Art & the Theory of the Future
From a future perspective, Art & theory try to forecast future art’s movement. By positing that art can influence culture, it questions the validity of certain forms of art and their ability to produce genuine social change. It is premised that art which expresses ideas which are already present in people’s minds has the potential to become a source of social change. It therefore projects the idea that art can be socially constructive and not merely visually attractive. Theorists who work with theories of causality must necessarily have an interest in understanding the historical and social significance of the processes of creating art.
It is the preoccupation of most art historians to understand the historical evolution of art from its beginnings in the Renaissance to its present manifestation in contemporary art. In order to study art in its various forms, it is necessary to examine all the possible influences on artists across time. An essential tool for this task is the fine arts. Fine arts curriculum enables students to become acquainted with different techniques and materials that are used in the production of fine art. It also gives students an overview of different theories in the history of fine art.
The history of art begins in the Pre-Raphaelites in the seventeenth century, and traces its development through the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. In the works of these artists, we can discern a definite progression in the style and content. Theirs was an art which began as a reaction against the excesses of the art of the period. In the works of Caravaggio, Vitruvius, and Rubens, the artists rejected the excessive ornate decorative themes favored by earlier artists.
The Pre-Raphaelites were not, however, successful in toppling the works of Michelangelo, whom they patronized. Instead, their efforts helped to launch the careers of many other artists. The works of Rubens included some of the most striking examples of the Neoclassicism movement. His work, which remains highly appreciated, is recognized for its erotic subjects, which have resonance even today. The works of Vitruvius demonstrate a bolder approach, often experimental and highly original.
Neoclassicism came into its own during the nineteenth century with a series of paintings by Manet. His style is characterized by a bolder palette, an increased use of geometric shapes, and a desire to challenge the traditional conventions of form. His key pieces include The Night Cafe (Ney aux Cerfs), The Meuse (Les Demoiselles d’Avignon), and The Starry Night (The Starry Night – Paris, 1830-1940). While some of his ideas remain highly relevant to our contemporary society, his overall concern with form runs throughout his career. His conviction that the real thing is subjective and individualistic has inspired artists of all periods, from the Pre-Raphaelites to the New Left. The influence of the Viennese art scene and the Stendhal aesthetic had an enormous effect on Rubens.
In terms of artistic achievement, The Seated Man (criptions, 15ains), which was completed in Neoclassicism period, is one of only two paintings done with the help of a sewing machine. It is perhaps the only example of a portrait which utilizes the process of double exposure. Other major works include The First Spring (eps. II & III), The Scented Petals (eps. I & II), The Seated Man (also The Seated Woman), The Rubbed Skin, The Arrival, The Fridge, The Bather, The Camping, The Sleeping Woman, The Moisure, The Garden, The Bridge, The Last Supper, The Reflection, The Headcloth, and The Door. All these are Rubens favorites.
Rubens’ concept of the idea of the future art is clear. He is invested in the progression of art and suggests that future art will deal primarily with emotions. This theme is also present in his other paintings as well. However, he never expresses an overt interest in art.
With the dissolution of the Russian Empire and the advent of Christianity in Germany, Rubens found himself with a large number of works which were commissioned by the government but which he refused to paint because of their lacking quality. After the sack of the Russian Empire, he lived in France for the rest of his life. Besides his works, Rubens produced a large number of astrological charts and globes, which contributed to the development of astrology and also gave insight into the future.