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The Philosophy of Articano

Art holds a profound power and significance in human culture, influencing and reflecting our society in myriad ways.

The Power and Significance of Realism in Fine Art

Fine art, at its finest, has the profound ability to move individuals to tears, capturing their senses and immersing them in an overwhelming experience of beauty and excitement. People often describe this sensation as a wave of chills running up and down their spine. Although rare, such impactful works can ignite a lifelong passion, driving individuals to pursue careers as artists, collectors, or art historians. While poetry, literature, dance, theatre, and music can evoke similar feelings, this essay focuses on the unique experience of beauty in fine art and its profound impact.

The Journey of Realist Enthusiasts

Throughout the 20th century, individuals who shared our sentiments were often drawn to fine art after experiencing the profound beauty of works from the 15th to 19th centuries in museums. Many aspired to become artists themselves, only to be directed towards fine art courses in colleges and universities where they were told their instincts were wrong and that Modernist works were superior. This educational system often sought to change their beliefs, promoting the idea that only artworks that broke away from traditional Realism were worthwhile.

Students were rarely informed that their educators lacked the skills practiced by artists of previous centuries. These instructors, who had never learned the traditional methods, made students believe they had chosen to abandon these skills due to some profound revelation.

Seeking Traditional Training

Those true to their beliefs often left these “art” departments, sometimes pursuing careers in commercial art or other fields. A rare few found ateliers that still taught the methods of the old masters. By 1980, there were only seven such ateliers, all taught by students of Pietro Annigoni or Ives Gammell, both of whom could trace their training back to the 19th century and beyond.

Preference for Realism

Studies have shown that “generally, people preferred realist paintings” (Echoes 2006/1 Working Paper Series of the Echo Survey Institute, Page 4). This raises the question: What do these students and educators see that Modernists do not? And why do most educated people outside the art world also prefer traditional realism?

Establishing Criteria for Fine Art

This essay aims to answer these questions clearly and directly, helping artists and art consumers establish criteria to judge artworks, understand their preferences, and counter Modernist critics. We will delineate a straightforward way to define fine art and examine its aesthetic foundations as they evolved in the 19th century, alongside the Modernist movement that nearly suppressed these traditions in the 20th century.

We will also provide criteria to evaluate artists and movements, helping to determine why some artworks are experienced as beautiful and successful while others fall flat. This information will assist practicing artists in deciding which types of art and subjects to explore and the skills and techniques they need to learn. Ultimately, as in all education, individuals should decide for themselves what is meaningful and what is mere noise.

In summary, art is not merely an aesthetic endeavor but a vital component of human culture with far-reaching impacts. It enriches our emotional lives, preserves our heritage, influences societal norms, educates and inspires, drives economic activity, and brings people together, underscoring its indispensable role in the fabric of human existence.

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