Sunday, September 2, 2007

Supporting "Real" Art

A friend recently referred me to an online article about research into some of DaVinci's painting techniques. He is aware of my interest in Renaissance artists and thought I would enjoy the article. When I wrote my thank you note for sending the article, I found myself writing my thoughts about our current place in art history. I think I learned a little about myself when I wrote this. I had never quite organized my thoughts about contemporary art in this way. I'll share them with you and invite your feedback about your own opinions regarding "modern art".

I'll begin by posting a link to the original article about DaVinci.
(This picture attributed to Reuters news service)

Here are my thoughts after reading the article:

"Its interesting that so many artists that have become the most appreciated
painted in this layering, canvas-mixing technique. Another artist (a favorite of
mine) that painted in a similar technique was American illustrator Maxfield
Parrish. He painted with only one pure pigment on each layer without mixing them on the palette. He allowed the combined transparent colors to modulate the reflected light to create his images. (Here's an online essay that explains how he did it "Maxfield Parrish")

Pure pigments create brilliant, intense images. Paintings created in this fashion appear to glow even in minimal lighting. Mixed colors get dull and neutralized in their intensity. This amateurish mixing of incompatible colors on the palette is one reason that modern artwork is missing the brilliance of the old works. Working in this style was an important
technique to master back in the days before modern chemistry made lots of subtle colors available through commercial oil paints. The Modernist movement of the early 20th century almost destroyed/supplanted artists that knew how to do this. So, now we're having to do scientific investigations of these old paintings in order to learn how these old masters got the results they did. There's a great website called Art Renewal International that supports the efforts of artists that are trying to maintain the legacy of legitimate art history. It supports artists that use traditional established techniques and methods rather than painters who gain attention just through sheer sensationalism. I'm including a link to the ARC website. Its very informative."

Art Renewal