Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Me and Panofsky

Erwin Panofsky


This man is a serious writer. I have had a copy of his 'Perspective as a Symbolic Form' for a few years without reading it.


As a stimulus and a stirring of the grey matter I decided to master it.
He draws on a mass of learning that I find bewildering, but with a few reference books to hand I stick with it.


It is about  the intellectual and perceptual understanding of the ages as read from the art of the time. Because the referencing of the emotional aspect of art will vary so much person to person he chooses a study of perspective because it is a science with a more rational and consistent response. 


Much is discussed about 'will to art' - that transfer from the artist's sense to his work, The connection that guides his method and subject to his person and context. 


Working through the great ages of art he concludes with a summing up that contains this sentence, 'It is thus no accident if this perspectival view of space has already succeeded twice in the course of the evolution of art: the first time as the sign of an ending, when antique theocracy crumbled; the second time as the sign of a beginning, when modern "anthropocracy" first reared itself'


Now this poses some problems for me having just toured the anthropocratic galleries of the Saatchi foundation seeing their vigourous and unrestrained promotion of the cause. With my centre of gravity firmly in the theocratic camp and my setting out on a new project 'Psalm' just how am I to project my 'antique' concepts on to modern anthropocracy with any success?


Referring back to Reigl's 'will to art' that was a cradle for Panofsky's work I must conclude, by the same token,  that my belief and context, when held together must generate art that will authentically reference my position. To what degree I can convince the tidal wave of modern anthropocracy that the antique theocratic cause is still valid remains to be seen.