For most people, it is an attractive decor. For certain people, it’s a source of an extremely valuable message. For some, it’s their indecisive memories. For a few, it’s just a medium to boast about their money, but for the masses, it became their support, spirit, power, and voice to win their rights during the freedom struggle around the globe. Today we will discuss the greatest contribution of art and literature that had a major role to gather people and give them the path to freedom. The nations were different, the time was contrasting, the people were unrelated, the reason was unique but the effect was the same.

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Mexico murals – Artistic movement

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Democracy demands wisdom. A true cultural revolution begins in Mexico. The armed revolution has ended but it has let loose a host of forces and energies that the intellectual of the time will absorb. The artists are involved in a new reality, a social and revolutionary movement. Their work does not remain on the canvas, it goes much further than that. They try to envision a different reality. These theme also reflect a new Mexican identity, a different national identity. It is a constant search for Mexican roots for their origin. This new Mexican identity is reflected in the creation of public art. Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Siqueiros, Silvestre Revueltas and others, begin to paint murals where the history of Mexico is reconstructed. They rescue the popular characters of the revolution and for the first time they have a pictorial movement focused on the landscape and daily life of Mexican people both at the country side as well as city.

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These murals also have an educational purpose because at this time a large percentage of Mexican population doesn’t know how to read and write. Therefore their access to Mexican reality is more attainable through paintings. Upon seeing themselves reflected in murals, the people began to believe in themselves. It’s not that all the peasants in Mexico came to see the murals, it was that they sensed a respect for them that they had never felt before and it encouraged them, it nurtured them. There is a cultural renaissance that is primarily expressed in painting. It’s also expressed in literature, in what is known as the literature of Mexican revolution.

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The contribution of Art in France’s Independence

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If we go back in time around the late 17th and 18th centuries, we can witness the French revolution. Even during this era art played a major role in shaping the revolution and paving a proper direction. Artist like Frédéric Sorrieu, Karl Kasper, Delacroix, and many more lend their hand in the freedom struggle.

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Frédéric Sorrieu’s painting portrayed men and women of all ages and social classes giving the idea of becoming united for the cause. His works visualized a dream of a world made of democratic and social republic country.

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Delacroix was one of the most important French Romantic Painters who dramatized the incidents and focused on expressing the sufferings of women and children. He sought to appeal to the emotions of spectators and created sympathy for the sufferers. Instead of reason and science, he focused more on emotions and mystical feelings. These efforts fabricated a sense of collective heritage and developed a common cultural past for the basis of the nation.

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Jacques-Louis David, a brilliant Paris born artist also played a pivotal role during the revolution, his brilliance in using classical anecdotes, imagery, and paintings was a catalyst for enlightening political values. His paintings have insinuations of martyrdom, divinity, and redolent of crucifixion scenes,

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Artist of this era personified Liberty which could be recognized with the torch of enlightenment she bears in one hand and the Charter of the Rights of Man in the other.

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Even France had her allegorical figure and she was christened as Marianne, which underlined the idea of a people’s nation. The characteristics of this figure were drawn from those of liberty, as she was manifested with the red cap, the tricolour, and the cockade. Her statues were erected in public squares to remind the public of the national symbol of unity and to coax them to identify it. Even her images were marked on coins and stamps.

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Bharat Mata (Mother India) the allegorical deity

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Most of us are aware of the allegorical figure, which is the personification of India. The Bharat Mata. It was an image created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and was presented in his book Anand Math. Later this spiritual and divine allegorical figure was emulsified by well know and established artists like Abanindranath Tagore, Ravi Verma, and many others. Each of them developed a different personality of Bharat Mata. Some of them portrayed her as calm, composed, as an ascetic figure while some as the symbol of power and authority. But it all reached the same culmination which evoked the emotion of elite classes and raised sentiments amongst the nationalist and poor people, it spread the feeling of oneness amongst the people of India to unite and fight free hand against one common enemy.

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Impact On The Indian Society

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What these artists did was, picturized the present scenario of the society on their canvas. They expressed in their illustrations how the people were oppressed by the Britishers. How they had encountered the injustice practices of these foreigners. They portrayed the brutalities of the British army on the common men. All these art pieces sparked nationalistic feelings. These feelings evoked the emotions of people to step forward and rise to be a part of the revolt against the Britishers.

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The use of art also jumped the barriers of different vernacular culture as it expressed the feeling and not words. Between all this, the participation of women was also encouraged through the art as they were portrayed as strong characters that stood up in the revolt. All this promoted women to step forward and contribute to the freedom movement.

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Even Germany Had her Allegory

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Germania became the allegory of the German nation, she was decorated with a crown of oak leaves as it represented heroism, she was a symbol of strength, readiness, and willingness to make peace which was represented by the Eagle Breastplate and a sword with olive branch around it.

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During this era, world also witnessed the print revolution. And this assisted in spreading awareness amongst the people, but this faced a simple and small issue of different vernacular culture across the whole globe. But this concern was sorted out by a simple idea of integrating print with art. Through this, a large quantity of the same art piece was published throughout the nation. Language could be different but the condition of people was the same, therefore they could easily relate the feeling and expression. This even gave them the news about the situation of revolt throughout the country and inspired them to unite.

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Art and civil rights movement in the USA

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This decade long struggle of Black American lives in the memory of the citizens largely through news, songs, and speeches. However, the art of this freedom struggle was long-neglected but there is a significant amount of American art that was inspired through this movement for black equality. This movement was a struggle for social justice for Blacks to procure equal rights, end discrimination, and abolish slavery.

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The iconic Illustration “New Kids in the Neighbourhood” and “The Problem We All Live With” a highly applauded work of Norman Rockwell depicted the situation of the black child during the movement. “Lawdy Mama” perhaps the most remarkable work of Barkley L Hendricks highlights and shows that black can be as beautiful as others are. Many other artworks described the situation of America and made people perceive the torture the blacks faced.

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Such artworks gained the sympathy of the whites and highlighted a shared heritage and authentic connection between them. It even influenced them to realize the unjust the blacks were facing, helping the blacks to gain support and win their rights.

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Romanticism

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It was a cultural movement that endeavored to develop nationalist sentiments. Romantic artists such as the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder realized that the true German culture could be only discovered among the common people.

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The true spirit of the nation was disseminated through folk songs, folk poetry, and folk dances. These romantic artists accumulated and congregated these forms of culture and embodied them in paintings and sketches. All this was not done just to impart the ancient national spirit, but also to emphasize the modern nationalist message and continue the feeling of exuberance to the large throng which was mostly illiterate.

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The language also played a crucial role in the movement as a consequence of which Vernacular language was given much prominence. This phenomenon especially took place in Poland which was left partite by the great powers, Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Even though this country didn’t exist as an independent territory the national feelings and spirit were kept ignited through the music, art, and language.

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After Russia acquired Poland, the Russian language was promulgated everywhere and the use of polish was annihilated through schools and offices. The Russian authorities incarcerated everyone who refused to use the Russian language. As the result, Poland started using the language as a whip hand of national resistance.

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Karol Kurpinski (an artist) acclaimed the national struggle through his music and operas, transmuting folk dance like mazurka and polonaise into a dynamic weapon and to elicit nationalist feelings.

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This draws that even it seems irrelevant to the freedom struggle, art has the power to change the whole perspective of the situation and play a major role in communicating emotions and sentiments.

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