What Is New in "Art Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1111 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Modern Art

Old Wine in New Bottles?

One of the most important precepts of contemporary art is that great art cannot be great unless it is fundamentally innovative. Or at least that is the official word. In fact, a certain amount of incorporation of older ideas is accepted and even expected, perhaps most easily filed under the idea that even the most highly innovative artists are supposed to understand and appreciate what has gone before them.

However, the degree to which any truly great artist (according to contemporary standards) can borrow from or be influenced by other artists is fundamentally limited. This is difficult for those of us who have grown up with art that valorizes what is new. But for many art audiences, art that is based on the idea that the new is always better and always necessary would be a very foreign idea indeed.

But while innovation is vitally important to make the reputation of the modern artist, this was certainly not always the case. Rejecting the past (or at least rejecting all but a few fragments of it) is considered to be a virtue today. But in other artistic traditions (both in other eras in the West as well as in other artistic traditions entirely) innovation is not valued so highly. Indeed, in many artistic traditions innovation can be considered a drawback rather than a virtue, a sign that the artist does not know enough about cultural values and the importance of the past and of ancestors.

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In the Renaissance, for example, innovation was of far less importance. Despite the fact that in many aspects of society the Renaissance saw significant innovation, in the visual arts there was an emphasis on the recreation of the past. The Renaissance was indeed more of a "rebirth" than a "birth." Renaissance painters and sculptors turned their back to their present and tried to recreate the world of the classical artists. They wished to find a path back to a world that they considered to be a better place, with values and aesthetics that were of higher quality than their own world.

Term Paper on What Is New in "Art"? Assignment

Renaissance artists incorporated the techniques and perspectives (both literal and more general) of the artists who had done their own work hundreds of years before. The Renaissance artists recreated the past in terms of subject and values: Their attitude toward the past was positive, even reverential. They created work without censure of the past or any feelings of irony. This was probably the last period of art (and other aspects of culture) in which this would be possible.

Mannerism, a relatively widespread style of the sixteenth century, lacked a core of innovation that was entirely different from that of the neo-classicism of the early Renaissance. Artists of the early Renaissance were inspired by what they saw as the purity, even the perfection, of the classical world. They felt elevated and inspired by what had been accomplished by the Greeks and Romans and by seeking to follow in the steps of their predecessors, they sought to recreate the world's greatest art.

Mannerist artists, on the other hand, were not similarly inspired. Renaissance artists saw their inspiration by the past in almost religious terms. To them, connecting with the classical world was comparable to a religious calling and experience. Mannerist artists were not inspired in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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