What is beautiful I – The re-evaluation of our terrestrial environment

Our upcoming painting workshops in Tuscany and Provence June & July 2014

Painting workshops Tuscany
Leo Gestel “Landarbeid aan de Leie”, 1926.

During the last few weeks, I hired four astounding professors from various universities to work on the following question: “What is beautiful”? Their answers will be available shortly in the form of short presentations on Vimeo. The vivacious Prof. Édith-Anne Pageot from the University of Ottawa, concentrated her talk on the passage from the 19th to the 20th century with the recent discoveries and theories in colours, which undoubtedly changed the course of aesthetics. Chevreul, Blanc, Goethe, etc. come to our mind.

Before Monet, artists preferred and promoted the juxtaposition of tones of the same value (gray values ​​or ochre in particular). According to the proponents of classical aesthetics (such as the Barbizon School painters) it would have been distasteful to juxtapose contrasting colors or opposite colors, which we will be promoting during our next painting workshops in Tuscany and Provence. In less than a century in Europe, violent color contrasts would be in tune with political revolutions and the destruction of religious and societal values.

Mentalities change. In less than 50 years the use of complementary colors became harmonious and was promoted by modern painters, one of them, the Dutch landscape artist Leo Gestel. These news values would also bring forth the abstraction by Kandinsky and Mondrian and new ways in tackling the landscape in a more modern way, what we are going to do in Italy.

New values were established and more time was devoted for a deep and serious re-evaluation of the terrestrial environment. Don’t you think that today, in this environmental crisis, we shall do the same? In a few weeks, during our art workshops in Italy and later in France, we will be in the same reflective mode. Are we ready to change, to evolve?

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