Friday, March 27, 2009

Golden Ages of Art

I'm in that space where where I can't put my thoughts into words well, but I'll give this a go before I forget. On Wednesday I went to The Nelson Decorative & Fine Arts Society lecture. The presentation was far too cruise-ship-entertainment than academic for my taste, (and the presenter does a lot of the former,) but I've bee interested in the subject so I eagerly took notes.

The title was "The Mystery and Splendor of Golden Ages in the Arts", and she prefaced the lecture by stating not everybody's favorite era will be covered. (And these Society lectures cover mainly Western Europe anyway.) She selected 5C Athens, Renaissance Florence, Elizabethan London, and Impressionist's Paris. All these were, or have these in common:
  • Inherited an old culture on which their own is based
  • Had one or a few genius/es who represent/s an era and city
  • Were urban rather than rural
  • Had wealthy ruling class, particularly the new rich, who needed to advertise themselves for political/commercial purposes, (usually not nice people, but they patronized the arts)
  • There was general unrest, due to wars, regime changes, crimes or plagues, or amidst a dynamic change, which demanded value changes, which in turn demanded individual judgment and decision-making
  • Had an influx of outsiders coming into the community, some of the representative geniuses were such outsiders
  • Engaged in trade
  • Held general optimism, in spite of widespread poverty of the masses and the general unrest
  • Developed language/vocabulary to express the mood, changes, new thoughts
  • Their golden era flourished for a short time, and just once
  • Their influence continue to influence the creativity of later generations
She also mentioned two exception, the Gothic architecture (which sprung in many rural settings) and Vienna (which had two golden ages, the times of Mozart, then later Freud and Klimt and she spoke briefly of how Vienna was different from the other cities.)

I would have liked more depth in the lecture, and an unhurried conclusion, but I think she was beyond her time limit, and the presentation ended abruptly. Food for thought, though, particularly as I've been wondering about Reconnaissance Florence and Heian Era, and why arts flourished so explosively.

4 comments:

  1. hmm? Sounds like we might be on the verge of another great art movement.

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  2. Very possibly, Dana. But where???

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  3. Inherit an old culture on which to base the new one? Not sure... I would have thought it needed to be at least a couple of hundred years old... if not more..,

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