A Historical Account of Energy Art
written by Giorgio Vaselli on May 9, 2008
To provide a brief historical account where our ideals originate and have surfaced before, we begin with middle-eastern art of the early millenia. Art at an earlier form tended to be simple in all aspects, and thus in dynamism as well. In fact the artists of ancient times, without any former foundations, created fully static, even stiff works.
Certain primitive and more civilized tribes, such as the Maoris of New Zealand, the Celts of Britain, and the Vikings of Scandinavia, created art with an explicit preference for beautiful curvatures, spirals, and interlaced patterns – basic elements of energetic artworks – which also reveal common artistic roots of all ancient people.
Greek artists first attempted to improve their predecessors’ work by increasing the sense of realism. Then they seemed to realize that increasing the dynamism of a piece would increase its visual value and life-likeness as well. This eventually led to a baroque period producing works such as the Laokoon group. With the end of the Roman Empire – a drastic environmental change – a dark age settled on the World of Art, tossing it into a state of amnesia.
The next generations of artists created simple yet accomplished static works, culminating in the excellent works of Van Eyck and Holbein in the Rennaissance period. Two shining geniuses of exceptional brightness and power emerged next: Titian and Michelangelo, both bringing dynamism into the world of art besides greatly improving other values, such as the use of color and form, respectively. By their efforts, they both strived to enhance the inventiveness and expressivity of their pieces. Needless to say, their descendents did not quite comprehend their genius, so the brief decadent period of Mannerism followed. Then the Carraccis and Caravaggio emerged, paving the way for Rubens and Bernini.
The unifying genius of Rubens emerged, who through thorough studies in Italy, had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of the giants Titian, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. Bernini, a child prodigy, rejected his northern peer’s style and upheld the less illustrious work of Reni and Annibale Carracci, yet throughout his life, he created works of art in close parallel with that of Rubens. Thus they defined through their influential energetic work, the golden age called the Baroque Period that lasted a century.
Afterwards, students of the newly founded French Academy flocked for another century and a half to the Luxemburg palace in Paris, to preserve the plateu of excellence depicted on the Marie de Medici series of Rubens, but instead fell short in their trials, and created a somewhat decadent style with lower values of depiction, called the Rococo. This colorful and dynamic yet imperfect artistic period culminated in the nevertheless notable work of Boucher.
At a time when the French Academy was ruled by the values of the Rococo, a new genius emerged in the person of David, who realized the apparent decadence ruling the World of Art, and found remedy in the works of classical antiquity. This new brightly shining star illuminated the Fine Arts once again, and for about a century (and beyond) created a certain ideal form of art called Academic Classicism or Neo-Classicism. In general, the period produced works of unsurpassable excellence and perfection, missing only one key value that took the Greeks centuries to realize as well: dynamism. While it was present in a limited extent in this period, it fell short of that of the Baroque, and it did not intend to continue its tradition, because it considered Baroque the monster that gave birth to Rococo. Only one notable artist realized early on that the Baroque was not a monster, and Rococo was just a weakling. He travelled and studied the former art of the North, with special attention to Rubens. His name was Delacroix, once considered the greatest painter of France, and possibly the world. His enemies among the Classicists were numerous, but like with Cellini, his talent was recognized by even more peers. His style reflected a special taste for visual dynamism. Classicism nevertheless marched on, culminating in the work of Bouguereau, one-time president of the Academy. His works include both static and some dynamic compositions.
Classicism gradually faded into oblivion, with the emergence of the first abstract painters: the impressionists and Klimt. Concentrating on breaking the barriers of visuality by attempting to bring down the strong fortress of realism, abstract art emerged and took over the World of Art. Its initial values were stated and revised time and again by the Impressionists, Klimt, Kandinsky, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists to mention only a few. Dynamism in Impressionism emerged briefly in the work of Van Gogh, who is also considered a pioneer of Expressionism. Dynamism was not a main feature of abstraction until Futurism and Vorticism were born, that also upheld other values. Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and other movements produced many dynamic pieces, showing that artists occasionally realized its importance in increasing the value of their work, as explained before in our manifesto.
While many excellent artists continue to emerge, and great movements of the past such as Hyper-/ Realism, Surrealism, and Impressionism are very much alive, the World of Fine Arts is in a state of chaos, stirred by current decadent trends not even worth mentioning. We believe that there is a way that would truly involve moving forward, by building upon what our forefathers have begun.