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Thread: Is art decorative?

  1. #16
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Art, specially modern art is often grotesque, ugly and sometimes even cruel...

    The art of the old masters could be just as brutal at times:


    -Pieter Breughel- The Triumph of Death


    -Dirk Bouts- Disembowling of St. Erasmus


    -Fra Angelico- St. Francis and the Vision of the Crucifixion


    -Matthias Grunwald- The Isenheim Crucifixion


    -Hendrick Goltzius- Dragon Devouring its's Victims


    -Peter Paul Rubens- Le Coup de Lance


    -Peter Paul Rubens- Saturn Devouring his Children


    -Rembrandt- The Blinding of Samson


    -Caravaggio- Judith Beheading Holofernes


    -Rapist Murdering his Victim


    -Gericault- The Raft of the Medusa


    -Gericault- Limbs from the Victims of the Guillotine

    But you feel it hits the mark.

    Sometimes. Quite often contemporary artists employ grotesque imagery as an easy way to grab the attention of jaded wealthy collectors. It often goes by the term, "Shock Art".

    I have a book by Umberto Eco I like very much called On Ugliness a sort of sequel to his History of Beauty. which focuses on the "negative" features of art and their changes in the perspective of art history.

    There is "Shock Art" and then there is the "Sublime" as defined by Edmund Burke in his essay, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. The "sublime" is that which inspires "negative" emotional responses: horror, fear, sadness, etc... but ultimately leads to pleasure as transformed by Art.

    I havenīt reflected much on decoration, but to me it is more fashion bound, while good art leaves a more lasting impression.

    How so?

    This is decorative:


    -Botticelli- Primavera

    as is this...


    -Michelangelo- The Creation of Adam from the Sistine

    and this...


    -illuminated manuscript

    and this...


    -Matisse- Red Interior Still Life

    It also aims to be the expression of the inhabitants of the spaces, whose tastes are not necessarily always highly artistic. In fact they usually are not. For example, someone might want to fill his/her rooms with pictures of flowers because he/she loves flowers without much concern if the pictures are artistic or not.

    Decorative works of art may aim to please patrons. The same is true of illustrative and commercial works of art. But is it any different... in many cases... of works of "fine art"? The "fine artist" is theoretically free to create whatever he or she wishes... but then the audience/patrons are free not to buy art that doesn't meet their desires. While the patron/artist relationship may not be as obvious as it is when a Pope commissions a fresco cycle telling of the life of this or that saint, or when the wealthy aristocrat commissions a portrait of his daughter, or when a manufacturer commissions a poster promoting his product... there still is a realization that the artist must please the gallery directors and the collectors if he/she is going to make any money. I don't think any of the contemporary patrons have inherently better taste than many older patrons. In many instances, their taste is far worse... and far less educated.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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  2. #17
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Yes,these images are terrible, but I think the tendency to shock in art is specially strong today.
    "I don't think any of the contemporary patrons have inherently better taste than many older patrons. In many instances, their taste is far worse... and far less educated." I do agree with you there too. But I think taste is something that is very bound to time and space. For example today we combine pieces of vestuary
    to compound a look, which might me considered awful 20 years ago.
    http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/fashions.html
    http://www.today.com/style/fashion-t...ew-year-t64126
    (Sorry for not pasting the images. I donīt know how to do that here.)
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 05-25-2016 at 11:57 PM.
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  3. #18
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I think the tendency to shock in art is specially strong today.

    This is likely true. In many ways I suspect it is related to the modern/contemporary obsession with being identified as the victim. If we consider the fact that for all the violence of WWI, WWII, Stalin, Mao, etc... violence in the 20th century is but a fraction of what it was in the past...

    https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pin...ce?language=en

    ... while a majority of us have access to improved health care, nutrition, etc... one has to wonder about the fixation upon the ugly and the horrible. One need only consider the world that the Renaissance or baroque artist lived in and was witness to... and yet beauty far outweighed ugliness in their art.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
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  4. #19
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    "In many ways I suspect it is related to the modern/contemporary obsession with being identified as the victim."
    Or a certain cult of the executioners, which might be almost the same.
    Sorry, stluke, this man must be living on the moon.Maybe it is like this in US.
    But in my country:
    improved health care-In my city the public health care system is breaking down because of financial mismanagments.And people are abandoning massively the private health insurances because they are becoming to expensive.
    nutrition-in the last two weeks students occupied the public schools and the council in my city in demand of their school meal after it became public that the money was deviated. You are probably asking yourself why they donīt eat at home.
    Many of their families are very poor and one main aim od their sending their kids to school is to warrant that they become at least one decent meal per day.
    Back to decorative art. In some cities in Brazil we have a tradition of making street carpets for Corpus Cristy. Itīs a Brzilian link but just click on the pictures to enlarge them.
    http://viajeaqui.abril.com.br/materi...hristi-fotos#1
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 05-26-2016 at 08:09 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  5. #20
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Last edited by Danik 2016; 05-26-2016 at 05:11 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  6. #21
    Registered User Iain Sparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    But in my country:
    improved health care-In my city the public health care system is breaking down because of financial mismanagments.And people are abandoning massively the private health insurances because they are becoming to expensive.
    nutrition-in the last two weeks students occupied the public schools and the council in my city in demand of their school meal after it became public that the money was deviated. You are probably asking yourself why they donīt eat at home.
    Many of their families are very poor and one main aim of their sending their kids to school is to warrant that they become at least one decent meal per day.
    Why are they having children they can't afford to feed or take care of properly?

    What country do you live in?.. is it one of those countries that treat women like livestock, where birth control or aborting a pregnancy are unthinkable?

  7. #22
    Registered User North Star's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    I think the tendency to shock in art is specially strong today.

    This is likely true. In many ways I suspect it is related to the modern/contemporary obsession with being identified as the victim. If we consider the fact that for all the violence of WWI, WWII, Stalin, Mao, etc... violence in the 20th century is but a fraction of what it was in the past...

    https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pin...ce?language=en

    ... while a majority of us have access to improved health care, nutrition, etc... one has to wonder about the fixation upon the ugly and the horrible. One need only consider the world that the Renaissance or baroque artist lived in and was witness to... and yet beauty far outweighed ugliness in their art.
    It's all the Romantics' fault, making the sublime and terrifying a popular subject in art, from uninhabitable landscapes to Goya's prints of violence and war. And they had the Napoleonic wars to look back to, of course.

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