1. Degas received some bad press when his works of women were exhibited. He was accused of misogyny! Unfortunately the label stuck. And of course it was a lie. Similarly Manet came in for criticism too. These artists and many others didn’t simply follow the rules of the French Academy! They broke new ground.

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      1. In recent years there seems to have been a return to the values of the academies. Some schools now even claim to employ the methods of the masters which I am dubious about since their ways have long been lost. I’m referring to the craft of painting. To look at the past is good but to try and paint as the old masters is for me anyway something of a lost cause. Times have changed. Materials have changed. Technology across the board has moved on. Your pun about the Imps shedding light in the dark is a good one!

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      2. As you probably have already noticed, I deal very intensively with China and also studied at the Academy in Beijing. The students there receive a very in-depth training in traditional painting techniques too. This is also noticeable in the works that are e.g. abstract. Modern Chinese art has also become correspondingly expensive on the international market. Personally, I too would like to be able to recognize manual skills in works of a modern artist.
        And I think, after a long phase of anything goes, people are looking for skills again.

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  1. Yes, I agree that the period of ‘anything goes’ seems at long last to be moving steadily behind us. Perhaps it will come to be regarded as an art historical curiosity. I studied at art schools in the UK but was taught nothing of methods materials techniques and the suchlike! Traditional art and values were nigh-on scorned. Modernism was all the rage. And then there was peer pressure. The poor student was thus left to his own devices. Sad. I can laugh about it now!

    Amongst other things I am reading about Jules Bastien-lepage who had some success painting modern life subjects rather than the Homeric mythologies demanded by the French Academy. A precursor of the Impressionists. Fascinating stuff!

    Yes, I noticed, looking through your blog, the strong Chinese current flowing through your art. Very different to traditional art in/of the West. Although I believe some American artists, Mark Tobey springs to mind, were influenced by Chinese calligraphy. I myself looked into Chinese art long ago but very superficially.


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