I’ve been visiting many museums here in Dresden with absolutely mind-blowing, overwhelmingly inspiring works of art. It may have been because of my lack of sleep, but for one reason or another, I literally developed a headache about two hours into the three hours that I needed to explore the last one: the Albertinum, a massive three-story art and sculpture gallery showing works from B.C. times all the way to living composers.
I felt frustrated about not being able to spend more time looking at all the works, and reflecting on that particular fact (the lack of time) as well as the whole experience taught me a few things, while being extremely inspired throughout.
First, people need to recognize the incredible amount of work that these artists put into their masterpieces, and the only way anyone can REALLY do this is by REPEATEDLY trying to create works of art on one’s own. Throughout elementary school to high school, it was one of a few pastimes for me to draw pictures of stick figures violently slaughtering each other, and it was always very difficult for me to fill up a whole paper; I would have to rely on another friend who was more creative than me to fill up the paper with activity on the stick figures’ part in every space; I enjoyed drawing, but would continuously run out of ideas before half the paper was filled.
Just like in my own composing — how it took me a year and a half (albeit on & off) to complete the Grand Waltz, you REALLY appreciate all the minute details that these artists put into every tiny part of their works: a fold of clothes in wood, every tiny detail on a big oak tree — all while keeping the big picture of the thing as one unified, coherent whole.
So only when you try to complete a picture of anything of your own will you truly be in awe at the fact that a painter painted a landscape. Such attention to EVERY wave of water! Those little red flowers in the foreground and the tiny, almost-as-small HOUSE in the background whose quiet glory anyone who simply visually skims the work would inevitably miss!
These details are why I do not like a great deal of postmodern music and postmodern visual arts (or even modern, for that matter). I believe a great work requires great thinking as well as intricate skill to develop. The grand bronze and marble Baroque busts of German kings, with all the attentive detail to each lock of hair and the careful sensitivity to their eternal captures of those persons’ demeanors, from jolliness to melancholy to fiery boldness, all staying perfectly realistic and true to the reality of those individuals, is great art. On the other hand, a big 12m.x12m. pillow painted gray and hung on a wall is a pathetic outcry to claim a stake in art. Some random paint splotches might have thought by their artists put in to a rough idea of trying to expand the definition of “art,” but it takes no skill. The bronze works of Sasha Schneider and all the figures of the Greek gods and goddesses take great skill.
Speaking of those people, a single ivory pot in the Baroque Treasure Chamber’s Ivory Room blew me away, as it showed a man and a woman in a tender, dearly loving embrace. It reminded me of the truth of humanity: that the people in the past felt EXACTLY the same feelings that we do. They lusted. They dreamed. They desired. They suffered. They hoped.
I think that, because of computers, people forget about just how difficult it is to MANUALLY produce a perfectly symmetrical work by hand.
I also realized to what my grand museum-exploring total of €38 ultimately contributed: to the upkeep of these precious works of glorious art (though the ones of recent years tended to degenerate into not-so-glorious ones…).
This made me think: that’s all to what it shall ever amount. Where are the new artists? In today’s times, they are put in difficult situations because one can’t exactly find amethyst just anywhere, and probably equally so, the training needed to be able to cut it with precision and embed it into a goblet.
Mass production and standardization of all things in society today have nearly killed the accessibility of creating great art. You don’t see people making things like the masterpiece of Waldgeheimnis, a.k.a. “Forest Secret,” by Robert Diez (German: pronounced “deetz”). People have no reach to rock cystal or lime wood, nor is such creativity even encouraged or cared about today.
The insanely detailed busts of kings’ facial features, hair, wrinkles of clothes (all in hard bronze, marble, etc.!!), the revolutionary perspectives of Caspar David Friedrich… it’s all lost in mindless Facebook, while people go to these museums without really appreciating the art, just because they think it seems like a good thing to pay homage to these creators with whose works and difficulty of creation they cannot relate really comprehend because they themselves have never actually made anything.
This is what I realized:
• A museum is a center for preservation of existing, old, grand arts.
► A concert hall is a center for both preservation of old as well as an announcer of up-and-coming arts.
So paying a museum to see old arts maintains their upkeep and gives you a FORMAL opportunity to admire the work.
Additionally, there were large works made of small movable parts that were meant to be adjustable, but which will eternally be in their museum-established positions because they are glassed in and unreachable to people. (Of course I understand this is because the museums are afraid that people might accidentally/purposely damage the art, but that’s why I call into question the validity of the concept of “museums” in the first place if the objects were meant to be handled and were not meant to be enshrined, as they are in museums, so distantly removed are they from the general populace for whom they were intended.)[/spoiler]
• Paying to see a concert of already written music is supporting its popularity despite the years that have passed.
► Paying a marble carver to construct new arts, then, is akin to paying a composer to write new works.
We should be supporting the creation of new works and fully fueling creativity, not just looking back to the past. The museums will all ultimately fall apart anyway in the centuries to come, so why not fuel creativity and the breakers of stagnation to the max if we truly care about art and real creativity of the fullest kind?