Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The renaissance and baroque periods, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velasquez, are generally considered to be the height of oil painting. Later periods, in attempts to paint better, made rules and formulas, and became more and more rigid. By the 19th century these rules became dogma, inflexible and inviolable. Manet and Van Gogh didn't fit the mold, their paintings were unacceptable. The reaction against this, of course, was the modern era. Now there is a reaction against the modern era and a return to the ways of the 19th century. But why do contemporary artists want to go back to the rigid ways that brought on the modern period in the first place? Yes, Ingres and Bouguereau did magnificent work in the academic tradition, but Monet and Whistler did extraordinary paintings as well. But why stop there, why not look back farther, before formulas and correctness, loosen the screws, allow artists to draw and paint freely? How about Carravagio, Tintoretto and Pontormo, Hals, Leyster and Brouwer.....


jeff f said...

Interesting points and a fascinating subject.

I think that training offered by the French Academy of the 19th century did produce some great artist. The training was very rigorous and rigid as you noted but it seems to me that the painters who produced great work are the ones who were able to get away from the training and to find their own voice. Sargent and Whistler are good examples.

Whistler was mentioned and I would add Sargent and Chase. Chase of course studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

It's interesting to note that Frank Vincent DuMond studied with Jules-Joseph Lefebvre as did almost every major American painter from this period.

There is some evidence that the model for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts came from the 17th century and Italy from the Northern Italian city of Bologna by brothers Agostino and Anibale Carracci with their cousin Ludovico, it was called the Academia dei Desidorosi,

I think some combination of both is a good way to study. However spending half a year on a plaster cast seems to me to be counter productive.

Celeste Bergin said...

whatever thought process produced this portrait...I approve. Just exceptional!