Saturday, November 21, 2009
A Four Hundred Year Old Argument
It's Sunday, so I'll take a one-day break from unpackaging Arnheim's ideas to ask your opinion.
Here's an ancient argument and I'd like your opinion:
Almost four hundred years ago (1600's) there lived a man named Charles LeBrun, who was once the Director of the Ecole Royale in Paris, which was established by the Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. So, you might say that his opinion mattered! He got into an intellectual argument with another guy named Roger de Piles, a literary man and amateur painter who had a big following. So, you might say that Piles' opinion mattered, too! What was the argument? LeBrun believed in the primacy of design and Piles argued for the primacy of color in painting. In other words, LeBrun placed greater emphasis on the depth of the narrative structure of a painting and Piles thought that creating optical sensation through color was more important.
Design vs. color.
It seems to me that this four hundred year old argument is still being waged! Opinion has swayed back and forth all this time in a tug of war. But, I'm no expert. So ... what do you think?? Which side do you take?
P.S. the photo was taken aboard a brigantine a couple of years ago, sailing from Tahiti to Bora Bora and back. I'm the crazy sailor on the left struggling to keep the helm. Looks like a losing battle, doesn't it?? Consider it the struggle between design and color. Guess which of the two I am :-)