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Art and the Patron - Essay Example

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Art and the patron Art has often been the product of the one paying for the work as much as the one who is creating the imagery. Art is a product, often dictated by the morals of a region, the expressed desires of the patron, or the pressures of a political structure…
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Art and the Patron
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Download file to see previous pages In the dying embers of this world, artists began to come into fashion, creating a refined position within culture. Artists have been subject to the morality, philosophy, and social construction of their time and American artists have had to navigate these frameworks in order to find their place within the cultural context. Art has had to balance a double sided card for most of its existence, the expression of the artist tempered by the desires of the patron or authority over the artist to dictate the theme and representations that the artist uses. It is a rare moment in time when an artist has true control over those things that he or she wishes to depict within his or her art. The hidden elements that are not always obvious to the patron or the controlling party have been one of the joys that artists have been able to use to express their individual point of view within a dictated framework. As time has progressed, the types of hold that patrons have had over the theme and content of the work has changed, but artists are often subjected to control in order to appease those who are willing to support their work. The privilege of total freedom is rare and has been denied to artists even within the expectations placed upon American art. The nature of artistic freedom has been subjected to morality, flattery, and the need to represent themes that suited the national rhetorical discourse. The economic needs of the individual to survive have been in tension with the need to express artistic vision throughout history. In New England in the 17th century, the trend of portraiture followed from England as a form of artistic employment, artists needing the patronage of those who desired their portraits to be done by them in order to create a form of wage for their work. Craven (1998) discusses the idea that the concept of the portrait as a commercial product was dependent upon a sufficient number of elite in the region who were willing to spend money on such a transaction. He goes on to discuss how very talented artists came to American with the realization that their former training and income resource was likely to not be profitable enough in the new land in order to make a living so they were forced to take on other similar work such as painting signs or the interiors of houses. Because of the influx of immigrants that were of Dutch origins, there is evidence of the influences of Dutch portraiture aesthetics in many of the works from the 17th century American artists. Therefore, there is a long history of competent and extensive studies on Dutch art from American scholars (Liedtke, 2000). The influences of Dutch portraiture can be seen in the beginnings of a developing style in early American-European settlements as in evidence by the Freake portraitures. According to Roark (2003) the Freake portraits, done by an unknown artist, is the largest existing collection of artworks from this region and from this time in American history. The paintings share similar characteristics that suggest training in the art of portraiture as well as a defined perspective on how to represent the individual. Craven (1998) discusses the nature of the paintings in reference to the way in which they make social statements about the subjects of the paintings, the hair of the patriarch of the family, John Freake wore his hair naturally and shoulder ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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