A 15TH CENTURY PAINTING IS A DEPOSIT
OF A SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP ? IS THIS TRUE OF ALL WORKS OF ART Essay, Research Paper
15th century artists
commissioned by the elites to paint chapels etc (e.g. St. Peter?s chapel) ?
usually given specific subject, although given free reign occasionally.? Some paid per figure on the canvas. ?
Implication: art influenced by
patron?s desire, needs, wealth, status as well as the artist?s talents and
Thus ? see the art work as a deposit
of the social relationship between artist and patron. GOVERNMENT
This form of patronage not necessarily
financially based relationship.? In
Russia, Germany, lesser extent Italy, during WW2 artists heavily commissioned,
but independent artists whose work digressed from regime needs / desires /
ideology were imprisoned, exiled or killed ?
More explicit way of patronage ? Nazis
created a dual exhibition of art work ? one full of degenerate art ? associated
with Jews, homosexuals etc. Images of Jews and infiltrated by real pictures of
deformity ? other gallery ? imperial, Nazi ideal art.? Blatant yet extremely powerful for the public and especially the
In Italy an art competition was won by
the inspiringly titled ?Listening to a speech by Il Duce on the Radio? (not
included on handout) ?
Cultural revolutions ? way of
cleansing enemies at home ? again highlights power of art ?
Example: sculptor George Kolbe ? 1930
picture: mobility, dynamism to balance to pose and stability ? reflecting Nazi
preoccupation pure human form.? Intended
as a juxtaposition against degenerate art ? art of Jews, the weak.? The art hated by the working class and
conservative bourgeoisie. ?
Above sculptures do not reflect a
social relationship; rather change in style reflects the social relationship
between artist and patron (government).?
The relationship is one of subservience and rule over creativity. ?
Nazis use degenerate art to channel
aggression from troubles of real situation (great depression, economic
dislocation) toward individuals and groups perceived as agents of political and
social evils ? enemy not art itself but human being that it seemed to
embody.? Aesthetic backing to
unequivocally value based judgments. ?
We see art as influencing social
relationships ? more explicit form is Stalin?s portraits.? Both portraits show Stalin with Lenin in the
background.? Early on in career Stalin
trying to be seen as the inheritor of Lenin?s legacy. ?
Socialist realism ? continual
bombardment of images of workers, normal people ? clearly ideological and based
on desired social relationships ? deposits and reflection of social
relationships. AUTONOMOUS ART ?
Rousseau: ?The sciences, letters and
arts ? wind garlands of flowers around the iron chains that bind (the people)
and stifle in them the feeling of that original liberty for which they seemed
to have been born – makes them love their slavery and turn them into what are
called civilized people? ?
Rousseau ? art under despotism
reflected and reinforced immoral power of the state ?
Implies need for autonomous art ? link
to Willi Baumeister ?art has progressed along the path from dependence to
independence, from the commission which is given to personal
responsibility.? The free autonomous
artist receives his commission from himself? ?
So, does autonomous art show a social
relationship?? Not a traditional concept
of patronage, what about the market, and can it be said that a painting without
enforced patronage highlights a lack of Nazi or Soviet type social
relationship? CONCLUSIONS ?
Patronage: enforced, financial,
government based ? social relationship pressurizing artist into his works ?
does not lessen value of the art, but must be seen from different perspective ?
Reinforcement of power of the image ?
Autonomous art free of a deposit of a
social relationship ? but is this possible?