Italian Art: Freedom vs Quality Control
Updated: Jul 16, 2018
As an artist myself, I spent a great deal of time visiting the art museums of Northern Italy just to try to catch a glimpse into the mindset of the creators of the works that populate the walls of the Uffizi Gallery and Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Although the Uffizi Gallery focused more on the works of the Renaissance and Peggy Guggenheim mainly collected Modern pieces, there was a story to the creation of the art and I was determined to figure it out.
The concept that kept returning to me was the idea of "quality control”. Of course, “quality control” is a modern term referring to "a system of maintaining standards in manufactured products”, but this concept can also be brought into the standards at which Renaissance art was created. Let me explain further.
If you were to walk through the halls of the Uffizi Gallery without any prior knowledge of art and its history, you’d probably say, “All of these paintings look the same.” Though they have a great number of differences in topics, biblical characters, etc. all of the art showcased there seemed to follow an unwritten code of creation that determined the final look of the paintings.
The heavily thought out concepts of color and measurements seemed almost mathematic in nature, thus turning the art piece into an equation. The better the math, the more successful the painting. If an artist strayed from this idea of “quality control”, then he wasn’t successful. It’s as simple as that.
That's why I believe Leonardo Da Vinci was, and still remains, one of the most beloved and noteworthy artists of the Renaissance. As a man well versed in science and mathmatics as well as art, he had a complete understanding of the qualities required for a successful painting and used this to his advantage.
In contrast to the “quality control” theory of the Renaissance, the modern art of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum focused more on the idea of raw emotion and freedom. Each piece reflected the personal bias of the artist in a more upfront way. Political feelings were not hidden, which lead way to more personality based works. The use of abstracts was also popular among the Guggenheim collection as well as one of my personal favorite art types, Surrealism.
To sum up the thought process of the creators of modern art: They were making their art with the love of creation in mind and without fear of being a failure.
Personally, I find myself in between these two theories. When I am creating my work, I heavily believe in the idea of the “quality control” of the Renaissance. Each image of mine must meet a checklist of requirements before I even consider it good enough to continue to work on. I look at the focus to see if it is correct, then I check the Rule of Thirds to make sure there is good movement across the image. Is the light correct or do the shadows cause the image to become muddy and unreadable? How is the depth of field? Does it look like a good image or is my personal bias of the story behind the image fogging my selection?
If my image makes it through the 1st round of selection looking only at the composition and technical skill, then I give myself the freedom in the editing stage to show my emotions towards the subject matter. Editing my images is a sort of therapy for me. I love the creation of my images, which is where I feel I relate to the Modern Artists.
I am a Modern Artist with the mindset of a Renaissance painter. I am a photographer looking for the raw beauty of a mathematical world.