Laura Conley on fri 12 jun 98
On a related topic, once we have a definition of art...
What words does one use to distinguish modern art from classical art?
To me there is a different ratio of technique and concept - modern tends to
focus more on the conceptual issues and less on the technical ones, compared to
classical (I'm not saying there was less of an emphasis on concept with
classical, only that there seems to be less relative to emphasis on technique).
But this is only my generalization. Is there a formal definition? Other
Lorca Beebe on sun 14 jun 98
Laura et al:
At the risk of busting your chops, may I ask what are you reffering to when
you use the term "classical" do you mean Rennaisance, Baroque, Neo-Classical,
Rococco, Pre-Raphelites, Hudson River Valley School, Impressionist, Norman
One has to look at the times when the art is made, what ethics if any where in
effect, philosophies of aesthetics, etc.
Modernity has roots in "middle class" value system of , the 19th century,
which evolved from centuries of philosophical debates, frivoulous stuff you
know like Truth and truth and the rights of the individual in a "civilized"
Castro's famous slogan "History will absolve me"
Dan Wilson on mon 15 jun 98
I like to think of the difference between Classical and Modern art in terms
of the evolution of synthetic space. While Classical Art generally refers
to the art that came out of the re-discovery of ancient Greek art it is
based on a naturalistic portrayal of space and the objects therin. The
development of one-point perspective during the Renaissance is the model.
As we move closer in time to the present we find that this space changes
becoming ever more shallow and eventualy, real or concrete. The result is
that painting in the Classical or naturalistic sense became like sculpture.
Its elements, line, shape and color having been dispersed in the concrete
spatial and temporal continuium. Of course you understand this is only my
opinion based on my understanding and may not be accurate.
Vince Pitelka on mon 15 jun 98
>On a related topic, once we have a definition of art...
>What words does one use to distinguish modern art from classical art?
>To me there is a different ratio of technique and concept - modern tends to
>focus more on the conceptual issues and less on the technical ones, compared to
>classical (I'm not saying there was less of an emphasis on concept with
>classical, only that there seems to be less relative to emphasis on technique).
>But this is only my generalization. Is there a formal definition? Other
There are of course the obvious words, phrases, and parameters used to
distinguish between modern and classical art, but they become rather
arbitrary, because the difference represents a continuum rather than a
specific change or contrast. In every age there has been art which took
risks and suffered harsh criticism from the patrons or the public, but was
later recognized as important. Certainly in today's art world there is a
much higher percentage of art which pushes the envelope, often taking risks
for the sake of risk-taking, with little or no significant content. Much
art today is primarily conceptual, and there is often the illusion of poor
craftsmanship (and sometimes there IS poor craftsmanship), but the best art
of all ages comes from a combination of things, including but not restricted to:
Technical fluency in the media,
A sense of craftsmanship in the manipulation of the media,
Awareness of historical and contemporary precedent,
A strong commitment to specific content/intent/narrative,
A commitment to the experiential nature of art,
A sense of the importance of one's work in contemporary society.
It is significant to recognize that the initial emergence of classical
humanism and pictorial realism in Greco-Roman art, and its re-emergence in
the form of Christian humanism during the Italian Renaissance represent the
exceptions to the rule. Abstraction is a much more prevalent and natural
way to make art through history throughout the world. If we accept that
premise, then where does modernism begin? One could certainly say that the
great Baroque painters like Velazquez and Rembrandt were extremely modern in
comparison to Renaissance classicism.
It is fascinating to think of the emergence of Western abstraction in French
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism as representing the emergence of
Modernism, but it doesn't really work, because Velazquez, Rembrandt, Rubens,
van Ruisdael, Hals, Fragonnard, Watteau, and others adopted a very painterly
"impressionistic" style at least a century earlier.
One common interpretation of the distinction between modern and pre-modern
art has to do with the motivation for making art, and the intended clientele
or patronage. Through the 18th century, art was produced for either the
church, the aristocracy, or the wealthy merchant class. In the early 19th
century, artists like Gericault, Daumier, Corot, and Courbet began much more
self-motivated and self-directed, painting common subjects, with no specific
patronage, and often with powerful socio-political content. To me, that is
the most powerful and specific transition between modern and pre-modern art.
I miss teaching art history and art appreciation.
Vince Pitelka - vpitelka@DeKalb.net
Home 615/597-5376, work 615/597-6801, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166