I’ve always been an art fan, but never a modern art fan. Give me Rembrandt. Give me Michelangelo. But never give me Rothko or Picasso.
In this essay, I explore a brief excursion on the transition from traditional art to modern art, and the reasons why our artists today should consider the art of centuries ago. This essay was published in the Summer 2010 edition of Celebrating What’s Important to Me, an anthology of children’s essays published by Creative Communications, Inc.
To some people, modern art is a wonderful, creative display. There are many cases in which the modern painting or sculpture evokes a sense of admiration from the audience. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, for instance, has attracted thousands. The Saatchi Gallery of London hosts some of the best-known works of any era across the globe.
However, when modern art is compared to traditional art, particularly that which was created between the Renaissance and the nineteenth century, there is a huge difference. Traditional art prompts clarity, details, and purpose to convey some story or meaning that reflects the hardships or triumphs of people. Modern art has not done this. In the areas of paintings and sculptures, it has not achieved fine detail or high quality. It has obscured the detail and hidden the meaning so that most viewers are left to wonder, “What is the purpose to the art that we’re looking at?”
Art is a portal through which the artist expresses his emotions and feelings. It has a definite purpose and meaning to it. It conveys an idea or story through crafted, time-honored means. If artists and viewers wish to know how to attain or discern excellent art, they must study the arts from centuries ago. They must see the results that have come from nearly five thousand years of work to see the beauty, excellence, and clear purpose that can be defined as excellent art.