Open Notes to Alexey Steele

Although technique and studio practice is obviously foundational to painting of a high quality, the style of the paintings need not imitate Impressionism, or the Academy, or the Pre-Raphaelites, or any other school; we need to work toward paintings that belong to the future, the New Millennium, building upon the foundations of the past, but not slavishly adhering to the manner of those paintings.

Studio painting that only looks backward to past glories can’t attempt to be progressive.

If we want to refresh painting, we must create imaginative works that deal with the zeitgeist of the present, feeling out the mood of our time, using some of the neglected techniques of the atelier, but not merely imitating the work of a century ago. Although its end was dismal, the Modernist revolt against the academy happened for good reasons, not least the stifling of imagination that was happening in the Salon and the Royal Academy.

If the present Novorealist revival of atelier painting techniques has a predecessor I suppose that the efforts of Aesthetic movement painters to revive the grace and elegance of painting before Raphael are the closest analogue. But the Pre-Raphaelites weren’t really attempting to revive the past, they were attempting to steer the future of painting back onto a path that they thought had been neglected.

How does this take shape in the Novorealist movement?

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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