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  1. #1
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    Default Baroque/Rococo Art

    When all profs seem to care about is my ability to memorize the name, architect, and dates of 100+ churches, it can be hard to remember that I actually love this stuff... but enough of my whining, on with the amazing art.

    This is Weltenburg Abbey in Germany by the Asam Brothers, the best part is the altar:

    Click here because it wasn't happy with my hotlinking or something.

    Hard to find good pics, but this is amazing. The dragon and girl are in realistic polychromy. St. George and his horse are silver and gold—realistic for his armor, but not his skin or the horse—and they are on a pedestal. It's like the girl is looking at a statue of the saint. Then, in front of the niche are two saints, painted to look like marble, except with just tinges of color on the lips and cheeks. They fact that they are wood painted to look like marble, rather than actual marble, just makes it even better. We have realistic sculpture, less realistic sculpture, and sculpture masquerading as sculpture in a different material! So many layers, so much more sophisticated an investigation into the "meaning of art" than what contemporary artists are doing.

    This photo is blurry, but shows the color better.



    This is a sculpture of one of the Asam brothers, up in the gallery, looking down at the altar. Now, it was tradition for a chapel to have a statue of its patrons praying, as a kind of votive figure. Here, we have the architect, admiring his work, and laughing. Pretty daring.

    I just think this stuff is so cool.

    Pretty good panorama thing here: Virtueller Rundgang: Klosterkirche Weltenburg

    Have another post in mind when I feel like writing it up but in the meantime please contribute whatever you like!

  2. #2
    Listening Oaky's Avatar
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    I've learnt about all of this last year. To be honest, I find it quite troublesome to hear of it again. I never really liked classical art.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    Sorry to offend. Is this more to your taste?


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    Listening Oaky's Avatar
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    Nope. I'm not necessarily fascinated by old... art.

  5. #5
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    I love the confidence, the exhuberant joy of baroque art, music, and architecture. The zenith of western culture as far as I'm concerned.

    Here is a question for you. We assume that progress is linear. That our modern age is superior. But, how can we know this? I am convinced that the 17th and 18th centuries were superlative. That now we live in a shameful state of cultural poverty.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  6. #6
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    I love the complete lack of shame in decoration for pure pleasure. It's probably what makes people dismiss it, as it's easy to think that's the only meaning. But if you take the time to look at something you will notice that it does say a lot more than "pretty!" While still being pretty. The Asam brothers (Egid Quirin and Cosmas Damian, look I learned something) stand out to me because they weren't working with a lot of money. They have another church that's just full of faux-marble of every color. The buildings are all tiny shoeboxes backed to the gills with decoration. It's not about showing off wealth, I don't think it's about pretending to have wealth either, it's simply about the pleasure art can bring. Absolutely no shame about it.

    As for the past being better... you have to take into account that the bits of art that have survived 200-300 years are of course going to be the best, while what stands out in the present is just whatever is the most ubiquitous; that the average person now is far more cultured than the average person then, that we are producing works of value now, you just have to look harder for them, or at the very least art that was hated 100 years ago is well respected now, so who knows what people will think of us in a hundred years? But of course you know all that, and I don't want to make some lame cop-out "it's all relative" answer. I think, with that qualification, I agree with you. Their best is better than our best.

    Saying you don't like modern art is an easy way to make people think you're an uneducated jerk. But I don't like modern art. I love Marcel Duchamp, but since then nobody has done anything but lesser copies of Duchamp, it seems. There are some people who call themselves the Stuckists, who set up a shop in London with a big sign saying "A Stuffed Shark Isn't Art" (in response to Damien Hirst). Good for them, but we don't need signs about stuffed sharks any more than we need stuffed sharks. If you think Damien Hirst is a jerk, then put your time into a real painting, or whatever it is you think art should be, don't make signs about what art isn't.

    But I know that a lot of the appeal, to me, of old art is the very fact that it's old. Even Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel is kind of beautiful now that it's an old vintage bicycle wheel, while if you made the same out of a new store-bought wheel and bicycle it would just be ugly. If I were an 18th century aristocrat, spending all my time in Baroque palaces, I'd be nostalgic for Gothic art or something.

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