Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Art, Bad Art

I believe I have written previously about how to tell good art from bad art. Many people are stymied by this skill and think that experts are trying to pull the wool over their eyes. A good rule of thumb is if it makes you say "Awwwwww, how cute" or "You can see every little feather (hair, pore, blade of grass)" you are probably looking at bad art. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. It just means it doesn't belong in a museum.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the Italian Renaissance recently as I am preparing for a trip to Florence this spring. The Stones Of Florence by Mary McCarthy, while in general a terrible book, contained some tidbits of information that got me thinking. In particular that with the rise of wealth for a few merchant families who patronized artists, there was a concurrent rise of bad and simply sexually provocative art. (Art being the word that pornography often hides behind.)

Sometimes in my reverence for the great cultures of the world I forget to consider that they had their flaws too. I hope as I wander through the Uffizi and the Duomo I remember to keep it all in perspective and look with critical eyes. Were these artists the Thomas Kinkade or Peter Max of their age- spinning out product for their clammering public?

No comments: