Saturday, November 24, 2012

Modern Classical Ateliers, are we turning out masters?

I for one had celebrated the resurgence of the traditional mode of teaching painting. I am a firm believer in craftsmanship and fine drawing. Much of the traditional skills were lost in the 20th century- which as far as I am concerned is the age of "Pet Rock Art", which was more concerned with grinding out obscene novelties at ever increasing volumes.Actually it seemed to little avail; an article in the New York Times referred to America's contemporary culturati as foodists, more interested in capping tomatoes in nitrogen basil foam  than in cultivating an appreciation for the arts. No wonder the museums have to mount spectacles featuring motorcycles, glad rags from an eccentric English designer and setting out a batty women to stare at you from across the table for days on end. And just to put  the pickle on the sundae, you had to pass between two stark naked people to enter- how louche!

As I am cataloguing these woes, to my chagrin they sometimes actually seem more fun, than the endless parade of the endlessly noodled nudes I see popping up the websites and facebooks of the graduates of these ateliers. I would love- maybe it is still too soon, for some of these fortunate young artists, who have access to this wonderful training to push the boundaries.

Degas and to some extent Manet were atelier trained. Degas took what was needed, fine draughtsmanship and discarded what weighed his art down. His dancers danced.

Manet grew bored with the Couture Atelier and forged his own way.

Cezanne was rejected from every school he applied to, and I think we are he richer for it.

It is becoming clearer to me, that there is no guarantee of greatness and success in art. If ever there was a crap shoot- a life in art is one of them.

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