A critique of Minimalism is a very difficult task. At first glance, the name seems to sum up much of the art history of the late eighteen hundreds and beyond. It seems, at first, to encapsulate the entire subject matter of the art form, and perhaps that is its intentions. But, if one looks deeper, in fact, the origins of Minimalism can be traced all the way back to the earliest of drama. In other words, the art of the eighteenth century was born, not built, on the back of a Minimalist production.
A Minimalist production is a piece of art, which attempts to depict the minuscule within the larger and more expansive canvas. The desire to portray the smallest of details through the use of the greatest of brushings, the greatest of shapes, the least of colors, and most of the movements gives us a glimpse of the beginnings of art history. And in this sense, we would say that Minimalism is, in fact, the most historically accurate form of art that the world of painting has ever seen. In fact, Minimalism is the key to understanding the origins of theatricalism.
A certain version of the richardmoran drama around which Minimalism was born, was actually called Manet. However, this is probably a mistake, as there is a great amount of difference between the term and the style of art that came from it. One school of thought considered it to be an early nineteenth-century reaction to the Impressionist movement that had occurred earlier in the century. This is because Impressionists were largely interested in bringing large numbers of natural elements into their work, and Manet wanted to do the same with the artistry of the audience in his paintings. But while both of these schools of thought may be right, it is important to understand how the development of the concept of Manet began, and how it relates to the development of the art of the spectator.
The word ‘impressionist’ is almost always associated with artists who worked before the appearance of photography. Impressionism did not really begin until the late nineteenth century, and so paintings like Rembrandt’s Seascape and Vincent Van Gogh’s The Rocks are thought to represent the styles and ideas of the Impressionist movement, even if they were produced much earlier. But while Impressionism had many early admirers, its heyday was short-lived, and it was soon abandoned by the mainstream of art appreciation. And so, while there are many similarities between the styles of impressionist artists and Minimalists, there are also many differences. It would therefore be a mistake to consider any one of these as representative of the entire genre.
The biggest influence on Minimalism was the style of art that came out of the studio of the artist himself. This was a natural development, as his style had already been greatly influenced by the artists of Le Corbusier, Saint Souci, and others. Minimalist art has its roots in the impressionist schools of the late nineteenth century, and so these artists gave their own unique twist to the Minimalist style. However, the influence of the studio stylists was not completely wasted on the Minimalists, for the style still included the central elements of the Impressionist school: the color wheel, the idea of a ‘negative space’, and so on. And so Minimalism became, after a brief introduction, fully committed to the style of the art of the Impressionists.
In the early years of Minimalism, there was some controversy as to whether it was actually a genuine art form since the style seemed to have no distinctive quality. Many of the Minimalists painted Abstract Art, and many of them made landscapes, but they were never able to overcome the difficulty of painting outside of the studio. In fact, the very style that excludes the studio as a tool creates the very difficulty of judging the value and merit of a work of art. It is difficult to tell whether a Minimalist painting is worth one hundred paintings of the same style.
By the end of the decade, however, when a new school of art was formed with the help of John Cage, it was possible to distinguish between Minimalism and Impressionism. Impressionism had been criticized on the grounds that it was based on too many repeating patterns, and this was pointed out against Cage. In response, Cage claimed that his painting style was far from Impressionist in its structure and ideas, but that it was Minimalist in its overall conception. This distinction was widely accepted, and to this day some call any attempt to define a ‘Minimalist painting style’ as merely an expression of the painter’s individual personality.
In reaction to all this work, more critics are beginning to question whether this type of painting is good art or just another genre. However, as the Minimalists themselves have said, if the style is bad, no style is worth practicing. If you don’t like something, do not paint it! Just like all other art forms, there is no right or wrong way to paint. As long as the work is original, you are in control.
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