Sunday, February 5, 2017

Romantic Realism

Romantic Realism is a school of aesthetics that developed as a consequence of the works of Ayn Rand. Rand saw herself (paraphrasing) as "the last of the Romantics or the first of their return."  The label Romantic Realism appears nowhere in Ayn Rand's  The Romantic Manifesto (1969). However, many of the artists who create these modern expressions of heroic values found validation in Rand's works. Quent Cordair Fine Art Galleries of Napa, California, sells their sculptures and paintings. (One artist not in their sales group, but in that style, is Michael Newberry.) 

Bryan Larsen at Quent Cordair Galleries
Perhaps the best known realist painter was Norman Rockwell. The problem with his realism is that the themes are from the naturalist school: quaint, commonplace, everyday. Some of his works do step outside of the village life typified by Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Perhaps his best was "Freedom of Speech" one of the Four Freedoms series that he created as propaganda for America's efforts in World War II. But that was an exception.
Tamara BonĂȘt at Quent Cordair Fine Art
Aesthetic romanticism was launched by the French school of the 19th century: Gericault, Delacroix, and Rodin. It was expressed best by the Academic schools (France, America, Britain) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. William-Adolphe Bouguereau's realistic myths typify that. But they were submerged by later critics and theorists who promoted Impressionism, Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, and stuff even worse. The reason (or excuse) that I learned in an art history class in college was that the invention of the photographic camera made realism unnecessary. So, artists sought new modes.
Quent Cordair at Quent Cordair Fine Art
Of course, it is impossible to get a snapshot of a successful Icarus descending. And even mundane images of shepherdesses or mourners would have to be staged, lit, shot, and developed, each step an artist's choice of values.
Karl Jensen at Quent Cordair Fine Art
That is the essence of aesthetics, according to Ayn Rand: "Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments."  And that is where Bouguereau failed: his people are often sad and wistful, the girls often vacuous. None of his figures are positively assertive. The best are enraptured with passion, but it is passive pleasure given by others in adoration.
Pursuit by Michael Newberry at
http://www.michaelnewberry.com/
Romantic Realism takes the style of  the Academic school and empowers it with the internal engine of motivation.
"Quent Cordair Fine Art was established by artist Quent Cordair in 1996. As a premier provider of contemporary Romantic Realism in painting, sculpture and drawing, QCFA has grown to serve an international clientele of private and corporate collectors.
"Romantic Realism, the movement which renews the high esthetic standards and techniques of pre-20th century ateliers, brings a rebirth of comprehensibility, beauty, romanticism and stylization to contemporary subject matter. The gallery's collection emphasizes themes which celebrate the moments of happiness, joy and success possible to Man on earth.
"Subject matter includes figurative, narrative, allegorical, still lifes, seascapes and landscapes. Award-winning painters and sculptors of international renown are represented, as well as emerging artists of unique vision and accomplishment. Commissions are available for portraiture, murals, garden and architectural projects.
"QCFA's extensive website serves as an invaluable resource for private collectors, interior designers and landscape designers. For additional information, please call (707) 255-2242." -- http://cordair.com/
ALSO ON NECESSARY FACTS
Art as Ordered Narrative  
The Art of Finance 
Art & Copy 
Money is Speech 

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