By Peter Dayan
In 1877, Ruskin accused Whistler of ‘flinging a pot of paint within the public’s face’. was once he correct? in the end, Whistler continually denied that the genuine functionality of paintings was once to symbolize whatever. If a portray doesn't symbolize, what's it, except mere paint, flung within the public’s face? Whistler’s resolution was once uncomplicated: portray is song – or it truly is poetry.
Georges Braque, part a century later, echoed Whistler’s resolution. So did Braque’s neighbors Apollinaire and Ponge. They provided their poetry as song too – and as portray. yet in the meantime, composers corresponding to Satie and Stravinsky have been proposing their very own paintings – tune – as though it transposed the values of portray or of poetry. the basic precept of this intermedial aesthetic, which sure jointly a rare fraternity of artists in all media in Paris, from 1885 to 1945, was once this: we should always take into consideration the worth of a piece of artwork, now not in the common sense of its personal medium, yet as though it transposed the worth of paintings in one other medium. Peter Dayan strains the historical past of this precept: the way it created our very concept of ‘great art’, why it declined as a imaginative and prescient from the Nineteen Sixties and the way, within the twenty first century, it truly is struggling with back.
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Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and Beyond by Peter Dayan