Being traditional depends upon which tradition you claim.  You’ll look really wild if you emulate this very old, old master.  Giovanni di Paulo’s Creation of the World and Expulsion from Paradise lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Robert Lehman Collection.  If you derive your ideas from this source, though, will you look fifteenth century-ish or will you look super cutting edge, way out at the edges of the envelope?  I’d love to see what somebody would do with this.

Try copying his figures.  It’s amazing how hard it can be to copy something that is very mannered and out of proportion.  You have to pay extra close attention to forms when the work departs significantly from nature.  It really brings out your inner Xerox machine.

There is no such thing as modern.  Real art lives in the present tense.

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2 thoughts on “Being Traditional?

  1. You caught me, Karen! Well, I suppose “modern” simply means “made recently” or “within living memory,” etc. But I used “modern art” as so often it’s used in art circles, whether deliberately or not, as meaning art of a certain type, or made by various “famous” or “recognized” artists. (I’m getting a little gung-ho with the quotation marks,yikes!)

    I would like to restore to various terms the confusion which they should inspire and which they so richly merit. In this day of the internet almost any tradition is available to almost anyone. I can study Tibetan imagery and base my pictures on it if I want to. Or I could hang out with the edgy contemporary people and compose sculptures from celophane and old car parts. But the latter choice involves a tradition too, just a different one.

    But would prefer that we did use “modern art” when we “don’t know what to say” or when we lack any criteria other than a date. In truth, the art of our era is crazy with variety and in this it much resembles art of certain other periods. The nineteenth century, for instance, is not so neat and pat as art history books sometimes lead one to think. Pierre Renoir and Odilon Redon are exact contemporaries yet Redon looks much more “modern” to us than Renoir.
    And the 17th century — oh, don’t get me started — there are 17th century works of art that I could fool people into thinking are not only “modern” but ultra-hip!
    Yes, indeed!
    Thanks for your comment. Come back and say more. If you say more, I’ll say less, and be less of a windbag! I promise!

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