A 15TH CENTURY PAINTING IS A DEPOSIT

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A 15TH CENTURY PAINTING IS A DEPOSIT OF A SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP ? IS THIS TRUE OF ALL WORKS OF ART Essay, Research Paper PATRONAGE ? 15th century artists commissioned by the elites to paint chapels etc (e.g. St. Peter?s chapel) ? usually given specific subject, although given free reign occasionally.? Some paid per figure on the canvas. ? Implication: art influenced by patron?s desire, needs, wealth, status as well as the artist?s talents and creativity ? Thus ? see the art work as a deposit of the social relationship between artist and patron. GOVERNMENT PATRONAGE ? This form of patronage not necessarily financially based relationship.? In Russia, Germany, lesser extent Italy, during WW2 artists heavily commissioned, but independent artists whose work digressed from regime

needs / desires / ideology were imprisoned, exiled or killed ? More explicit way of patronage ? Nazis created a dual exhibition of art work ? one full of degenerate art ? associated with Jews, homosexuals etc. Images of Jews and infiltrated by real pictures of deformity ? other gallery ? imperial, Nazi ideal art.? Blatant yet extremely powerful for the public and especially the artists. ? In Italy an art competition was won by the inspiringly titled ?Listening to a speech by Il Duce on the Radio? (not included on handout) ? Cultural revolutions ? way of cleansing enemies at home ? again highlights power of art ? Example: sculptor George Kolbe ? 1930 picture: mobility, dynamism to balance to pose and stability ? reflecting Nazi preoccupation pure human form.? Intended as a

juxtaposition against degenerate art ? art of Jews, the weak.? The art hated by the working class and conservative bourgeoisie. ? Above sculptures do not reflect a social relationship; rather change in style reflects the social relationship between artist and patron (government).? The relationship is one of subservience and rule over creativity. ? Nazis use degenerate art to channel aggression from troubles of real situation (great depression, economic dislocation) toward individuals and groups perceived as agents of political and social evils ? enemy not art itself but human being that it seemed to embody.? Aesthetic backing to unequivocally value based judgments. ? We see art as influencing social relationships ? more explicit form is Stalin?s portraits.? Both portraits show

Stalin with Lenin in the background.? Early on in career Stalin trying to be seen as the inheritor of Lenin?s legacy. ? Socialist realism ? continual bombardment of images of workers, normal people ? clearly ideological and based on desired social relationships ? deposits and reflection of social relationships. AUTONOMOUS ART ? PHILOSOPHY ? Rousseau: ?The sciences, letters and arts ? wind garlands of flowers around the iron chains that bind (the people) and stifle in them the feeling of that original liberty for which they seemed to have been born – makes them love their slavery and turn them into what are called civilized people? ? Rousseau ? art under despotism reflected and reinforced immoral power of the state ? Implies need for autonomous art ? link to Willi Baumeister

?art has progressed along the path from dependence to independence, from the commission which is given to personal responsibility.? The free autonomous artist receives his commission from himself? ? So, does autonomous art show a social relationship?? Not a traditional concept of patronage, what about the market, and can it be said that a painting without enforced patronage highlights a lack of Nazi or Soviet type social relationship? CONCLUSIONS ? Patronage: enforced, financial, government based ? social relationship pressurizing artist into his works ? does not lessen value of the art, but must be seen from different perspective ? Reinforcement of power of the image ? Autonomous art free of a deposit of a social relationship ? but is this possible?