Rubbish

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I know art is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, I’ve read that pre-1790 pretty much everyone painted and built in their country or culture’s accepted prevailing style. Self-conscious choice of ‘Art’ was a 19th century invention, but still…

This 1748 painting has been bugging me for some weeks – since it appeared on my DailyArt App – and I’ve finally decided that it is rubbish.

Finely wrought, technically correct but simply rubbish. Duff setting, inane message, bad colours and overwrought emotions. I’m no doubt a victim of the modern era. Maybe future generations – as those of the past – will come to venerate it.

But for me Los Angeles (where it lives) is very welcome to it. Give me a Greek statue, medieval tableau, crazy early Renaissance perspective, Leonardo’s cadavers, Durer’s rabbits, Van Gogh’s psychedelic skies, Malevich’s knife cutter or even our local Pinocchio sprayed on a concrete stairwell.

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But Boucher’s ‘Fountain of Love’ has run dry for me.

As Aristotle famously said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” I keep looking at this picture but I can’t see it.

Malevich

I knew he was deep, and suspected he was dark – but another find in the library shows he painted like a man possessed through some extraordinary times. Kazemir Malevich (1878-1935) the great Russian artist went from here:

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To here:

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Via here:

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And here:

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Before changing art forever here:

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And ending persecuted but proud here:

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From impressionism, through cubism, to futurism and his own creation ‘suprematism’. Malevich created the ultimate abstraction in the ‘black square’, but ended his years under Stalin only being able to hint with a coy hand gesture at the ideas he created – that true art takes nothing whatsoever from nature and is pure ‘form’.

Modern art gets a mixed reception. But I’m staggered at what Malevich produced in a single lifetime. He is a dozen artists in one – and lived a life which spans, encapsulates and created a true revolution.