Art History 1700-1870


Finding the pages in my book that go over the content in the current version made me accidentally stumble past 1870 and it seems as though thats then all the "good stuff" happens! I cant wait!


Overall it feel like we are coming to a crossroads with a classical influenced heritage and a burgeoning graphic realism clashing and trying to find a way to ratify each other. Overall I think most of the works in this period compromise themselves by trying to incorporate past and future ineffectively. Almost like a child of wildly successful parents trying to forge their own path... they have massive shoes to fill and a huge shadow to escape.
The work that got my attention was the stunning Egid Quirin Asam, Assumption of the Virgin. Its simply epic in its complexity, lavish detail, endless ornamentation and expansive visual presentation. Its like watching a whole play unfold without any of the characters or elements actually moving. Interestingly after looking at the image magnified some of the elements appear catoonish (angels faces) and other details are even more... detailed! The feathers, the gilded embellishments, the winding scrollwork... awesome.
My question is... why don't people commission things like this anymore? We have more disposable income and more free time so why don't we value art as much as we used to?

I can't quite put my finger on it, what element is draining or changing overall but I have a heightened sense of the art becoming more of a "product". It feels as though the ends are justifying the means rather than things being done of the sake of the art. Its like people are creating great art but with less time and effort and something is being lost in the rush. Perhaps its a reaction to photography with its (relatively) instant access to a representation of a subject. Realism might seem like a fruitless goal when something mechanical can simply record light and duplicate an appearance. I think capturing the magic of a person, place or thing can only be done by an artist. Great photos exist and they are art but they are art filtered through a machine which is never the same thing.
The image that caught my eye was by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and titled Grande Odalisque. With this work, beauty is not sacrificed in the interest of saving time. I think its obvious that time has been lavished on this piece. From the gorgeously soft and almost velvety texture of the skin with its amazingly subtle gradations and modeling of forms to the delicate and sharp beading, embroidery and feathers this piece is just radiant. While something about the body structure is off I can't help but be swept away by its overall impression.
I'm eager to see how this past meets its future and wonder about the path that joins them together.