Seeing the form and time records of art from historical paintings
When historical paintings supervised by contemporary consciousness challenge contemporary art

With the advancement of form and time, art in the past, it will have a history, time and evolution.  Contemporary artist task in contemporary art is to reshape the past? Or transform the past? Or create the present?

“What Joshua Reynolds, as President of the Royal Academy, objected to was West’s introduction of contemporary costumes into a story of edifying heroism. Reynolds argued that history painting’s strength lay in its ability to tell morally encouraging stories without the limitations of language. It could speak to the eyes universally across the barriers of dialect, if it kept to the natural language of nudity and the general language of classical drapery. Contemporary meant specific and local, and therefore resulted in a loss of painting’s inherent advantages over verbal communication. “(Bell, 2017, p. 202)

Whether contemporary meant specific and local and therefore resulted in a loss of painting’s inherent advantages over verbal communication? Under the trend of contemporary art, how artists should discriminate is the subject of discussion by contemporary artists. Pursuing new, pursuing change, new concepts and meanings, and intent to create contemporary art belonging to this era.

“ West replied that no one had ever been seen wearing togas in Canada, and that ‘the same truth that guides the pen of the historian should govern the pencil [that is, the brush] of the painter’. History painting, in other words, was to be governed by history writing. The world, through the efforts of 18th-century historians, scientists and encyclopaedists, could be thought of, as never before, as a seamless structure of ascertainable fact. If everything in the world could take its place as a fact in an encyclopaedia, it followed that every detail had its own appointed period identity. “  (Bell, 2017, p. 209)

From another perspective, I think this is going to return to the original intention or purpose of painting? If you want to reshape the historical story scene of the past, of course, all historical objects must be scientifically examined. Still, if it is a creative perspective, I think this is another contemporary story.

Are artists of a century incapable of reproducing the look of the past or the future? I think and believe that every era must have an artist to express it and make a new presentation for the contemporary.

Whether it is now, in the past or the future, there is no doubt that people are always interested in new things. The products of the new era in the modern era are in all fields and are all pursuing progress. I think that pursuing better and seeking new, and this is the collective consensus of humankind. On the other hand, back to the point of view of art, contemporary art is based on the framework of historicism. There are more historical references. Therefore,I think that breakthrough, innovate, generate new visual experiences, borrowing history, this is an opportunity for a contemporary artist to think about how to make new contemporary art.

Support reading

 Julian, Bell.(2017)What is Painting? ( Second Edition, Electronic document)., London:Thames & Hudson Inc 

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© 2020 copyright Yi Chiao Chen. All rights reserved. 


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