Introduction

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Introduction

From Malkhos

Published before 2005


I am new here [and] myself am a Classicist with no artistic talent or training whatsoever, but a keen appreciation of art. I entirely agree with the ARC view of art history. Art underwent a terrible transformation because of the general dislocations of society at the end of the nineteenth century culminating in the First World War. One can see how that generation became disenchanted with tradition, but the rejection of tradition as perpetuated and even stepped up through the needs of the commercial aspects of the art world to constantly find something new, and now post-modern critical theory as well. As a result, we have had about 75 years of so-called art detached unneccessarily from tradition, and a general loss of public consciousness of the true nature of art and art-historical development. In my own introduction to art history course, I took in college, the instructor, after finishing the section on David and Ingres, showed Cabanel's Birth of Venus and said, "Such kitsch as this is what academic art degenerated into rapidly. We will therefore leave it and move through the impressionists and the inevitable developement of modern art," meaning cubism, abstract expressionism, etc. In an upper division course I was denigrated and called a nihilist for expressing a dislike of modern art and suggesting that it was a falling away from Academic painting. After much study on my own, I find the Symbolists (including the Pre-Raphaelites and their successors) to be the hieght of artistic development and always wonder what a less dislocated developement of their movement within the Academic tradition might have produced. I am glad to see signs that things are now improving, and applaud your role in the revival of art.