Changing Role of the Artist from Different Times

Last Updated: 27 Jan 2021
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Art is contemporarily defined as the product or process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects the senses, emotions, and/or intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression. The renaissance is the rebirth of classicism; classicism comes from the ancient Greece and Rome; they portray art to captivate perfection, harmony and order. Italian High Renaissance artists achieved ideal of harmony and balance comparable with the works of ancient Greece or Rome.

Renaissance Classicism was a form of art that removed the extraneous detail and showed the world as it was. Forms, colours and proportions, light and shade effects, spatial harmony, composition, perspective, anatomy - all are handled with total control and a level of accomplishment for which there are no real precedents. Up until the middle ages, the role and status of artists in society were similar to other skilled, manual workers. They were usually employed to work on specific commissions. Most artists worked anonymously.

Any prestige associated with an artwork reflected more for or about, rather than on the artists. Until the 18th Century artists learnt their ‘trade’ as apprentices in the workshops of established artists. In retrospect this was the time period of sexual discrimination; men were still seen as highly regarded over the typical status of women. So only men could be certified and had the opportune to be an artist. During the renaissance there was a new emphasis on art as an intellectual activity, not just a manual skill.

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This altered the role of the artist; the renaissance artists played an active role in the intellectual life of the period, many of them wrote treaties on subjects such as perspective and painting. Their achievements as individuals were now recognised, and often celebrated. Some artists, such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, were seen as having almost divine creative powers. This established artists as geniuses. Artists were portrayed as artist heroes- the artists creative powers were a revelation of god’s creative powers on earth.

The artist as a romantic genius was a development of the renaissance artist as a hero. That the superlative artist gained superlative social positions; they were proclaimed as men of genius, their powers of creation exalted as never before. Concept of the artist as a genius was appropriate to an age obsessed with the potential of man and the style of talents personality. In the late 18th Century a German philosopher Immanuel Kant put forward the idea that artists are geniuses who are born rather then taught. Michelangelo Buonarroti; a renaissance Italian Male (born 1475-1664) was perceived as a born genius.

His role as an artist was established as an high renaissance male who was multidiscipline and a mulit-skilled painter, sculpture, poet and scientist of anatomy; he was highly regarded as a ‘god like’ figure. His tumultuous career, with its perpetual struggles and its passionate commitment to art, was to become the master pattern for the romantic genius. Michelangelo’s artistic skills were perceived to originate from birth nevertheless he practised as a trained apprentice at the age of 13 in the workshop of the established art master Domenico Ghirlandaio in Florence.

Though as an early artist he was regarded by his father as he proclaimed that “Artists are no better than shoe-makers. The neoplatonic thought that was current amongst all seemed to underlie not only his poetry but much of his paintings and sculptures as he expressed “sculpture is the painting as the sun is to the moon. ” Michelangelo’s reputation was established by the sale of a ‘sleeping Cupid’ as a genius antique. In its exquisite finish, its flawless classism, and it evocation of the human activity in the divine and the divine in the human, the pieta is indeed a consummation of fifteenth century art.

The perfection of the two figured is informed both by an expert knowledge of anatomy and by the Neoplatonic theory; that the beauty of the body is an expression of its spirit. Michelangelo was commissioned in 1501 by the new republican government to carve a colossal ‘David’, symbol of resistance and independence. Later in 1508 Michelangelo was summoned by Pope Julius II, to the Sistine chapel ceiling; this was Michelangelo’s most celebrated work.

Panels portraying key stories from Genesis are surrounded by a framework with additional scenes and figured for a 4 year period. The ceiling endured Michelangelo’s deep religious faith, expressed through a profound reverence for the classical Antiquity. A modern art was nationally acclaimed and recognized. Modern Artists were perceived as an Avant Guarde that challenged the main stream, traditional art. It was focused on the artist brain. Modernism reflecting the industrial revolution; was the era of mass production and consumption. One development vident in the modern era, spurred by technological growth in this century, has augmented the artist role in society; the commercialization of art through the expansion of entertainment, communications, and indoctrination media. In this modern time period society did not establish the role of artist, the artist decided for themselves what role they would play in their art. Andy Warhol disrupted the common views of the role each artist should play in their art. Andy Warhol was a modern American male (born in 1928-87); He is a pop artist whose role as artist as a celebrity.

His practise involves commercial artist advertisement and illustor. His portraits developed from Polaroid photographs. In Warhol’s art, there is absolutely no sign of the artist’s hand or that this piece was even made by an artist. An unknowing viewer might suspect that it belongs in a grocery store rather than not a gallery or a museum. Since he uses different techniques than traditional artists, at times he may never touch the piece at all and it still will be credited to him. This corresponds to what was once expected from the artist. Skill is no longer involved; it is much more about content, conceptual appearance, and processes.

He is infatuated by food, sex, death and fame; this fatuation led to consumer product, nudity and celebrity icons such as Jackie Kennedy, Elvis Privily and Marilyn. Warhol had a specific, obvious style; He used repetition and simplification. Popular culture has a huge influence on his art. His art caused controversy in society. His art challenged the modernist idea of originality of the artist. Critics originally ridiculed Pop Art; “A range of distasteful, stupid, vulgar, assertive and ugly manifestations of the worst kind of our society. (Solomon) Another critic Norbert Lynton quoted “pop art seems on the whole leave aside the basic questions and values of art. ” The public responded t it favourably. American society, the post WWII and the cold war hugely influenced his art. Warhol would conditionally say Conflicting statements that shocked and corrupted society; “I want everyone to think alike. I think everybody should be a machine,” &“Once you see pop art, you can’t see America in the same way. ” Andy Warhol picked his subjects off supermarket shelves and from the front pages of the tabloids. He would then mass-produce the image, repeating them by silkscreen duplication.

The well-known images pushed art out of the museum and into mainstream. Warhol’s “100 can of Campbell’s Soup” created in 1962; was cans assembled in a line. The serial images of consumer items in a hard-edged graphic style, Warhol wanted a machinelike art without social comment or emotion. From 1963-68 Warhol made more than sixty films which reached new depths of banality. One silent film, “Sleep” runs six hours, capturing every non-nuance of a man sleeping; “I like boring things” Warhol stated. A natural self-promoter, Andy Warhol made himself into a media sensation; he conflicted the original role of the artist.

A Post-modern artist has adapted from a modern Avant Guarde to the role of a deconstructor of previous roles. The Post-modern time period accepts both genders as artist. With the vast technological development art has new expressive forms; 2D, 3D and 4D. Their role is to convey messages to society that otherwise would go unheard, or perhaps cannot be said. Andy Goldsworthy is a British male born in 1956, Goldsworthy is a post-modern /contemporary artist; He is a trained artist who studied at Bradford College (1974-1975). He is an intuitive, solitary, environmental sculpture and land artist.

His art practise involves natural installations that is documented using film and photography that is viewed by the public through published books of his art. Goldsworthy uses natural materials from his property in Britain and the scour river. This material consists of rocks, ice, twigs, leaves, clay, stone, water and flowers. His conceptual practise relies on the earth; “I need the earth but it doesn’t need me. ” The ‘Dumfriesshire clay wall’ was created in June 1999; this was a filmed process that captured the decay. Goldsworthy ideology was focused on the cycle of collapse and rebirth; “I like to push things to the point of collapse.

Goldsworthy has a deep conceptual meaning and symbolism in each of his artworks. He was influenced by nature, weather and seasonal change. "Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. ” Goldsworthy’s “Storm King Wall” is a wall commissioned with builders to be 1. 8m high stretching across a forester, weaving through trees. The wall was built with stability to outlast seasonal change. One of his works “The rowan leaves and hole” is autumn leaves organised in corresponding order of colour that spirals to make a black hole.

Goldsworthy symbolises hole as death. Andy Goldsworthy challenges traditional ideas; the process instead of the art is the most important thing. Goldsworthy provokes at the role of the traditional artist. Examining the historical art we draw a conclusion about the nature of a society, and even this period of time, contemporary artists still say a lot about society and the mainstream way of thinking. The role of the artist has established as a manual worker, to an Avant Guarde that has adopted, manipulated and changed overtime. Artists are the mouthpiece of their culture.

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