Monday Musings #1: What constitutes art?

Renoir, La Yole - image from The National Gallery, London.
Renoir, La Yole – image from The National Gallery, London.
The Boulevard Montmartre at night - image from, The National Gallery, London
The Boulevard Montmartre at night – image from, The National Gallery, London

When it comes to art, we are somewhat divided at The Carat Soup HQ. Oscillating between traditional versus contemporary art, and ornamental versus everyday pieces of jewellery; ultimately it stems to the age old adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”..[.
With plenty of galleries, exhibitions, and studios we frequent on our travels, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to works of art. At times choice can be somewhat of a hindrance to the development of a collection, or deciding which one painting to leave an auction/fair with.

From the weird and wonderful starkness of 21st century contemporary art, to the vivid tones of vibrant Impressionist art, where art is concerned there’s nothing we enjoy more than a hearty work-brunch, followed by a stroll around a gallery for research purposes, devouring the paintings and tales behind the rise/fall/rise of demand.
This is certainly the case, with The National Gallery’s ‘Inventing Impressionism’, a peek behind the work and lives of artists such as Pissarro, Degas, Sisley, Renoir, Cezanne, and Gauguin; whose careers were spearheaded by mastermind Paul Durand Ruel, an entrepreneur-cum-art-dealer. He, along with technological advances played a pivotal role for the Impressionists. Namely the use of a camera, a new perspective on colour, and the mobility of art tools (smaller paint tubes for example). This sparked what was seen as a revolution in the style of painting in the art world, during the latter half of 19th century France, and beyond. Eventually over time, the artists broke away, developing and honing their own distinct styles.
Perhaps we ought to follow suit, and agree to disagree, when it comes to defining and understanding the true essence of art.

Inventing Impressionism, 4 March – 31 May 2015, The National Gallery, London
Recommended reading: Inventing Impressionism edited by Sylvie Patry.

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