DE STIJL vs. RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIVISM

De Stijl was a Dutch movement in 1917 that focused on form and color and returning to a pure, basic, and fundamental form of art. For the most part, De Stijl art used the primary colors, black and white, and straight lines. It was a search for idealistic art in which perspective and representation were removed. Big artist of De Stijl are Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Ilya Bolotowsky. The first two artists are included in this gallery. De Stijl had a large influence on architecture and helped start the International Style. Russian Constructivism started in 1914 and it "replaced composition with construction (The Art Story)." Basically, Russian Constructivism focused much less on aesthetic beauty and focused more on the functional representation of a work. It was art that abstractly represented the hope of a "new construction" of Russia. Constructivists believed that materials should be used "in such a way that demonstrated the uses to which they could be put (The Art Story)." Popular constructivist artist include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, and Vladimir Tatlin, two of which are in this gallery. It's interesting because, although both movements are taking different routes of what they want to express and portray, they end up using similar materials to create the effect. Both use geometric shapes and lines consistently and rely on abstraction to make their point. 

This particular piece could be considered the perfect model of De Stijl. It uses only primary colors and black and white. It also has only horizontal and vertical lines. The structure of the piece suggests precision and order. Hence, this piece represents well the search for a utopia in art without the use of perspective and representation. When looking at the piece there is no distraction from the form or the color because that is all there is to look at.
The second piece by Mondrian also embodies De Stijl well. It is similar to his first piece with the focus on primary colors, black and white, and also with the emphasis on lines and form. However, this piece varies from Mondrian's first piece slightly. In this work, he has introduced diagonal lines which makes the work more dynamic and slightly less concentrated on color and form than before. Yet, it is still quite obvious that the main factors are geometric shapes and primary colors which leads to an organized, disciplined art work.
Yet again, the use of primary colors, black and white, and geometric shapes and lines is evident in van Doesburg's piece. However he introduces much more variation than Mondrian. First, he has different shades of the primary colors whereas Mondrian had one hue. Also, van Doesburg includes green, gray, and tan as well. Like Mondrian's second work, van Doesburg includes diagonal lines, but he also includes many more rectangles than Mondrian. Hence, due to the geometric shapes and colors it is still organized, but it has less unity than Mondrian's due to the many different "sections" of the work that compete for attention. Still, it contains the basic principles of De Stijl artwork.
The use of primary colors, black and white, rectangles, and lines is seen in this piece by van Doesburg. Yet, once again the addition of other colors such as green and gray are evident. It is interesting to note that only one rectangle is the color red, while the others are orange. In comparison with the work of Mondrian, this work is much busier, even in light of van Doesburg's previous work we saw. This particular piece has differing angles and directions that are split up in different sections. Out of all the De Stijl pieces, this one is the most complex representation of the color and form due to the variation in saturation, direction, and large number of different shapes.
As mentioned in the opening, Russian Constructivism focused on rebuilding Russia after World War I. Constructivism artwork focused on the industrial aspect of life, and rejected portraying aesthetics. This is clearly seen in Proun by Lissitzky. There is no color, and the piece suggests an outline to some sort of building, bridge, or other industrial structure. Whereas De Stijl lacked perspective and depth, Lissitzky introduces both in this piece, portraying a more functional side of the piece. It has a solid composition because everything is interlocked and working together which could suggest the rebuilding of Russia.
This second work by Lissitzky is very similar to the first. It also has no color. Although it is more difficult to see some sort of industrial structure within this piece, it is still quite obvious that it rejects the idea of aesthetic beauty in art and includes a more functional viewpoint. This is seen, once again in its interwoven parts, which seem interdependent on one another. If one of the small vertical lines were to be removed, it seems as if the square structure would be lacking support. Thus, it portrays the functional aspect of things.
This last piece on Russian Constructivism by Malevich has many similarities to Lissitzky. However there are a few differences. First, this work lacks depth in comparison to Lissitzky. Second, Malevich adds color, which allows the piece to wander slightly into aesthetic beauty, although it still keeps its functional purpose. The purpose of this work is clearly stated in the title, "House under construction." Again, the theme of rebuilding comes into play as well as the interdependence of pieces. The geometric shapes and lines remain as well.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile