by primitivism, did so in order to free the sculpture and arts of academic realism that had been brewing since years ago. They wanted to open the doors to the abstract, to the real, to the essential. Therefore, and the latter is of considerable relevance, both African and Aztec primitive sculptures as well as cycling are fundamental figures for sculpture, for creations as well as for the modern thinking of the twentieth and twenty -first century.


At present, those figures that are cycling idols are called "abstract" because they resemble works by Picasso, Matisse or Brancusi and Modigliani, but this is because, nothing more and nothing less, the artists namedThey were inspired by these primitive figures for their avant -garde art. But as we observed, cycling idols in the contemporary era were highly appreciated, not only by artists but by a whole society because it was something so natural and sincere that it had not been observed in the artistic field for years, so, so that, so, so, so, so, so,Thanks to industrialization, it was common for copies to be produced in masses to sell cycling idols such as crafts that would be present in numerous homes.

Finally, we must not forget why avant -garde artists were inspired by these arts from thousands of past years, and it is no less than merely (hypothetically) the sincere way to represent the essentials of an idea, that with somethingminimum can be reached to something maximum and sometimes the past should not be forgotten, because thanks to this we manage to create new things.

In these years, antiquities and collecting fairs and markets have become increasingly popular, so (personally) it is advisable to attend them since it is common to find reproductions or even authentic pieces of works of old art. Sometimes you can see even idols or cycling heads since these are the most appreciated, granted prestige and exclusivity to all those holder of these figures. And it is that its charm and timeless essence is difficult for you not to capture or call attention to contemporary art lovers as well as artists of the present century.

Perhaps these figures that attract us so much were created in this schematic way to minimize the effort or manufacturing processes of these figures, leaving naturalist figures that, without knowing it, would greatly attract attention to the people of the twentieth century, something thatPerhaps it also happened on the islands in the third millennium because industry and commerce was what really moved the economy of the place. And if we compare both sculptures from the third century to.C As from the contemporary world we observe that the progress of knowledge does not interfere in the creation of these works, since its value lies in the beauty and talent of its creators, coupled with the simplicity due in most cases by the rituals.

Finally, we must say that with what we really have to stay is that these millenary sculptures, of which the reasons for their elaboration must imagine it, continue to marvel of people and occupy a great place in the museums after four millennia. 

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