Debate - Historical painting vs. Contemporary painting

'Elegy on the Beach of a Bumblebee' by Iain Andrews (2012)
next to 'Flowers & Fruit' by Jan Van Os (1744-1808)

Seeing these two paintings side by side in the Warrington Museum & Art Gallery made me question some of the dynamics of painting as an art and its value in history... what does this make you think of? Here are some of my initial thoughts...

Will we look back at paintings with the same reverence as we did 100, 200 or 500 years ago?

Does 'still life' evoke more meaning for Iain than Jan 200 years ago?

Have the increased proliferation of materials increased the value of artwork or the opposite?

Has the appreciation of the arts changed much over the last 100/200 years?

Do female artists have a bigger voice now or are they still considered primarily as hobbyists and muses?

Is contemporary art a poncy whimsical faff or deeply imbedded with narrative and opinion?

Are museums outdated or a vibrant part of community and history?

And so, which of the two paintings below would you prefer to hang in your house?...

Iain Andrews



Jan Van Os

I personally believe there is a great deal of value to be gained from both pieces. They represent what is current and what has passed or passes as art today. The museum excels in provoking debate and stimulation of two very 'similar' paintings by placing them side by side so the public can measure for themselves the value in each piece. Some of the questions I pose above do not necessarily have any obvious relation to these paintings, though I am intrigued that there seem to be no works by female artists on the floor of the permanent collection in the Art Gallery, except for those in a temporary installation... Have things moved on as much as we'd like to think in the last 100 or 200 years since Jan was painting?

I hope this post prompts your own questions for debate...







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