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Artists have forgotten how to draw Pain is at the heart of a traditional education

Don't tell Hockney. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Don't tell Hockney. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)


August 18, 2023   6 mins

Think of poor Antonio Mini. Once a student of Michelangelo, Mini is now remembered as the most famous slacker in the history of European art. One day, the maestro sketched a couple of Virgins and instructed his pupil to copy them. The results were mixed. Mini’s efforts are lovely in their way, but they have a rushed and careless air. Five hundred years later, his homework sits in the British Museum, still inked with Michelangelo’s staccato critique: “Draw Antonio draw Antonio / draw and do not waste time.”

I had already wasted a few decades by the time I started drawing. No matter. I wanted a pastime that didn’t involve a screen. I was left with a choice between drawing and fishing. I chose the former because you need a car to reach most fishing spots, and I don’t have one. This was how I found myself boarding the bus to Dublin for a weekly evening class at the Drawing School. Classes take place in a roomy basement studio beneath Merrion Square, where serene plaster casts watch over rows of students as they work. The primary activity for a novice like me is deceptively simple. You are asked to copy a model drawing. The copy should be as exact as you can make it. The angle of every line, the internal proportions of the form, and the interplay of light and shadow must be faithfully reproduced.

This is incredibly difficult to do. The human eye is an awful cheat. You can be quite pleased with your copy until you put it next to the original and see what a mess you’ve made of everything. An ear too high, a shadow not half as dark as it needs to be. It’s a frustrating process, but compelling too. Students of all ages are genuinely absorbed in their work. The quiet is broken only by the occasional rasp of a pencil sharpener or the hushed advice of the instructors as they rove among the easels.

The model drawings are taken from the Cours de Dessin of Charles Bargue and Jean-LĂ©on GĂ©rĂŽme, a three-volume manual published between 1868 and 1873. The Cours offers a series of drawings of progressive difficulty. Plate 1 is devoted to the human eye, Plate 28 depicts a crouched female leg, Plate 52 is a bust of Brutus, and so on. Bargue drew all of the images himself, selecting examples from ancient statuary that would provide students with the best lessons in form, line and tonal value. This means that a student copies Bargue’s drawing of a cast made from a statue inspired (in most cases) by a human model. Such a daisy chain of reproduction might seem absurd. In fact, it places the student in a tradition of artistic training that stretches back to Antonio Mini and beyond.

Picasso is known to have used the Cours as a teenager, but the method’s most enthusiastic proponent was Vincent Van Gogh: “It invigorates my pencil,” he said. In September 1880, he wrote: “I work regularly on the Cours de Dessin Bargue, and intend to finish it before I undertake anything else, for each day it makes my hand as well as my mind more supple and strong.” Although copying was an arduous and frustrating process, Van Gogh described it as “nothing other than a labour of giving birth. First pain, then joy afterwards.” Ten years later, just weeks before his death, he was planning to work through the Cours again.

The point of all that copying is to charm the cheating eye into submission and learn to really see. But most art schools today do not seem particularly interested in teaching their students this foundational skill. Drawing remains a central component of the BA Fine Art at City & Guilds, Falmouth University offers a dedicated BA Drawing degree, and The Royal Drawing School has become famous for its postgraduate Drawing Year. But the majority of art schools now focus on other activities, and those who want to learn traditional skills must look elsewhere.

“Why have people stopped drawing?” as a perplexed David Hockney recently asked. Around 1920, art education in Britain began with observational drawing; first of prints and casts, then of the living human figure. You had to earn your way to the life model through practice and dedication. And there was an academic component, too: anatomy, geometry, art history. Only then could the serious work of painting and sculpting begin. Although a very different experience to Michelangelo’s workshop, it was a training that Antonio Mini would have recognised.

By the Eighties, however, this traditional education had largely disappeared from Britain’s art schools. Samuel Horler, who founded the Dublin Drawing School I attended in 2010, says his father witnessed the shift first-hand: “As a student he did life-modelling to get a bit of money. He would go out to all the art schools in London and he said it was the easiest work because no one would show up to class. So he would just sit there and wouldn’t have to do much posing because no one was coming, they were all into new media suddenly.”

William Coldstream, whose eponymous committee recommended a series of sweeping reforms to art education between 1960 and 1970, usually gets the blame for the elevation of ideas over practice. But as painter and writer Jacob Willer has shown, the death of the old order was a complex and lengthy process that began long before the Coldstream Committee was first assembled. Heads were already being turned by French abstractionism in the Twenties, a movement that did not require its adherents to be able to draw a convincing human hand. Photography’s ever-increasing reach had an equally dampening effect on realism. And by the Thirties, a peculiarly British interpretation of the Bauhaus Movement was taking hold. Walter Gropius’s 1919 Manifesto is a short exhortation to return to the crafts, or Handwerk: “[Artists] must return to the workshop. This world of mere drawing and painting of draughtsmen and applied artists must at long last become a world that builds.” In its British incarnation, Bauhaus became a rallying cry for those who wished to banish “mere drawing” from the art schools — the only problem was that most forgot to return to the workshop after they had done so.

Jacob Willer has argued that the true break from the past came when art education opened its doors to fashion’s unceasing churn and found that it could not close them again. Bauhaus Modernism was swept away by Pop Art, and the modish tide has continued to go in and out ever since. We’re all supposed to be artists now, isn’t that right? I am not so sure. Nouns tend to lose their meaning when universally applied. That is certainly Horler’s view on the matter. His grandmother is the celebrated sculptor Imogen Stuart, a member of both the Royal Hibernian Academy and Aosdána. In 2015, Stuart was elected Saoi, Ireland’s highest cultural honour. Despite these accolades, Stuart knows that there is always more to learn: “She’s hesitant about calling herself an artist,” says Horler, “And that is quite a traditional view. It shows how misunderstood art is today, that people can just call themselves artists
 From the Renaissance right up until at least the Twenties, you had to qualify. And that’s missing now.”

Horler’s Drawing School is one of an increasing number of institutions trying to bridge the artistic skills gap. These range from the glossy Florence Academy of Art and New York City’s Grand Central Atelier to boutique outfits such as the Glasgow Academy of Fine Art. Teaching approaches vary, but all these academies and ateliers are united by a conviction that learning to draw accurately and beautifully is an essential starting point for any artist. Naturally, not everyone has the time and money to attend these schools. But teaching yourself to draw has probably never been easier. Books on the subject are legion and thriving drawing communities exist online. YouTube channels such as ProkoTV pull in millions of subscribers, while digitised museum collections make it possible to learn from the work of supremely gifted and classically trained artists like KĂ€the Kollwitz and Thomas Anschutz. (Still, I suspect there’s no real substitute for a teacher looming up behind you and murmuring “what’s going on with that nose, Alex?”)

The growth of atelier education has not been universally welcomed. Despite being a critic of the contemporary art world, Willer has little time for the revival of 19th-century teaching methods either. Of both approaches he writes “they do not know what they do not know”. So, while many art schools are now little more than community theatre for the upper-middle classes, ateliers that offer a supposed recreation of a Parisian studio circa 1880 risk becoming a stultifying dead-end. Clearly, a curriculum that marries hard-won skill with creative expression is the ideal to strive for. Some argue that the only solution is to resume the Renaissance practice of seeking out a master willing to impart his or her wisdom in a private setting, away from the institutions and their various diktats.

Art schools and ateliers have their respective ultras, but Horler is not among them. For him, observational drawing is a useful tool for beginners and a handy refresher for the experienced, not an article of faith. Copying provides a solid technical grounding and a set of objective criteria through which a student’s work can be evaluated. A student working through the Cours de Dessin is not making art, he says: “I always tell students that I’m not an art school, I’m not teaching art. But you learn certain skills and techniques that will help you as an artist.”

I still draw most days. Nothing special. Household clutter, mostly. I attempted the dozing figure in Francisco Goya’s “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” a few weeks ago and was pleased with the result, until I noticed that my copy’s legs were much too small. In my case, the sleep of reason produces shrunken tibia. So I drew it again. And again. There is a compulsive element to drawing that I had not anticipated. I think it is a result of trying to see, really see. After three hours, I would walk out into Merrion Square to find that it had been rolled up and replaced with ink-damp forms and strange prospects. A busy garden square in central Dublin was now a question, the same question that Antonio Mini must have asked himself 500 years ago — how would I draw that?


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Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
10 months ago

I started drawing, just as a hobby, I drew mainly faces (copies of other drawings/photos of faces actually). It causes you to notice so much, and non-judgmentally too. The faces of everyone I met thereafter were vastly more interesting and for some reason I felt a much greater affinity with the people behind them. Sadly I subsequently got ‘too busy’ and stopped. Pity, since it is the antidote to a rushed, over-stimulated lifestyle.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Very well said. The contemplative peace accruing to those who pay sustained and scrupulous attention to the world around them, a peace absolutely secured by the business of accurate drawing, is a healing experience. And the art which results from it marries personality with reality in a most revealing way, which is why a good portrait is always, in some respects, a dialogue – either within the mind of the artist, as in so many of Rembrandt’s studies, or between artist and sitter.
The starting point for so much modernism therefore, that photography had replaced realism, could not be more mistaken.
Realism achieved by sheer personal discipline, as – for example – in the cases of Sargent or Velazquez (to take two figures from distinct eras) carries a magic, arising from interpersonal communication, which mechanical efforts at the same can never match. The same applies to symmetry – the astonishing patterns of Greek or Gothic architecture, born of the skills of great masons, carry a force which machine made copies and pastiches from the Victorian era cannot replicate.
And this was the keynote of much – not all – nineteenth century revival; mechanisms began to distance the artists from their mediums – but not, thank goodness, where painting was concerned.

Last edited 10 months ago by Simon Denis
Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I cannot draw. Therefore I have never pretended that I am in any way an artist. But I know I can’t draw, and I can see when other people can’t draw. Unlike several people I have met!

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Very well said. The contemplative peace accruing to those who pay sustained and scrupulous attention to the world around them, a peace absolutely secured by the business of accurate drawing, is a healing experience. And the art which results from it marries personality with reality in a most revealing way, which is why a good portrait is always, in some respects, a dialogue – either within the mind of the artist, as in so many of Rembrandt’s studies, or between artist and sitter.
The starting point for so much modernism therefore, that photography had replaced realism, could not be more mistaken.
Realism achieved by sheer personal discipline, as – for example – in the cases of Sargent or Velazquez (to take two figures from distinct eras) carries a magic, arising from interpersonal communication, which mechanical efforts at the same can never match. The same applies to symmetry – the astonishing patterns of Greek or Gothic architecture, born of the skills of great masons, carry a force which machine made copies and pastiches from the Victorian era cannot replicate.
And this was the keynote of much – not all – nineteenth century revival; mechanisms began to distance the artists from their mediums – but not, thank goodness, where painting was concerned.

Last edited 10 months ago by Simon Denis
Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I cannot draw. Therefore I have never pretended that I am in any way an artist. But I know I can’t draw, and I can see when other people can’t draw. Unlike several people I have met!

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
10 months ago

I started drawing, just as a hobby, I drew mainly faces (copies of other drawings/photos of faces actually). It causes you to notice so much, and non-judgmentally too. The faces of everyone I met thereafter were vastly more interesting and for some reason I felt a much greater affinity with the people behind them. Sadly I subsequently got ‘too busy’ and stopped. Pity, since it is the antidote to a rushed, over-stimulated lifestyle.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I think we live in the age of arrogance.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Who is “we”?
If you mean the West, we have been there for some centuries now, and jolly good to for everyone’s sake.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Yes I do mean the West. I am surprised by your response Charles given you are a historian. I mean the past and it’s contribution to the present is not recognised. In the past, artists would have been expected to learn to draw and paint in the style of past masters before developing their own style. My background is mathematics so I am very aware of the contributions of the past great mathematicians, there is no way of avoiding their contributions. With the development and adoption of social constructivism and critical race theory, the past is judged and found very much wanting within the context of a single theory. It is not considered necessary to understand the past just identify those who should be cancelled and excised for various manufactured reasons. There are complaints that maths is not diverse enough. Too many European names attached to theorems. The Greeks are not considered to add to the diversity and the contributions from the Muslims are generally not recognised.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

“the past and it’s contribution to the present is not recognised.”
Really? I would have thought it was an undeniable self evident truth. “Standing on the shoulders of Giants “ as we used to say.
All this nonsense about critical race theory is just divisive, and will lead us nowhere.
I think you maybe in error about the Ancient Greeks, undeniably the fountainhead of Western Civilisation, but you are correct about us ignoring early Islam.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

My point was that the ancient Greeks were not considered to add to diversity, they are lumped in with the Europeans, not that their contribution wasn’t recognised. When I was young, I was taught gratitude to the Romans for their contribution whilst occupying England, particularly for the roads, though we were glad they left. Recently, I have had independent conversations with Malaysians, Sri Lankans and Singaporeans all expressing surprise at the current attitude in the West to British colonialism. They were taught to be grateful for the British contribution to their societies, particularly bridges and railways, which doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be independent. I don’t think you know what a strangle hold critical race theory has on the institutions in this country. Children are taught to feel ashamed of the past, and the bad is emphasised. Have you watched the BBC series horrible histories widely used in schools?

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

I’ve seen them. They’re revolting, like most of what is taught to children.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

“the ancient Greeks were not considered to add to diversity”.
How simply astonishing, there are estimated to have been around a thousand Greek ‘Poleis’, (singular Polis). Each fiercely independent, and ruled by various ‘experiments’ such as Democracies, Plutocracies, Oligarchies, Tyrannies, Monarchies, Autocracies etc. The most prominent off course were Athens and Sparta, which couldn’t have been more different or diverse!
Who told you ‘we’ were ‘glad the Romans left’
You don’t need to have to seen “The Life of Brian” to know that the Romans gave Britannia everything, even Christianity!
No I haven’t watched the Horrible Histories series because I know it to be socialist tosh, even if slightly amusing. It is deplorable if it is being used to denigrate our national history, better described as the ‘soul of the nation’ for blatantly political ends.
A few years I took a young state educated boy to Cambridge for his entrance interview. Having failed persuade him that Oxford would have been a better choice, the conversation turned to English History, which he freely admitted he knew nothing about! After a crash course, hurtling along the A14, I managed to give him the basics facts, reminding him of Cecil Rhodes trenchant opinion, and telling him him that in short that English history was really a case of “Look on my works ye mighty and despair”.*
He has never looked back I gather!

(*PBS.)

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I should have said are not were. I think it is only in the last ten years people have even considered the diversity (or lack of) of those who have contributed to our collective knowledge. What was considered important was there contribution, not their race or nationality, and as you pointed out national boundaries were very different back then.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I should have said are not were. I think it is only in the last ten years people have even considered the diversity (or lack of) of those who have contributed to our collective knowledge. What was considered important was there contribution, not their race or nationality, and as you pointed out national boundaries were very different back then.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

Yep, and as we all know, “history is written by the victors”
 and for some mad reason I think we feel this especially keenly here in Wales
 I didn’t even get to learn ANY Welsh history in my Cardiff high school in the 1970’s
 Although I still remember learning about 1066 and it’s significance
 I refer you to my earlier post, lol!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

I’ve seen them. They’re revolting, like most of what is taught to children.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

“the ancient Greeks were not considered to add to diversity”.
How simply astonishing, there are estimated to have been around a thousand Greek ‘Poleis’, (singular Polis). Each fiercely independent, and ruled by various ‘experiments’ such as Democracies, Plutocracies, Oligarchies, Tyrannies, Monarchies, Autocracies etc. The most prominent off course were Athens and Sparta, which couldn’t have been more different or diverse!
Who told you ‘we’ were ‘glad the Romans left’
You don’t need to have to seen “The Life of Brian” to know that the Romans gave Britannia everything, even Christianity!
No I haven’t watched the Horrible Histories series because I know it to be socialist tosh, even if slightly amusing. It is deplorable if it is being used to denigrate our national history, better described as the ‘soul of the nation’ for blatantly political ends.
A few years I took a young state educated boy to Cambridge for his entrance interview. Having failed persuade him that Oxford would have been a better choice, the conversation turned to English History, which he freely admitted he knew nothing about! After a crash course, hurtling along the A14, I managed to give him the basics facts, reminding him of Cecil Rhodes trenchant opinion, and telling him him that in short that English history was really a case of “Look on my works ye mighty and despair”.*
He has never looked back I gather!

(*PBS.)

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

Yep, and as we all know, “history is written by the victors”
 and for some mad reason I think we feel this especially keenly here in Wales
 I didn’t even get to learn ANY Welsh history in my Cardiff high school in the 1970’s
 Although I still remember learning about 1066 and it’s significance
 I refer you to my earlier post, lol!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

To recognise’We stand upon the shoulders of giants’ is an expression of humility. Those who loudly condemn the past tend to either ignore the debt or be ignorant of the debt.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

My point was that the ancient Greeks were not considered to add to diversity, they are lumped in with the Europeans, not that their contribution wasn’t recognised. When I was young, I was taught gratitude to the Romans for their contribution whilst occupying England, particularly for the roads, though we were glad they left. Recently, I have had independent conversations with Malaysians, Sri Lankans and Singaporeans all expressing surprise at the current attitude in the West to British colonialism. They were taught to be grateful for the British contribution to their societies, particularly bridges and railways, which doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be independent. I don’t think you know what a strangle hold critical race theory has on the institutions in this country. Children are taught to feel ashamed of the past, and the bad is emphasised. Have you watched the BBC series horrible histories widely used in schools?

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

To recognise’We stand upon the shoulders of giants’ is an expression of humility. Those who loudly condemn the past tend to either ignore the debt or be ignorant of the debt.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago

A few years ago there was a national drawing prize, which was won by a ‘sound drawing’. I.e., someone recording their voice describing something

Last edited 10 months ago by Benedict Waterson
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

That’s bonkers but so is the idea a man can become a woman and vice versa and that women who object to men exposing themselves in women’s changing rooms should be sent for re-education (Lia Thomas case). Those who awarded the prize no doubt consider themselves intellectually superior with a greater understanding of art than those who object on the basis a prize for drawing should satisfy the minimum criteria of actually being a physical drawing drawn by the winner.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago

Yeh the common thread is a capture of elite institutions and traditions by a sort of bourgeois progressive posturing.. I.e., ‘this is ”radical” so it distinguishes me’ mindset. Culture of narcissism

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago

Yeh the common thread is a capture of elite institutions and traditions by a sort of bourgeois progressive posturing.. I.e., ‘this is ”radical” so it distinguishes me’ mindset. Culture of narcissism

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Good God. Not surprising, though. I recall a few years ago two demi-verbal girls won a high school debate competition for essentially hooting at their opponents and screeching.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

That’s bonkers but so is the idea a man can become a woman and vice versa and that women who object to men exposing themselves in women’s changing rooms should be sent for re-education (Lia Thomas case). Those who awarded the prize no doubt consider themselves intellectually superior with a greater understanding of art than those who object on the basis a prize for drawing should satisfy the minimum criteria of actually being a physical drawing drawn by the winner.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Good God. Not surprising, though. I recall a few years ago two demi-verbal girls won a high school debate competition for essentially hooting at their opponents and screeching.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

“Learn to draw and paint in the style of past masters”
 hmmm, I think that says it all Aphrodite Rising
 with a name like that I’m surprised you’re buying into this current ‘art’ bullshit that began with the renaissance (blokes, a LOT of gay blokes but hey) Or, as Ruskin once said, “All women’s art is but pale imitation of men’s”
 he was quite right at the time, he was referring to art ‘business’ I think, which is a whole other ballgame and not the same thing at all

As for those vaunted ye olde Greeks, well, they didn’t even have a word for ‘art’ as we ‘understand’ it today
 Art, that’s always been something in flux as the FUNCTION of art changes through time
 check out some cave paintings or blah blah ad infinitum. Don’t even get me started on traditional ‘women’s’ art and the disregard in Britain for the ‘Bayeux Tapestry’
 Ffs

Maths, doesn’t it work something like this if I remember my first lessons? If I have 2 apples and you have 2 apples and I give you my 2 apples you have 4 apples
 2➕2 equals 4. Well, no, not from MY perspective, from my perspective it equals ➖2
I guess that’s why I became an artist and not a mathematician!! Nothing exists in a vacuum, truth is a matter of perspective and yes, we are, only where we are because of what’s gone before âœŒâŁïž

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

The Greeks didn’t have a word for science but Aristotle is still considered to be the father of science. Just because something is not named does not mean it doesn’t exist. I don’t agree that truth is a matter of perspective. Maths is as close to truth as it is possibly to be in this world. Mathematicians are often extremely creative, Lewis Carroll was a mathematician. It’s clear you have absolutely no understanding of maths as you are confusing it with arithmetic.There are people who are brilliant at arithmetic but cannot do maths. Both are about abstraction, numbers are an abstraction. Neither arithmetic nor maths makes any claims about your apples and how you feel but it can be applied: you don’t possess minus 2 apples, you had four apples and two have been taken away which means you have two apples. Negative numbers had to be invented because originally numbers were used for counting and if a minus means not to have then it didn’t make sense because you cannot count what you do not have, that was the argument centuries ago. Similarly, zero was objected to initially on the basis you cannot have nothing of something. I can see maths eludes you.
I appreciate genius regardless of the sex of the genius . I consider Plato to be one of the greatest thinkers ever and it is a privilege and delight to read his work. Without maths you would not be part of this discussion, it would not exist, because there would be no mobile phones, no computers, no electronics.
Also there is a difference between a professional artist and people painting and drawing. I see it as a sign of dumbing down, the less talent, effort and skill required to become an artist the greater the market for the courses.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

What no mention of Euclid or Pythagoras?

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Euclid is considered to be one of the greatest of all time, maybe even the greatest. He kind of created the template for maths. It is doubtful Pythagoras proved the theorem attributed to him, though it could have come out of the Pythagorean school. The Babylonians knew it was true because they used it when measuring out fields, but it was the Greeks who proved it, it was the Greeks who came up with the concept of a proof.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Empirical evidence, ‘logos’ etc.
As I recall AR are you not a devout Christian? The very antithesis of ‘logos’.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Strange you should say that as science was traditionally viewed as discovering the divine logos and still is by some (seeing into the mind of God, example John Lennox, Oxford professor of maths emeritus – you might like to watch/ listen to him on YouTube). I don’t think I am very devout. There are two completely different approaches to God: mysticism and divine revelation, the other through reason. I must admit mysticism and revelation appeal most to me plus truth. John’s gospel is the one that really speaks to me, it both contains truth and is closest to the platonic tradition. I suspect my God is closest to the God of the philosophers – those who sought truth.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

The first near contemporary critique seems to have been provided by one Pliny the Younger in the very early second century, whilst he was Proconsul (Governor) of the province of Pontus et Bythinia.
Despite his ‘platonic’ education he was not terribly impressed, as you probably know.
Anyway each to their own!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

There have always been atheists and agnostics but never before so many as there are now.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Surely that’s just demographics?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

And your point is?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

We have no idea what percentage of the World population were atheist or agnostics in say the first century. In fact how could we?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

True, but I thought it generally recognised that most believed in many gods if not one. The gods existed to explain that which was not understood. The move from the many to the one was considered an intellectual/ religious development. Religious belief decreased with the rise of science. Scientific reasons usurped the place of the gods. Though first and final causes remain tricky.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Akhenaten has a lot to answer for.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Just ahead of his time.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Tutankhamon & Co obviously didn’t think so.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I mean the world, or at least Egypt was not ready for his ideas and wouldn’t be for at least another thousand years.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

When the Pax Romana reigned supreme.

But one must ask what was the ‘God person’ doing in 1350 BC? Just waiting perhaps?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

For the evolution of ideas to have reached a certain point I guess and the development of moral thought. Christianity was quite radical in its assertion we are all equal in the eyes of God. The rational explanation must be intact (Leibniz).

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Thus a choice between a Leibniz (died 1716) or Darwin (died1882).

Since then I think you will admit that Darwin has done most of the running!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

It is fundamental to science that there is a rational explanation for the universe which might seem like self-evident today but wasn’t in Leibniz time. He was a contemporary of Newton and Newtonian physics was radical at the time. Newton was accused of introducing an occult power (gravity). Leibniz and Newton simultaneously invented calculus. Newton accused Leibniz of stealing his ideas which was incredibly unlikely but Newton was in the habit of stealing ideas when he was head of the Royal Society so it could have been projection. Anyway, they were both geniuses.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

I would have thought that Darwin gave us the must ‘rational explanation’ as to what we are. A species of superannuated African ape, no ifs no buts.
As to the ‘universe’ we shall have to wait for AI to work that out.
Incidentally wasn’t Newton obsessed by Alchemy?
In the meantime as splendid old Horace tells us, “carpe diem”.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Yes Newton was a product of medieval thought or an extension of it. Kind of half in half out, though the proportions are probably wrong. Darwin was standing on the shoulders of Newton and Leibniz.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Yes but he ‘saw the light’ and they didn’t, or even couldn’t.
Just a question of timing.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I can see you ate beginning to understand my line of reasoning.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I can see you ate beginning to understand my line of reasoning.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Yes but he ‘saw the light’ and they didn’t, or even couldn’t.
Just a question of timing.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Yes Newton was a product of medieval thought or an extension of it. Kind of half in half out, though the proportions are probably wrong. Darwin was standing on the shoulders of Newton and Leibniz.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

I would have thought that Darwin gave us the must ‘rational explanation’ as to what we are. A species of superannuated African ape, no ifs no buts.
As to the ‘universe’ we shall have to wait for AI to work that out.
Incidentally wasn’t Newton obsessed by Alchemy?
In the meantime as splendid old Horace tells us, “carpe diem”.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

It is fundamental to science that there is a rational explanation for the universe which might seem like self-evident today but wasn’t in Leibniz time. He was a contemporary of Newton and Newtonian physics was radical at the time. Newton was accused of introducing an occult power (gravity). Leibniz and Newton simultaneously invented calculus. Newton accused Leibniz of stealing his ideas which was incredibly unlikely but Newton was in the habit of stealing ideas when he was head of the Royal Society so it could have been projection. Anyway, they were both geniuses.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Thus a choice between a Leibniz (died 1716) or Darwin (died1882).

Since then I think you will admit that Darwin has done most of the running!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

For the evolution of ideas to have reached a certain point I guess and the development of moral thought. Christianity was quite radical in its assertion we are all equal in the eyes of God. The rational explanation must be intact (Leibniz).

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

When the Pax Romana reigned supreme.

But one must ask what was the ‘God person’ doing in 1350 BC? Just waiting perhaps?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I mean the world, or at least Egypt was not ready for his ideas and wouldn’t be for at least another thousand years.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Tutankhamon & Co obviously didn’t think so.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Just ahead of his time.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Akhenaten has a lot to answer for.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

True, but I thought it generally recognised that most believed in many gods if not one. The gods existed to explain that which was not understood. The move from the many to the one was considered an intellectual/ religious development. Religious belief decreased with the rise of science. Scientific reasons usurped the place of the gods. Though first and final causes remain tricky.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

We have no idea what percentage of the World population were atheist or agnostics in say the first century. In fact how could we?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

And your point is?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Surely that’s just demographics?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

There have always been atheists and agnostics but never before so many as there are now.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

The first near contemporary critique seems to have been provided by one Pliny the Younger in the very early second century, whilst he was Proconsul (Governor) of the province of Pontus et Bythinia.
Despite his ‘platonic’ education he was not terribly impressed, as you probably know.
Anyway each to their own!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Strange you should say that as science was traditionally viewed as discovering the divine logos and still is by some (seeing into the mind of God, example John Lennox, Oxford professor of maths emeritus – you might like to watch/ listen to him on YouTube). I don’t think I am very devout. There are two completely different approaches to God: mysticism and divine revelation, the other through reason. I must admit mysticism and revelation appeal most to me plus truth. John’s gospel is the one that really speaks to me, it both contains truth and is closest to the platonic tradition. I suspect my God is closest to the God of the philosophers – those who sought truth.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Empirical evidence, ‘logos’ etc.
As I recall AR are you not a devout Christian? The very antithesis of ‘logos’.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Euclid is considered to be one of the greatest of all time, maybe even the greatest. He kind of created the template for maths. It is doubtful Pythagoras proved the theorem attributed to him, though it could have come out of the Pythagorean school. The Babylonians knew it was true because they used it when measuring out fields, but it was the Greeks who proved it, it was the Greeks who came up with the concept of a proof.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

Maths, I did say that’s why I became an artist and not a mathematician! Plato? Even I’ve heard of him. Go on then, name me ONE Greek artist from that era
 you won’t be able to off the top of your head and neither can I. I wonder why that would be? As for not having this “conversation”, this is not a conversation, that’s something that happens in the real world where one can hear intonation, read facial expressions and gestures, body language etc
 writing is an art form wildly open to interpretation (they’re still parsing the Torah for Christ’s sake, and how long ago was that written?) Remember your Lit Crit lessons in school? If writing isn’t an interpretive art form, why did we even bother with that?
As for dumbing down art, well for a mathematician, you obviously have a very strong notion of what art should look like, what it’s function should be and that there should be a distinct difference between the professional and “just” painting and drawing – what, the difference between the shit those cave painters made and stuff Giotto came out with and then the shit Giotto came out with compared to what Michelangelo did and so on and so forth? According to Gombrich in his book ‘The Story of Art’ there’s not ONE woman artist worthy of mention
 probably because they were ‘unprofessional’
 In fact, just over a century ago you’d find tons more naked women on the walls of a gallery than represented among the artists
 not soft porn at all, just in the ‘classical’ tradition
 Yeah, right
 Oh for the good old days, before the “dumbing down” of art lol lol lol. If more people are interested in making art, then I think that’s a BRILLIANT thing, I reckon everyone has at least ONE masterpiece in them and it’s the teacher’s job to try and bring it out.
Art is completely subjective and ALWAYS says more about the viewer, you included, and their reaction to a piece than the artist. The same is true of the written word. Interesting, non? Life as one big Rorschach
 there’s probably even an elegant mathematical model for it somewhere
 âœŒâŁïž

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

I think you are confusing the arts and art, or it maybe that it is another point where the English language as spoken by the English and the American language differ. There is art and the arts: as opposed to the sciences. Just because I can’t name a great Ancient Greek artist doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When I was a child, I lived in Cyprus for three years and when I was young, I spent a lot of time travelling In Greece so I am very aware of the existence and skill of the Ancient Greeks artists. They were one of the greatest civilisations and highly cultured. There is a saying in England that everyone has a novel in them – not necessarily a good one. I think it highly unlikely that everyone has a masterpiece in them. Masterpieces are rare and consequently highly valued. I think feminists would be better off proving themselves to be the artistic equals of men rather than blaming men for them not being so.
As for professional and non-professional artists, we live in an era when anyone can be exposed to the traditional drawing skills, can be ‘apprenticed’ without knowing the teacher. The dumbing down exists because students don’t want to do the hours and hours and hours of work developing the skills. The article is about the benefit of developing the skills. Pure Mathematics is interesting because it is neither an art nor a science yet in some ways is both.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

OMG
 “artistic equals of men”???! Give me back my apples! Ancient Greece, that hotbed of misogyny that then got used as an excuse for every “there I was, sitting in a park having a picnic with some blokes and waddya know, all my clothes fell off and some bloke came along and said hold still while he painted us” or “there I was, going about my intimate toilette when some bloke said
” that kinda artistic equal? Nothing to do with feminism at all, but a WHOLE lot to do with the demographic of who was buying that ‘classically inspired’ shit you seem to hold in such high esteem
 go figure
 ‘Rape of Lucretia’ anybody? I know you can, but why would you want to paint that? Probably nothing to do with market forces at all, right? Classical, lol
 That hoary old chestnut, the ‘Ancient Greece’ justification covers a whole multitude of artistic sins

Men can NEVER be the creative equals of women, it’s written into the very fibre of our beings, which is why, ‘art’ historically, men have always been trying to play creative catch up
 and sometimes not very kindly either
 poor lambs
 must be dreadful for them

“Art and the arts”, kinda like ‘science’ and the ‘sciences’?
English and American English? Dunno, I’m Welsh so writing all this in a second language anyway


Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

Sounds like you have been thoroughly indoctrinated which is sad because it has probably had a rather dampening effect on your creativity. Would you rather all the masterpieces you despise were destroyed? Vice is not the provenance of just one sex. I knew a female photographer who used her profession and skill to gain access to and help her bed young men she was attracted to.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

I never said I despised that kinda art
 I find them “poor lambs” funny, well crafted funny, but funny nonetheless. We are only where we are because of what’s gone before, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it etc. etc. As for indoctrination, by whom? Perhaps you should be asking that question of yourself ms. 2plus2equals? Of course, vice is not the provenance sic of just one sex, although you are describing abuse of a ‘power’ position, which, for millennia has been overwhelmingly the male preserve
 I think that’s a classic example of the abused becoming the abuser what your female friend did
 she probably takes tips from Picasso or Modigliani or Gaugin or or or
 a whole swathe of artists from the renaissance onwards
 As for the art I produce? You don’t have a clue what it looks like, what mediums I use or anything, yet are happy to make assumptions sight unseen
 gosh, remember what I said about art saying more about the viewer than
? Just my writing did the trick, lol, imagine what
?! Keep my apples, I don’t even want them anymore (said Eve
) âœŒâŁïž

P.S. Very much enjoying our discourse

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

I never said I despised that kinda art
 I find them “poor lambs” funny, well crafted funny, but funny nonetheless. We are only where we are because of what’s gone before, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it etc. etc. As for indoctrination, by whom? Perhaps you should be asking that question of yourself ms. 2plus2equals? Of course, vice is not the provenance sic of just one sex, although you are describing abuse of a ‘power’ position, which, for millennia has been overwhelmingly the male preserve
 I think that’s a classic example of the abused becoming the abuser what your female friend did
 she probably takes tips from Picasso or Modigliani or Gaugin or or or
 a whole swathe of artists from the renaissance onwards
 As for the art I produce? You don’t have a clue what it looks like, what mediums I use or anything, yet are happy to make assumptions sight unseen
 gosh, remember what I said about art saying more about the viewer than
? Just my writing did the trick, lol, imagine what
?! Keep my apples, I don’t even want them anymore (said Eve
) âœŒâŁïž

P.S. Very much enjoying our discourse

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

Sounds like you have been thoroughly indoctrinated which is sad because it has probably had a rather dampening effect on your creativity. Would you rather all the masterpieces you despise were destroyed? Vice is not the provenance of just one sex. I knew a female photographer who used her profession and skill to gain access to and help her bed young men she was attracted to.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

OMG
 “artistic equals of men”???! Give me back my apples! Ancient Greece, that hotbed of misogyny that then got used as an excuse for every “there I was, sitting in a park having a picnic with some blokes and waddya know, all my clothes fell off and some bloke came along and said hold still while he painted us” or “there I was, going about my intimate toilette when some bloke said
” that kinda artistic equal? Nothing to do with feminism at all, but a WHOLE lot to do with the demographic of who was buying that ‘classically inspired’ shit you seem to hold in such high esteem
 go figure
 ‘Rape of Lucretia’ anybody? I know you can, but why would you want to paint that? Probably nothing to do with market forces at all, right? Classical, lol
 That hoary old chestnut, the ‘Ancient Greece’ justification covers a whole multitude of artistic sins

Men can NEVER be the creative equals of women, it’s written into the very fibre of our beings, which is why, ‘art’ historically, men have always been trying to play creative catch up
 and sometimes not very kindly either
 poor lambs
 must be dreadful for them

“Art and the arts”, kinda like ‘science’ and the ‘sciences’?
English and American English? Dunno, I’m Welsh so writing all this in a second language anyway


Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

PRAXITELES.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

I think you are confusing the arts and art, or it maybe that it is another point where the English language as spoken by the English and the American language differ. There is art and the arts: as opposed to the sciences. Just because I can’t name a great Ancient Greek artist doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When I was a child, I lived in Cyprus for three years and when I was young, I spent a lot of time travelling In Greece so I am very aware of the existence and skill of the Ancient Greeks artists. They were one of the greatest civilisations and highly cultured. There is a saying in England that everyone has a novel in them – not necessarily a good one. I think it highly unlikely that everyone has a masterpiece in them. Masterpieces are rare and consequently highly valued. I think feminists would be better off proving themselves to be the artistic equals of men rather than blaming men for them not being so.
As for professional and non-professional artists, we live in an era when anyone can be exposed to the traditional drawing skills, can be ‘apprenticed’ without knowing the teacher. The dumbing down exists because students don’t want to do the hours and hours and hours of work developing the skills. The article is about the benefit of developing the skills. Pure Mathematics is interesting because it is neither an art nor a science yet in some ways is both.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

PRAXITELES.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

And who taught Plato?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Socrates. Prior to Plato, I don’t think there was really a written tradition.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Sorry what I meant was Plato, as he freely admits, owed an enormous amount to Socrates, even if Socrates was too damned idle to write anything down!
Pre-Socratic philosophers certainly wrote copiously, but as with so much of the Classical World hardly anything has survived! An unmitigated catastrophe for humanity it must be said.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Thank you. Some of the pre-Socratic philosophers/ philosophies are referenced/ documented in post Socratic writings.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Thank you. Some of the pre-Socratic philosophers/ philosophies are referenced/ documented in post Socratic writings.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Sorry what I meant was Plato, as he freely admits, owed an enormous amount to Socrates, even if Socrates was too damned idle to write anything down!
Pre-Socratic philosophers certainly wrote copiously, but as with so much of the Classical World hardly anything has survived! An unmitigated catastrophe for humanity it must be said.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Socrates. Prior to Plato, I don’t think there was really a written tradition.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

What no mention of Euclid or Pythagoras?

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

Maths, I did say that’s why I became an artist and not a mathematician! Plato? Even I’ve heard of him. Go on then, name me ONE Greek artist from that era
 you won’t be able to off the top of your head and neither can I. I wonder why that would be? As for not having this “conversation”, this is not a conversation, that’s something that happens in the real world where one can hear intonation, read facial expressions and gestures, body language etc
 writing is an art form wildly open to interpretation (they’re still parsing the Torah for Christ’s sake, and how long ago was that written?) Remember your Lit Crit lessons in school? If writing isn’t an interpretive art form, why did we even bother with that?
As for dumbing down art, well for a mathematician, you obviously have a very strong notion of what art should look like, what it’s function should be and that there should be a distinct difference between the professional and “just” painting and drawing – what, the difference between the shit those cave painters made and stuff Giotto came out with and then the shit Giotto came out with compared to what Michelangelo did and so on and so forth? According to Gombrich in his book ‘The Story of Art’ there’s not ONE woman artist worthy of mention
 probably because they were ‘unprofessional’
 In fact, just over a century ago you’d find tons more naked women on the walls of a gallery than represented among the artists
 not soft porn at all, just in the ‘classical’ tradition
 Yeah, right
 Oh for the good old days, before the “dumbing down” of art lol lol lol. If more people are interested in making art, then I think that’s a BRILLIANT thing, I reckon everyone has at least ONE masterpiece in them and it’s the teacher’s job to try and bring it out.
Art is completely subjective and ALWAYS says more about the viewer, you included, and their reaction to a piece than the artist. The same is true of the written word. Interesting, non? Life as one big Rorschach
 there’s probably even an elegant mathematical model for it somewhere
 âœŒâŁïž

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

And who taught Plato?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Davina Powell

The Greeks didn’t have a word for science but Aristotle is still considered to be the father of science. Just because something is not named does not mean it doesn’t exist. I don’t agree that truth is a matter of perspective. Maths is as close to truth as it is possibly to be in this world. Mathematicians are often extremely creative, Lewis Carroll was a mathematician. It’s clear you have absolutely no understanding of maths as you are confusing it with arithmetic.There are people who are brilliant at arithmetic but cannot do maths. Both are about abstraction, numbers are an abstraction. Neither arithmetic nor maths makes any claims about your apples and how you feel but it can be applied: you don’t possess minus 2 apples, you had four apples and two have been taken away which means you have two apples. Negative numbers had to be invented because originally numbers were used for counting and if a minus means not to have then it didn’t make sense because you cannot count what you do not have, that was the argument centuries ago. Similarly, zero was objected to initially on the basis you cannot have nothing of something. I can see maths eludes you.
I appreciate genius regardless of the sex of the genius . I consider Plato to be one of the greatest thinkers ever and it is a privilege and delight to read his work. Without maths you would not be part of this discussion, it would not exist, because there would be no mobile phones, no computers, no electronics.
Also there is a difference between a professional artist and people painting and drawing. I see it as a sign of dumbing down, the less talent, effort and skill required to become an artist the greater the market for the courses.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

“the past and it’s contribution to the present is not recognised.”
Really? I would have thought it was an undeniable self evident truth. “Standing on the shoulders of Giants “ as we used to say.
All this nonsense about critical race theory is just divisive, and will lead us nowhere.
I think you maybe in error about the Ancient Greeks, undeniably the fountainhead of Western Civilisation, but you are correct about us ignoring early Islam.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago

A few years ago there was a national drawing prize, which was won by a ‘sound drawing’. I.e., someone recording their voice describing something

Last edited 10 months ago by Benedict Waterson
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

“Learn to draw and paint in the style of past masters”
 hmmm, I think that says it all Aphrodite Rising
 with a name like that I’m surprised you’re buying into this current ‘art’ bullshit that began with the renaissance (blokes, a LOT of gay blokes but hey) Or, as Ruskin once said, “All women’s art is but pale imitation of men’s”
 he was quite right at the time, he was referring to art ‘business’ I think, which is a whole other ballgame and not the same thing at all

As for those vaunted ye olde Greeks, well, they didn’t even have a word for ‘art’ as we ‘understand’ it today
 Art, that’s always been something in flux as the FUNCTION of art changes through time
 check out some cave paintings or blah blah ad infinitum. Don’t even get me started on traditional ‘women’s’ art and the disregard in Britain for the ‘Bayeux Tapestry’
 Ffs

Maths, doesn’t it work something like this if I remember my first lessons? If I have 2 apples and you have 2 apples and I give you my 2 apples you have 4 apples
 2➕2 equals 4. Well, no, not from MY perspective, from my perspective it equals ➖2
I guess that’s why I became an artist and not a mathematician!! Nothing exists in a vacuum, truth is a matter of perspective and yes, we are, only where we are because of what’s gone before âœŒâŁïž

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

Yes I do mean the West. I am surprised by your response Charles given you are a historian. I mean the past and it’s contribution to the present is not recognised. In the past, artists would have been expected to learn to draw and paint in the style of past masters before developing their own style. My background is mathematics so I am very aware of the contributions of the past great mathematicians, there is no way of avoiding their contributions. With the development and adoption of social constructivism and critical race theory, the past is judged and found very much wanting within the context of a single theory. It is not considered necessary to understand the past just identify those who should be cancelled and excised for various manufactured reasons. There are complaints that maths is not diverse enough. Too many European names attached to theorems. The Greeks are not considered to add to the diversity and the contributions from the Muslims are generally not recognised.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
10 months ago

The arrogance of forgetfulness.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Who is “we”?
If you mean the West, we have been there for some centuries now, and jolly good to for everyone’s sake.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
10 months ago

The arrogance of forgetfulness.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago

I think we live in the age of arrogance.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

“…the true break from the past came when art education opened its doors to fashion’s unceasing churn and found that it could not close them again.”
Applies to pretty much every institution and underlies most of the accelerating slide into mediocre and mindless chaos that afflicts every aspect of our culture today.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

“Fashion’s unceasing churn”? Please excuse me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that commonly known as “the bedrock of capitalism”?
“Mindless chaos”
 hmmm
 something only stupid people could subscribe to then? Good to know, please, someone, tell all armed forces to cease and desist creating “mindless chaos” immediately
 oh, that’s not what you meant? And anyway, they’re just battling entropy?! Good to know you have your cultural priorities in order.
Society gets the art that it deserves


Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

“Fashion’s unceasing churn”? Please excuse me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that commonly known as “the bedrock of capitalism”?
“Mindless chaos”
 hmmm
 something only stupid people could subscribe to then? Good to know, please, someone, tell all armed forces to cease and desist creating “mindless chaos” immediately
 oh, that’s not what you meant? And anyway, they’re just battling entropy?! Good to know you have your cultural priorities in order.
Society gets the art that it deserves


Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

“…the true break from the past came when art education opened its doors to fashion’s unceasing churn and found that it could not close them again.”
Applies to pretty much every institution and underlies most of the accelerating slide into mediocre and mindless chaos that afflicts every aspect of our culture today.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
10 months ago

A wonderful article. Well, that’s just inspired me to go back to drawing. Thank you.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
10 months ago

A wonderful article. Well, that’s just inspired me to go back to drawing. Thank you.

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
10 months ago

The process of learning to draw is absolutely the foundation for any artistic endeavor, even if you move on from drawing as a medium and never use a pencil or charcoal again.

It is the process of learning to see, yes, but specifically it’s the process of first unlearning the process of seeing with the part of the brain that reduces things to graspable symbols and concepts (reducing phenomena to what you already expect), and then being woken up to the near-shocking intricacies, variations, and fluctuations in the world (encountering the phenomena you are actually and uniquely experiencing).

A novice, for example, draws an eye as a symmetrical almond shape, whereas one who draws using unfiltered vision (interesting comparison there to what some with autism experience) traces the unique shape of the subject eye, it’s convex and concave shapes, and creates a precise representation. In that way, learning to draw is also the process of linking together the movements of hand and eye.

That’s not even getting into the acct if drawing as a way to develop a visual composition. That’s also not even getting into drawing as the act of idea generation, the process of non-rational thinking being concretized and physically manifested, in the same way that writing does the same for rational thinking.

Do yourself a favor and draw!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Sapio

It’s quite simply NOT the foundation for artistic endeavour. I don’t denigrate those who wish to draw, but you seem to wish to denigrate those who don’t, yet become successful as artists. Let gallery space decide… and history.

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Didn’t denigrate anything… Just sharing wisdom of working with students at the highest level.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

For example how come the Mona Lisa is so valuable? I wouldn’t want to live with that muddy little painting with her self satisfied smug smirk
 (personally I’d prefer to live with the Duchamp version, at least that’s funny! Says a lot about da Vinci for a start
) It’s the narrative that makes it so especially valuable in that it was stolen a number of times and the kicker
 Napoleon bought it for Josephine

Also, museums can’t keep on collecting and keeping artefacts
 otherwise at some point in the future they’re gonna reach ‘critical mass’
 now that should make things interesting!

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Didn’t denigrate anything… Just sharing wisdom of working with students at the highest level.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

For example how come the Mona Lisa is so valuable? I wouldn’t want to live with that muddy little painting with her self satisfied smug smirk
 (personally I’d prefer to live with the Duchamp version, at least that’s funny! Says a lot about da Vinci for a start
) It’s the narrative that makes it so especially valuable in that it was stolen a number of times and the kicker
 Napoleon bought it for Josephine

Also, museums can’t keep on collecting and keeping artefacts
 otherwise at some point in the future they’re gonna reach ‘critical mass’
 now that should make things interesting!

Last edited 10 months ago by Davina Powell
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Sapio

Your second paragraph
 isn’t that called tripping?! Lol
 Quite right though, there’s a big difference between looking at the world around you and looking at the world around you with a view to drawing it. And of course, practice makes perfect in that the more you practice with your ‘artist’ eye, the easier it becomes to slip into it
 but getting a 3D image from inside your head and back out in a ‘pleasing’ (note I didn’t say it had to necessarily be accurate) 2D format, well, that’s where the ‘art’ bit comes in


Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Sapio

It’s quite simply NOT the foundation for artistic endeavour. I don’t denigrate those who wish to draw, but you seem to wish to denigrate those who don’t, yet become successful as artists. Let gallery space decide… and history.

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Sapio

Your second paragraph
 isn’t that called tripping?! Lol
 Quite right though, there’s a big difference between looking at the world around you and looking at the world around you with a view to drawing it. And of course, practice makes perfect in that the more you practice with your ‘artist’ eye, the easier it becomes to slip into it
 but getting a 3D image from inside your head and back out in a ‘pleasing’ (note I didn’t say it had to necessarily be accurate) 2D format, well, that’s where the ‘art’ bit comes in


Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
10 months ago

The process of learning to draw is absolutely the foundation for any artistic endeavor, even if you move on from drawing as a medium and never use a pencil or charcoal again.

It is the process of learning to see, yes, but specifically it’s the process of first unlearning the process of seeing with the part of the brain that reduces things to graspable symbols and concepts (reducing phenomena to what you already expect), and then being woken up to the near-shocking intricacies, variations, and fluctuations in the world (encountering the phenomena you are actually and uniquely experiencing).

A novice, for example, draws an eye as a symmetrical almond shape, whereas one who draws using unfiltered vision (interesting comparison there to what some with autism experience) traces the unique shape of the subject eye, it’s convex and concave shapes, and creates a precise representation. In that way, learning to draw is also the process of linking together the movements of hand and eye.

That’s not even getting into the acct if drawing as a way to develop a visual composition. That’s also not even getting into drawing as the act of idea generation, the process of non-rational thinking being concretized and physically manifested, in the same way that writing does the same for rational thinking.

Do yourself a favor and draw!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago

Let those who wish to draw, draw. There is a certain element of serenity-inducing absorption involved which can act as an antidote to the “always on” life we now lead.

However, it would be very wrong to make it a requirement for engaging in the business of art production which leads to exhibition with a gallery and the critique involved in that endeavour. The author seems at one point to be suggesting that being an “artist” should have some kind of barrier, or hurdle to be crossed. Well, that’s the only hurdle that matters: whether others think one’s work is worth the precious wall (or room) space afforded to it.

Of course not everyone who thinks of themselves as an artist can find themselves in that position. More than technical skill, having a hinterland that can be communicated in this manner is the essence of the matter; technical skill at drawing on its own without having something worthwhile to comminicate does not make one an artist. There’s also something to be said for being able to see beyond the surface of what our immediate vision shows us.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, the requirement for foundational academic drawing skills referred to a cultural landscape, pre-photography, where historical figurative painting was still important – or large-scale figurative art making public cultural statements. Now, like everything else, painting has become substantially commercialised and focused towards the private sphere

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The difference between ‘art’ and ‘art business’
 they are not the same thing at all and perform vastly different functions. One is to please oneself and the other is to make money
 the holy grail is to somehow combine the two


Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, the requirement for foundational academic drawing skills referred to a cultural landscape, pre-photography, where historical figurative painting was still important – or large-scale figurative art making public cultural statements. Now, like everything else, painting has become substantially commercialised and focused towards the private sphere

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The difference between ‘art’ and ‘art business’
 they are not the same thing at all and perform vastly different functions. One is to please oneself and the other is to make money
 the holy grail is to somehow combine the two


Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago

Let those who wish to draw, draw. There is a certain element of serenity-inducing absorption involved which can act as an antidote to the “always on” life we now lead.

However, it would be very wrong to make it a requirement for engaging in the business of art production which leads to exhibition with a gallery and the critique involved in that endeavour. The author seems at one point to be suggesting that being an “artist” should have some kind of barrier, or hurdle to be crossed. Well, that’s the only hurdle that matters: whether others think one’s work is worth the precious wall (or room) space afforded to it.

Of course not everyone who thinks of themselves as an artist can find themselves in that position. More than technical skill, having a hinterland that can be communicated in this manner is the essence of the matter; technical skill at drawing on its own without having something worthwhile to comminicate does not make one an artist. There’s also something to be said for being able to see beyond the surface of what our immediate vision shows us.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Lovely essay. I started drawing at age three – a fresco of sorts: hundreds of tiny smiley faces on the walls of the foyer closet. After my parents painted them over, they supplied me with materials and I graduated to copying Archie and Veronica comics, which I later made pornographic and sold to boy classmates in Third Grade.
The best advice I have given to every aspiring artist is draw with a pen. You can’t erase, so you train your eye to be very accurate, and you don’t waste time with unnecessary rendering. Your line becomes a sort of short hand and can convey whole emotions with a few short strokes. Then, if you wish to render, you can go in depth with whatever other medium you wish. Try it! It really is a great technique at any stage in your artistic life.

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

An artist mentor of mine said that one thing he noticed in his life drawing classes is that when he had a male life model in, the women always seemed to draw the p***s (he used a less polite word!) bigger than it was, whilst the men, well, they tended to go the other way
 Hmmm
 lol

Davina Powell
Davina Powell
10 months ago

An artist mentor of mine said that one thing he noticed in his life drawing classes is that when he had a male life model in, the women always seemed to draw the p***s (he used a less polite word!) bigger than it was, whilst the men, well, they tended to go the other way
 Hmmm
 lol

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Lovely essay. I started drawing at age three – a fresco of sorts: hundreds of tiny smiley faces on the walls of the foyer closet. After my parents painted them over, they supplied me with materials and I graduated to copying Archie and Veronica comics, which I later made pornographic and sold to boy classmates in Third Grade.
The best advice I have given to every aspiring artist is draw with a pen. You can’t erase, so you train your eye to be very accurate, and you don’t waste time with unnecessary rendering. Your line becomes a sort of short hand and can convey whole emotions with a few short strokes. Then, if you wish to render, you can go in depth with whatever other medium you wish. Try it! It really is a great technique at any stage in your artistic life.

Ali Maegraith
Ali Maegraith
10 months ago

Reminds me of our trip to the end of year exhibition at a top Berlin art school. Lots of young students clearly trying to find taboos to break as well as finding their own unique ‚voice‘ but as our whole group agreed- very little skill to be found.

Ali Maegraith
Ali Maegraith
10 months ago

Reminds me of our trip to the end of year exhibition at a top Berlin art school. Lots of young students clearly trying to find taboos to break as well as finding their own unique ‚voice‘ but as our whole group agreed- very little skill to be found.

Penny Rose
Penny Rose
10 months ago

Really enjoyed reading that. Thank you.

Penny Rose
Penny Rose
10 months ago

Really enjoyed reading that. Thank you.