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Welcome to the Art community!
Feel free to post questions, musings, pictures of paintings (or other media), your own paintings etc
I promise to keep this a  nice, flame-free community of people with a common interest in art.

To start out our discussions, I have two topics for you:

1. Madame X
The painting at the top is a detail from Madame X (1883-1884), John Singer Sargent. He was greatly criticized for the original work, which featured the woman with the right strap of her dress slipped off. Here is a picture of what the original painting looked like:

Even after changing it, the painting remain controversial.
Why do you think it caused such an critical storm? After all, by 1883 nudes were nothing new in painting.
Should he have changed it under the pressure of his contemporaries? Does it change that value of the work knowing that the artist intended it to look differently?

2. Cave Art

Why do you think the hunter-gatherer decided to go into a cave to create art?
How did he feel, how did his tribe feel?
Was there a religious purpose, or was it an attempt to create order in the chaos that the primitive man was experiencing?
Why are people inherently drawn to creating art?

Deviations from these questions are encouraged, I just put the questions here to get you started.

Have Fun!
Your friendly, neighbourhood moderator.


Jan. 6th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
Lets go with 2, first.

The appearance is of a hunting picture. It was likely done with some sympathetic magic in mind. The hope for a successful hunt is in part imagined. This painting then becomes the visual representation of that hope. Of how the hunt ought to succeed and so further how the world ought to be. This is how all artworks have a moral component.

Nietzsche calls art the only truly metaphysical activity. This is because it is creative as an echo of the gods. It comes out of imagination and so is always tied to some extent to how the world ought to be.

1. In the era of the painting I would guess that it was scandalous, as all artworks are, to some extent. It confronts morality on two planes therefore, that of showing a madame in a conservative period, and the morality inherent in artworks. That the public demanded a change meant that the message was loud and clear and in some sense made the work "interactive".

As its message is very much tied up with the social outlook of the times, the work has paled over time. Without some historical context, in our era, the primary message is rather lost...


For The Love of God, Hirst
Understanding Art and the Art World

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