speech worth reading

"Invocation" Oil on Canvas
Frederick Lord Leighton, via artrenewal.org

I recently came across a website that is dedicated to representational oil painters, with a large online museum of works from history and a huge amount of resources for people painting today. In reading their philosophy statements, there is a particular keynote speech that was given last year which I found really interesting to read. Do check it out if you are up for some informative and unique perspectives about the state of art today. Here is a blurb from the speech, setting the tone:

"Before I saw Bouguereau's Nymphs and Satyr, I thought that the methods and techniques of the great Old Masters had somehow been lost over time accidentally. It never had occurred to me for two seconds, that people would actually have deliberately destroyed all of the institutions and methods by which the knowledge could be gained of how to create great works of art. This is one of mankind's greatest achievements ... one of the defining characteristics of advanced civilization ... a skill that makes us so unique, so sophisticated and so special. We are talking about the great arts of drawing, painting and sculpture, through which it's possible to express our shared humanity, including all of the universal, profound, complex and subtle emotions of what that means: our hopes and dreams, our fears and fantasies, our jealousy, and joys, our grief, loneliness, expectation, insecurity, intrigue, and compassion,

This is what art is really for; whether in theatre, in music, in literature, in sculpture, or in painting. Not the modernist cry of, "art for art's sake," or the modernist's belief that it is the duty of the artist to be honest and "prove that the canvas is flat". Any three-year-old knows that the canvas is flat! It is making the canvas come to life with reality and meaning that is the accomplishment. And these skills and humanistic values became precisely what the theories of modernism decided to attack and label as uncreative, confining and sentimental. They called great skill obsession with technique and worthless. They called story telling and the use of universal symbols as boring and repetitive. Realizing this we see that modernism didn't attack academic art. It attacked art itself. All art was without value, because the essence of what art is, the communication of our common humanity, was banished. And all this destruction was supported by journalistic art criticism, which was also held hostage by the same insanity. No longer was art allowed to use any of the parameters by which we can seek universal concepts and communicate with each other. Art was to only be about art and to be continuously novel for the sake of novelty..."

Definitely read the rest of the speech if you're interested.


  1. Paint a picture of a girl growing wings :) Dedicate it to me <3



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