The past is the future: the Middle Ages as a model for social change in Dutch art and architecture around 1900.

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Date
2010
Authors
Van der Ploeg, Kees
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
Abstract
Towards the end of the nineteenth century many a European artist felt deeply dissatisfied with the legacy of impressionism. The revolutionary pathos of impressionism had become obsolete the refuse had become arrive. What the new generation of artists was now looking for in art was content instead of what they had come to see as the merely optical effects of painting. This fundamental shift of focus in the visual arts is one of the main factors in Van Gogh`s rising popularity, growing into a sort af sancthood, after his untimely death in 1890. Indeed, it were the artists of the 1890s who recognized and appreciated that Van Gogh`s reservation towards impessionism was eventually rooted in his ambition to save art from virtual insignificance by making it socially relevant. Although Van Gogh never gave up the religious convictions he had been brought up with as a vicar`s son, he lost interest in institutional religion once it had become clear to him that he would not be able to follow his father`s footsteps and become a preacher. Now art became to him a means to fullfil his religious calling. What makes him differ from the Dutch poets of the 1880s who had also renounced traditional religion to dedicate themselves to the cult of absolute beauty instead, is that he redefined religion rather in terms of compassion. This ethical impulse, as we may call it, was to become a major topic in Dutch art and art writing towards the turn of the century.
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Keywords
Middle Ages
Citation
The past is the future: the Middle Ages as a model for social change in Dutch art and architecture around 1900,1017-3455,The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.