The history of visual art is both a foundation and a source of inspiration for the artist. A foundation because it offers a frame of reference, as well as a sparring partner, examples that challenge, that you can draw on.
At the same time it is an inspiration, because the history is incredibly rich, especially when we leave the traditional path of Eurocentric art history and also look at what has been made outside Europe, because there is no culture in the world, however isolated, or Stories are told, there is singing, dancing, and images being made. Art is a universal need.
Art history for artists is different from that for enthusiasts, artists especially want to know why and how art was made and what they can learn from it. From the very beginning.
In the European cave painting of a horse in the cave of Lascaux, perception dominates. The painting undoubtedly had a meaning and a (magical) purpose, but we do not know them. We see a clearly recognizable horse, sharply observed and anatomically correct, albeit slightly caricatured.
The Australian cave painting “the Python River” is all about the meaning, the concept:
“Groups of great Pythons came from the east and slid like rivers through the landscape. Thus they arrived in the land of Worora. The Rock Python was tired and her children were crying, so she rested in a cave and painted herself there. “
Recognizing the physical form of the python, compared to the horse, requires some good will, because they are stylized symbol shapes, also beautiful, but from a completely different approach. This is not about the precise appearance, but about the interpretation of the term “group” as “river” and the story.
Not only in the approach, there are also opposites in the interpretation. Some artists let the imagination run wild, with all possible excesses, others try to keep a story as simple as possible.
Imagination versus simplification
A form of free imagination is symbolism, for example by making combinations of humans and animals (part observation, part fantasy). And a completely different method is the abstraction, the simplification of forms to their essence. Both approaches – the complicating and the simplifying – are timeless.
Head, Cyclads, Suncross, Scandinavia, Constatin Brancusi Piet Mondriaan
2000 BC 1500 BC 1912 1939
But there are more reasons to look outside of Europe:
For example, in the 18th century, Chinoiserie was fashionable in Europe. Porcelain, wallpaper, paintings. Everything had to be in Chinese style. And painters like Watteau or Francois Boucher used Chinese subjects in their work.
At the end of the 19th century, Japanese art mixed with European art to form a new style: ‘Art Nouveau’, a cross between Japanese decorative properties and European forms.
Much of the innovation in post-war modernism can be traced back to principles from ancient Asian art. Thus, the magic of geometric shapes has been a hallmark of Islamic art for over 1,000 years
Tantra 17th century Kasimir Malevich 1915
The reduction of mystical experience to elementary forms has been known in India for centuries
The idea that handwriting is the essence of expression has been the hallmark of Chinese art since time immemorial.
Bamboo Hans Hartung
The idea of ‘less is more’, maximizing the expressiveness by simplifying the forms, has been used in Japanese art for a long time.
Both the distant past and non-European art are treasures in which the contemporary artist walks from one surprise to the next find. A good reason to take note of it.
The assignment in this try-out serves as a test whether the program fits the participant.
In the practical program the main question is whether the participant has the necessary capacities, but in this program the question is reversed: can the supply meet the wishes and expectations of the participant?
That is why we ask the following question: What do you expect from the teaching program “The World of Art”, what do you hope to learn from it, what forms of information are you looking for?
For example, what kind of information are you looking for? Are you looking for general development or specific information, if so which?
Do you want to build up a broad artistic frame of reference or do you want to delve as much as possible into an art-historical aspect, if so which one? Or is there something else going on?
Depending on the response to this assignment, you can register for this program (see: purchase this course).