Imagine an artist. What do you see? Do you see an educated, wealthy person? Our modern society lends the answer: probably not. I became fascinated by this idea, of how an artist lives and how society has changed their views about the significance of art. Artists’ lives have become different to society, given the increasing accessibility to their work, the educational background, and how society views the art.
The increasing popularity of the Internet has brought a greater spotlight on the works of many talents. Because of this, there is a greater shift in the artistic process. For example, McKay shows the reader that artists in the Renaissance period relied on patrons before even the first paint stroke. Now, however, artists do not rely quite as heavily on the patrons. Art is produced and THEN sold.
However, the bigger pool of artists has shifted how society views art and their respective artists. I think that society no longer views art as a high-class aspect of life, simply because of some of the less conservative pieces of art that are being made. Most renaissance pieces were religious (Jack), but now we are moving more towards other types of art. In the Renaissance, art was only available to the wealthy (McKay), where as now it is available to anyone who has a printer and somewhat of an internet connection.
Beneficial aspects from technology for art exist. For example, audio technology has increased mediums possible. It has also made art more accessible for students like me. However, it does make it more difficult to make profit as an artist (for more information about how internet has changed everything, click here) . According to Cameron Jack, a teacher who successfully graduated from an art college explains that the priorities of a society have shifted. Functionality has become more of a priority than innovative art, Jack explains. This helps us understand why an artist may not be as respected as other professionals.
Another interesting change is the shift away from apprenticeships. Back in the Renaissance period, the education of an artist was much different from what we consider education today. Artists would participate in apprenticeships, shadowing their masters and learning the trade. Today, however, there are universities and colleges that devote their energy and expertise into forming the world’s best artists. However, what I find interesting is there are also other ways to become artists in the twenty first century. The accessibility through the internet has opened the door for any artist to distribute work without any formal training.
So all in all, how do you view artists? Artists in the renaissance period “fought to be considered thinkers and innovators” (SmartHistory). Even Michelangelo said “one paints with his brain not with his hands” (Paoletti, google book available here). Art is still not always viewed that way today, unfortunately. I think society sees artists as being cast off in their own eclectic category, not making any particular advancements or contributions to society. Even within this class, a sizeable portion of the group decided that art is not worthy of federal aid. And a sizeable portion of congress agrees. I, however, disagree. I see the benefits of art and the history that we can absorb from it. Do you?
Paoletti, John T., and Gary M. Radke. Art in Renaissance Italy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. Print.
“Scrapping The Starving Artist Mythology | The Creative Mind.” Psych Central.com. 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2012/01/scrapping-the-starving-artist-mythology/
Renaissance Connection.” The Renaissance Connection, from the Allentown Art Museum. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.renaissanceconnection.org/artistslife.html>.
McKay, John P., Bennett D. Hill, and John Buckler. A History of Western Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Print.
“Patronage and the Status of the Artist.” Smarthistory, a Multimedia Web-book about Art: Discussing. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/patronage-and-the-status-of-the-artist.html>.