Is “Fine Art” all it’s cracked up to be

I feel the same way about the Beatles. Regarding this, I’m always the odd man out though.
With you, on Brahms as well.

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With Turner’s later works where he breached impressionism, you really have to stand back a good distance for the work to blend into a pleasant picture. I find it quite amazing how, up close, they appear just a mess, then magically transition at 10 or 12 feet back.

We have a good sized, about 24 by 36, hunt scene above our mantle and up close the dogs are these ridiculous blobs of paint. Upon standing back, they become a proper group of nicely detailed dogs. Weird.

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I find the same thing, whether I’ve been drinking or not. :upside_down_face:

When I was a History of Art student back in the 1980s, I spent a lot of time in galleries. My fellow students and I used to spend a lot of our time earwigging gallery visitors. Particularly good fun was listening to guys – they were usually guys, perhaps on a date – patronising his (usually) female companion with some complete load of old bollocks. Being obnoxious, cocky young know-it-alls, we would then ostentatiously correct him, perhaps ruining his prospects for rumpy-pumpy later.

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I find Canaletto’s paintings interesting, for historical reasons above all, but I’m certainly not moved by them.
Canaletto was simply the best known of the “vedutisti”, i.e. painters who produced views of Italian cities, which the wealthy tourists would buy and take home to show their friends - in Britain mostly, because of the custom of the Grand Tour. But you all know that, I’m sure.

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Had both panels on my wall as a kid, from the Tate.

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They seem to have had a falling out.

True, though I didn’t realise how badly we tend to interact with the visual until I asked an Art teacher how a recent school trip had gone. ‘Dreadful’, she said, ‘we did four art galleries on both days’. I mistakenly suggested that sounded like a good thing for an Art trip, whereupon she pointed out that a music trip wouldn’t force its members to listen to different symphonies for eight hours in swift succession for two days. Fair point, I thought.

Mark

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Thanks for making my evening. I thought it was only Mrs HH and me who called it rumpy-pumpy.

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Yes, yes! :+1:

I’m not sure of the distinction between fine and any other art? Regardless, have to admit to largely being unmoved by visual art - there are very few paintings that have ever got me standing there, entranced, drawn in, wanting more. With the vast majority my reaction is varies from “quite a nice picture - I wouldn’t mind that on my wall (but no way is it worth (to me) paying more than a few quid for it”, to, primarily with (a lot of) modern art, total perplexion as to why anyone would want to display it (or paint it - except that is obviously to make money if the artist can convince others it is art). With some historical works there is interest value in what an image portrays as a view of history, but that more from the angle of being illustrative. Some famous pictures like the Mona Lisa I just found rather uninteresting apart from the fact of its fame (admittedly being behind bulletproof glass probably didn’t help).

Of the few paintings I did really like when seeing it in the flesh, so to speak, and would love to have a copy at home though it would have to be the full painting and full size, is Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Why it captured me unlike others I can’t explain. Another I really liked was one by Roger Dean, Pathways at night, which in an exhibition of his work had me returning to it several times - not sure why it attracted me so, but it was exquisitely lit and seemed almost luminous.

At around 1600 USD for a painted full size copy of the Botticelli it is something that might tempt me if I could see before buying, though finding a suitable wall would be a challenge… But an official print of the Roger Dean at £3,800 is way beyond anything I’d consider paying.

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I think fine art is made for itself, as opposed to commercial art that is made for a commercial purpose, like an album cover.

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Does this image stir any feelings in you?

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No particular feelings. Nothing makes me want to look closer at it or have it in my home. It is a curious image, reminiscent of some Mexican/Caribbean tradition and possibly of interest to someone into that sort of imagery. I could see it as an album sleeve because it is eye catching through both bright colours and the somewhat startling imagery.

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Yeh. Stirs up memories of my 8 year old son bringing home his artwork from school.

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There is definitely commercial art as you describe it, but actually most art is commercial if by that you mean made to make money. In that sense Canaletto was definitely a commercial artist. This what the National Gallery in London says about him, which amplifies what someone said earlier:
He found that providing formulaic paintings for tourists was very lucrative. These, still highly skilled works, were produced by him often in collaboration with an organised workshop. They usually record the lavish Venetian public ceremonies, as in ‘Regatta on the Grand Canal’.

In general the Renaissance painters so admired in the modern period, were more like craftsmen in status, who depended on rich patrons to commission work from them. The notion of the artist as a unique creative force also emerged in the period in the writings of Giorgio Vasari, and it is that notion which informs our ideas of art for art’s sake and the individual creative genius of an artist like Picasso. In that context artists in the modern period depend on reputation and ‘originality’ to sell their work through the gallery system. Of course, at the upper end the gallery system still depends on rich clients, while the history of the price of artworks in relation to capitalist economic values means that some rich clients invest in art in the hope of a return. In earlier periods commissioning art might have been to reflect status and wealth but may also have been as a mark of piety when destined for a church.

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Or for other less pure reasons.

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Quite right, but I did say ‘may’!

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Basquiat, homaged by Banksy no less at a Barbican exhibition a few years back. I was walking along the tunnel that very morning of it’s appearance.

Banksy at The Barbican by jamiewednesday1, on Flickr

One’s appreciation or otherwise of a piece of artwork is almost entirely subjective of course.

Someone like Basquiat entertained with the shock of the new, as it were and of course was part of a bigger NY art scene in the 80’s, so could/should be viewed in context of the contemporary glam and showbiz that went with it.

Since then, he has been much imitated and copied, perhaps millions of times over, which over time I guess takes away most, if not all of what makes it ‘different’ and/or ‘worthy’.

What usually strikes me about many pieces of ‘contemporary’ art is the unexpected scale of the original. Most Basquiats, Hockneys, Harings, Lichtensteins etc. are much larger than you expect and can often be pretty impressive in their scale and detail when viewed in the flesh (as opposed to a tiny digital image). I suspect that only then can you appreciate the work that’s gone into them. Or otherwise!

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I have long time held in high feelings the work of John Piper.
He did most of his work as a “Printmaker” rather than a “Painter” in the traditional fine art distinctions.
As such most of his prints are more readily financially attainable if it suits.

IMG_3189

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