In Classical Painting Atelier the assertion is made that “Classical” painting is based on Knowledge, Logic and Order. Consider the alternative. Art based on ignorance, irrationality and chaos. And that is exactly what has occurred. This is not to imply that art based on either proposition is superior to the other,it is just that the two worldviews may be incompatible.
The human form graced the historical,religious, political narratives that dominated art from the Greeks to the C19.. Landscape,still life were “lesser’art forms. Aristedes suggests this derives from the religious assertion that God created man in His image.Kenneth Clark says the Greeks turned Gods into men, and we turn men into gods.
The destruction of the human form represents a loss of faith ,and the dissembling of the old order was paralleled by the demise of the Atelier.
Robert Newton in “The Visual Language of Painting” notes Aristedes’ revivalist tone, and suggests that a return to traditional realist art can never return in the forms it has taken in the past.
Now I want to draw attention to the fact that we have two issues that are constantly getting tangled.
The first issue is the “revival or survival or archival” of realist art. Here we are faced with the art market, its dealers ,critics,curators,investors and vested interests.
The second issue is related, but not the same.This is the debate over the curriculum of the “art factories” and there I include Fine Arts faculties and departments in tertiary institutions; and the private Ateliers that have mushroomed.
If the Ateliers produce highly skilled technical art devoid of contemporary relevance and alienated from modern values and experience, and if Fine Arts faculties produce pieces reeking of contemporary relevance and displaying a conspicuous lack of skill, then surely it is time to dialogue.
What would the curiculum of a 3 year full time degree look like if we tried for the best of both worlds? Lets rethink the whole thing.