We posed this and the other four key Great British Art Debate questions to our keen debate fiends over on facebook. Here are some of their thoughts:
I remember a version of this line being used by my history teacher backn in school – we need to learn about the past to understand the world of today… and yes, in a technical, academic sense this is true – the genesis of the values and ideas which shape our culture are a matter of historical investigation. But that is only one aspect of the way art can talk to the world of today; our own responses (what we like and don’t like) speak of today’s values, and I don’t think there’s any way around that. So thinking about the art of the past means keeping in play both these things – the historical record which the artwork is part of, which belongs to a bigger historical story which leads to today, and the way we respond to works themselves, and what that says about us.
– Martin Myrone, Tate Curator
I think a lot of modern artists can’t paint – they’d do well to take a few lessons from the old masters. Shouldn’t art involve skill as well as inspiration?
– EL, Facebook
I think the art of the past represents a time when things seemed simple, when we valued craft and skill differently, and when it was clear what artists are supposed to do. Our relationship to the art of the past is vital to our understanding of ourselves and because of this I would say that the art of the past not only speaks about the world of today, it is a vital part of it.
– AB, Facebook
What do you think?