Business And Marketing In 20th Century Art

1359 words - 6 pages

In the past the concept of art combined with business and commerce was a common and accepted practice among artists and society. Renaissance and Baroque workshops were quite different from those in the twentieth century. Modern artists create 'high' art deemed enlightening, whereas artists from centuries past created art for specific purposes. In comparison to the artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it is a valid statement to propose that twentieth century artists face a greater challenge to think in the strategic terms of business and marketing.During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the artist was ideally identified as a 'craftsman'. The production of art was merely a job, ...view middle of the document...

As a result artists were able to consider the commerce side of their artistic endeavor.Twentieth century artists on the other hand, are endowed with the label of 'genius' representing an inborn and uniquely individual creative force, where the work of art is a creation of an autocratic personality. Artists today are more valued for their person and their name, rather than the quality of work and the skill involved in production. It is no longer one's art, but the person himself who is the object of veneration and who becomes the vogue. This is not to suggest that artists of the Renaissance and Baroque were not, and did not wish to be seen as genius. Michelangelo Buonarroti's artistic talents were immensely valued during his time, and beyond a craftsman, he was an artistic icon, a legend by the age of thirty. For instance, King Francis I of France stated in a letter that he desired simply to own a painting by Michelangelo. In addition during the 1720's Rembrandt actually bid up the price of his paintings to emphasize the prestige of his profession.The status of artist as an iconic symbol began to emerge during the late Renaissance and Baroque periods. During these earlier centuries artists such as Gustave Courbet were searching for ways to establish themselves outside the official patronage system. As such networks of art dealers (frequently antique sellers or failed artists) arose to represent the artists and sculptors and art became available via markets and fairs to the lower societal classes. The increased role of the art dealer, art collector and consequently the expansions of institutions such as galleries and auction houses have, through the circulation and validation of art work, played a major role in enhancing the stature of the artist from craftsman to one of eminence.Artists of the twentieth century work in a speculative based system, where those works produced by the artist have no guarantee of sale. For Renaissance and Baroque artists, especially those executing large works, all cash expenditure, for example the cost of materials, wages and board for the assistants as well as the monetary payment to the artist himself were provided by the employer. The modern artist devotes time, materials, and labor to a work of art that may or may not be purchased at a reasonable price. This poses a difficultly when considering art making as a business for the simple reason that you do not know for sure that your art will sell.The modern operation of workshops or studios also enhances the difficulty of twentieth century artists when considering their art practices as businesses. Within the Renaissance and Baroque workshop system, commonly the master would complete the design for the piece, and then hand it off to his apprentices or assistants who would actually execute the work. The master would probably add some final touches and sign the work before delivering it to its rightful patron. Conversely most...

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