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    Unhappy What about the artists THEN?

    I've been wondering this for a little bit.

    You know, say, Eygyptian art? The hyroglyphs? There's an awful lot of them. But they all look to be in the same style.

    Aztec art? One style.

    Cave art? One style?

    Medieval European art? One style.

    Renaissance? Lots of realism.
    Modern-day western toon and manga? A load of styles.

    Well, why don't we see sketches from BEFORE the Renaissance from a number of artists? There's a lot that's been recovered, so why not papyrus with a bunch of doodles on it? I doubt there was ever ONLY ONE style of art before realism became fashionable. So, where did it go?


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    The world is much bigger today than it was back then.

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    That and societies that are secluded in any number of ways have a way of idealizing themselves- adapting one vision of who they are, and as this mindset is passed down, it travels through the artists.

    Don't be so fast to debunk all those as 1 style. The Medieval period had a large variety of styles, matter of factly.

    As well, saying the hyroglyphs are in 1 style is like saying-

    "A-A-A-A-A!" They all look the same! Why can't each A be different??"

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    The book "The Story of Art" has a good explanation for this. It comes down to the function of art. Artists back in the days, as far as we can tell, weren't interested in drawing from life, it didn't serve the purpose of there stylized art. They didn't carry around sketchbooks. Art wasn't for the purpose of expressing the individuality of the artist, but usually served a magic purpose as with Egyptian art.
    The first known surviving instance of a page in a sketchbook is from some time in medieval times, a picture of an elephant. I suppose it's likely that all the practice hieroglyphs of students wouldn't have been preserved as with the finished tombs, they would have just been thrown away.

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    I was thinking almost exactly along those lines, but have no Art history BG so didn't want to comment =P

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    Worth noting->
    PAPER, a big factor in our compulsive doodling and something that we take for granted in the most heinous way, was EXTREMELY expensive and mass production methods weren't in place.

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    One major factor in many of the ancient civilizations is religion. Egypt survived as long as it did because it was a forced homogeneous society. The "art" was also their form of communication (writing), so the art tended to adhere to rather strict design principles for a long time. the same was true of the Olmec/Maya/Aztec/Toltec/Inca civilizations.

    During the medieval period, art WAS very different, and there was a lot of experimentation, but keep in mind that the RC Church was the most powerful force in existence at the time, and its opinions on things had a lot of clout. This tended to make "acceptable" art adhere to a certain sameness, but even then, if you compare regions, you can easily see the differences between Celtic/Eastern-Middle East/Western Europe/ and Moorish Spain, all of which wee reflected in religious artifacts.

    Point: mentioned above--there was no paper, ergo, no waste to scribble on.

    Point: when materials were available, people did doodle... The clay used for cuniform tablets was often found with little drawings and even porn on small scraps, obviously done by school boys just like they do today in their notebooks with doodles.

    Point: Enforced styles like the religious decorations and communications are usually well supported in a theocracy, and since they're made with the best materials, they last to modern times. Secular materials were fragile or suppressed.

    Assuming everybody did the same art in ancient times today based on surviving artifacts would be the equivalent of assuming everybody spoke Swahili in the 20th century because the only remaining piece of writing found in 3850 AD from our era happened to be a Swahili Dictionary.

    Point: From the late medieval on, art WAS extremely different across regional lines due to increased nationalism. And I don't mean ONLY to the trained eye...take a good look at say, a collection of German 14th or 15th Century art compared to the same time period in Spain, Germany, Russia, England, and France.

    BTW...cave art was definitely not all the same. There MORE styles and types as there are sites it's found in...find some good reference and really look...
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    Remember, in a couple hundred years, nobody but art historians will be able to tell the difference between western cartoons and manga. Hell, I can barely tell the difference anymore. Also remember that you're comparing styles from specific regions in the past to styles from the entire world today. While the Renaissance was happening in Europe, completely different styles and movements were happening everywhere else in the world. They didn't get as much cross-pollenization of influences from other cultures like we have today, thanks to our many methods of fast travel and communication.



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    canons,

    its wasnt about individual expression, all art was adone according to rules, strict canons that defined everything, from proportion to poses etc. But even in that youl find stylistic differences:

    classic egyptian cannon, khafre:
    What about the artists THEN?

    and here stylistically diffrent akhenaton, its assumed ofcourse that he ordered the stylistic difference not the artist, artists wher ejust a means to the end, its only in the renesaince that they started being treated like rockstars. In theis case alot of people believe akhenaton was just stirring shit up and trying to be diffrent, there was alot of political stuff going on at the time:
    What about the artists THEN?

    so even though it is very subtle there where differences even back then, and they only increased as time whent on.

    Also understand that sculpture has consistantly been ahead of paing, a culture that does very primitive 2d stick figures can produce wonderful sculpture, and within that there are thousands of little stylistic differences, diffrent enough so that somebody who knows what they are doing can pick artists apart easily. Painting has been traditonally so far behind because of the level of abstraction involved in projecting it on a 2d surface, it wasnt until the renesaince that all of that was beginning to be properly understood. And regionally/culturally art was still wildly diffrent, no matter at what time.
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    take a good look at say, a collection of German 14th or 15th Century art compared to the same time period in Spain, Germany, Russia, England, and France.
    Ahem. Ilaekae i love you but you might wanna check that sentence. I think.

    As for the papyrus with doodles on it, afaik there isn't much papyrus from ancient times left. There's frescoes (sp?) from pompeii that are well reserved and surprisingly realistic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeian_Styles
    http://www.servius.org/Pompeii/, about halfway down the page.

    I think i read that in greek / roman times some intricate artwork was produced that we only know about from texts, since the original works are lost. Judging by greek sculptures that sounds reasonable.
    As for your original post GSwirly, i can't exactly make out what you are trying to say.
    Last edited by John; December 9th, 2006 at 07:17 AM.

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    Rook you beat me to it..I was gonna bring up the stylish revolution in Egypt.... and I think i fyou look hard enough there are stylistic changes over time in all those societies mentioned.... and the problem is our ability to discern the styles. And the non-archival nature of many of the media...Like chinese porcelain.. to the expert there a huge differences in styles... to me ..they all hold soup....
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    There are some various points to make on this, I think - and each is integral to the answer... or I should say "a" answer or "my" answer (Not so sure there is ever "THE" answer...)

    Firstly, it is important to note that the things you see from other times are just that - from other times. Now, you may say, "Celor, you fool, why must you shower me with the obvious!" And I say "Hah! But is the not-so obvious within the obvious of which I speak." What I mean by this is that we are bound to recognize much more of the things in our time because they are happening within our time - what we are exposed to from other times usually comes through some form of telling or focusing on an element, even if that element is the art itself from the time in question. So yes, we have alot of different "modes" and "mediums" of art in our day, and I would daresay more than the past, but is that really so strange? The journey of new art forms and new things being artiscally approached is largely a part of the tools that are avaliable to do that art. We have computers, we have a much more evolved manufacturing system that allows for these tools and materials we use in whatever we are creating to be much more readily avaliable to us average joes. As an observation about history however, sometimes the more capability you have, the less you accomplish. Look at ancient empires - Egypt as you mentioned, Greece, and certainly Persia as well (one of the less appreciated ones) - They did not have the tools we have today, yet they did things that today would be impressive. There are alot of elements to this, and I could launch my observations about those here, but thats going abit off topic.

    Anyway, bringing it back... so I think one of the reasons you don't see "doodles" or not really what most consider as a completed work as much from times like that are atleast tripple fold.

    1) Material were not only more rare, but much more expensive in a time where the average person did not have much monatary resources to begin with. So when people DID make things, they had to be right the first time and they had to last. In much more ancient times than the renaissance usually the people in a position to begin a project usually did the art through engineering and architecture, the reasons for this are many aswell. This took emmense amount of resources and people for some of the thigns that they did, but they did them - and, atleast to me, this is some of the greatest artistry and most impressive from times past - to do the things they did with the tools they had... really they had to build their canvas from social or political effluence, wet their brushes with never-drying willpower, and begin works with solid determination and high levels of discipline.

    2) The works you see are the ones that are celebrated or lasting, and so the fact that much of the art was conducted in a different way and for slightly different means (mostly...) in past days such as primarily religious or state purposes, they all have a "same sort of thing" kind of feel, I can understand. But there is an observation for you anyway.

    3) Also as a sort of link to those two things, the methods that many things in art came to be was through, in most cases, what could be called a more disciplined and sensitive way. All of this is arguable to be sure, and I am not trying to bark any ultimates, but just to speculate.

    Uhhhh, I have been typing this post as someone has been yammering and so if I got abit off track and disorganized, repeated myself, or didn't complete something I was saying... I apologize.

    Every generation there is a noticiable difference in the art that appears - now I say this not having seen much art myself in a sense of looking back, that is something that i am getting interested in doing just now. Still, I think it applies and is credible - and there are many generations and changes from this those times (and places) to our's. That alone is explination.

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