“The main purpose of art is not to render the visible but rather to make visible”. Paul Klee It is often thought that modern art dropped from the sky and that it has made a violent break with the past. But a study of painting and sculptures from the prehistoric time to the present day proves otherwise. In expression though ‘Art is as old as man’. Herbert Read.
Forty or even fifty thousand years old a comparison between major and contemporary works of art and those created by primitive man shows astonishing resemblance. Many of movements of the last 70 years however modern have there beginning in the distant past or in some remote civilization. Curiously enough it was only the great traditions of ancient civilizations of Greek and Rome that made the break with the past. It is modern beyond all doubt which has renewed the tradition of antiquity .The evolution of the plastic art from the beginning of this century to the present day has been a logical sequence of long and laborious triumphs. Some temporary, some final, some achieved in order, some in anarchy but all of them though fiercely individualistic bear the stamp of a vital human message like a sort of contemporary human epic recited in the fierce rhythm of our age.
Modern Art History
Art changes with the times. It has changed not as a matter of fashion as may be popularly thought but it change because the new conditions effecting society made new demands on the artist. The socio-economics realities at the turn of the 19th century dictated such new demands. The traditional patronage of the church and the court faded and the rise of the middle class people and patrons demanded an art with an academic or sentimental importance or market utility. No true artist can prepare a great work on order. Art cannot work on demand from outside which should be satisfied by the talent of the artist. The true artist feels certain uncontrollable emotions that are evoked in his soul as if by inspiration. Those emotions may be expressed on the canvas or in the marble by the touch of his genius. Perhaps the artist himself has no clear-cut idea before hand what his finished work would look like. His emotion may be expressed in it far better than he ever could imagine or it may fall short of all that he has aimed at expressing.
Thus according to the present day of conception of art no craft however beautiful can take rank with art proper. The invention of photography dealt the already peculiar situation of the Artist a final blow because with its cheap method of reproduction it provided an equally cheap substitute for the plastic art. But this very decadence proved a fertile ground for the birth of revolutionary impulse. The artist rebelled against the prevailing taste all the public. The most direct expression off this revolt was the revolt against the tradition off what the eyes see. Conformity to the actual Word but the modern artist equipped with a Scientific bend off mind refused to trust his eye too much. He wanted to analyze what his eyes saw and a persistent efforts in this that direction lead to the realization that outer appearance off the object there is an inner reality in its inherent formal structure besides thoughts, feelings and in usual emotion called form and equally individual language. The self became all-important and everything around the artist was pressed into its service and important problem however remained to be solved. The artist must turn back to the tradition and pick up the thread somewhere it had been left or must revolt against exciting conventions and create new conventions more in line and conformity with contemporary consciousness.
The question arises that what was the contemporary consciousness; it was the spirit of scientific inquiry and analysis of what he saw, of what he thought and what he did. He soon became aware of its all and make that all the total imaginative experiences to satisfy his self. This new consciousness naturally gave rise to a new need in aesthetic Standard. This need was only another word for reality and since this need was the first Factor of the creative fact. The artist has created to his artistic sensibility in all its sincerity, purity and vitality. Here now to satisfy instinct only having executed a plan he has to decide its fate. But why did he take assistance of instinct because it helped to intensify his vision and his objective reality. There can be no intensity without simplification to a considerable degree, no intensity without distortion. Simplification is the keynote of all art and distortion or stylizations are related to each other. Having discovered his last instinct and the eternal principle of the formal reality the art refused to allow his talent to be pressed in to the service of description.
Artist decided that henceforth painting was to dominate its subject matter instead of being dominated by it. Modern art therefore began when execution took place of vanity of rendering. It aimed at the reversal change of the old subjective picture relationship. The picture now as a picture took the lead by the total removal of the elements of the emotions or story or subject. The artist aim was to subdue all things to his style beginning with the simplest. The best subject therefore became nothing but modest theme. Cézanne painted apples not because he could put himself more effectively into a picture of apple than a Renaissance painter could.