Classical Realism and the Renewal of Art

The Hound of Heaven

Classical Realism and The Renewal of Art:
The Viability of Traditional Painting in an Era of Rampant Ugliness

“It is austere and profound studies that make great painters and great sculptors; one lives all one’s life on that foundation and if it is lacking one will only be mediocre.”
Jean-Léon Gérôme

“On whom then can [the artist] rely, or who shall show him the path that leads to excellence? The answer is obvious: those great masters, who have traveled the same road with success, are the most likely to conduct others”
Sir Joshua Reynolds

When discussing Western art with educated people, it quickly becomes clear that everyone possesses opinions on its history and current state. Among traditionalists, one need only utter the phrase ‘Turner Prize’ to gain a pained look and acidulous comment on Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst’s latest creation. Conversely, cultural leftists and Tate Modern mandarins often deride nineteenth century academic painting and representational portraiture as static, dull, or reactionary. That which is perverse, blasphemous and calculated to shock often finds great favour in their eyes. Illustratively, Francis Bacon kept a photographic still of the screaming nurse in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin in his studio. Her wide-open, screaming mouth and blood-soaked eyes apparently inspired him to paint more pictures of writhing, tortured figures. Although perhaps appropriate for the jacket covers of Clive Barker horror novels, they are certainly not ‘perspectival inquiries into late capitalist modernity’ as pompous curators would put it. Additionally, the Young British Artists of the Nineties took this trend to an extreme with Damien Hirst’s A Thousand Years and Marc Quinn’s Self, which incorporated hitherto neglected mediums of maggots and human blood. Calculated to shock, these works stand in radical opposition to a longstanding tradition of European art beginning in Classical aesthetics and reaching its peak in the late nineteenth century.

Fortunately, contemporary art of this sort does not hold absolute hegemony over the art world. Beginning in the sixties, a small movement arose in America which sought to recover a lost patrimonial heritage of both formalized artistic training and technique. Dubbing themselves ‘Classical Realists‘, these artists sought to revitalize traditional painting by incorporating elements from previous golden epochs of Western art. Deeply respectful of what past accomplishments teach us, Classical Realist artists replace disorder with aesthetic symmetry and bring a keen sensibility focused on beauty and human dignity to their works. In order to appreciate their importance as restorers of tradition and skill to Western art, it is vital to understand contemporary art’s deplorable state and how to extricate ourselves from its worldview.

How We Arrived At The Turner Prize

When visiting the National Gallery or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it becomes clear to the viewer that a clear break occurred in the late nineteenth century among European artists. Prior to 1870, the École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Julian led the world in artist training. Taught according to the atelier method, their emphasis focused on technical advancement and progressively acquired knowledge through students learning from acknowledged experts. Masters of detail and figuration such as Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Léon Gérôme instructed students possessing significant abilities including Gustave Moreau and William Adolphe Bouguereau. These budding artists were firstly instructed in observation and drawing before moving to painting and fine portraiture. Numerous Old Masters and Classical sculptures were provided as models so that students can freely copy them in order to perfect specific methods. While learning, the art masters regularly corrected and encouraged in order to bring a student’s abilities to their fullest expression. Paralleled in England, the Royal Academy of Art also operated under these principles and produced such painters as Lord Frederick Leighton and Edward Poynter. Painstaking effort and time went into the creation of these works, with multiple layers of paint covering the canvas in order to create depth and perspective. With the advent of Impressionism, these accepted practices were radically challenged. Initial critics of Impressionist artists argued that these new works were unfinished and lacked the precision of academic paintings. While this author will not attempt to argue that Impressionism constituted an absolute negative turn within Western art, it did pave the way for the advent of Duchamp and radical experimentation.

What Impressionism accomplished was to destabilize the concept of idealized or even realistic depiction as a desirable goal for painters. Manet’s Olympia served as a key bridge between academy painting and Impressionism by depicting a Parisian prostitute as a sordid Venus. Deliberately turning the conception of a classical goddess inside out by substituting a Montmartre harlot, Manet sought to bring art into the urban realities of 19th century Paris. Later Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir expanded on these changes by attempting to incorporate movement and sensations into their work. Fewer layers of paint on the canvas meant the subject could be painted as if the artist had briefly seen it and was trying to recapture its fundamental elements. This trend continued and expanded into Post-Impressionism as artists like Van Gogh and Seurat sought to capture fears and neuroses on canvases. Eventually Fauvism and Cubism did away with any remaining traces of accurate worldly representation and plunged deeply into strong color schemes and abstract shapes. Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 offered congeries of cylindrical and spherical shapes appearing to be in rapid motion. In no way an odalisque by Ingres or Lefebvre, it communicated energy and action without coherent form. Having removed the need for specific subjects within artistic representation, Duchamp took the next step with his Fountain (1917). This work infamously consisted of an upended urinal from a men’s lavatory and a pseudonym signature written across the front. Duchamp defended this work as art as readymade and part of the everyday world. Exhibiting a clear bias against traditional painting and sculpture, Duchamp intended to shock and in his term ‘de-deify’ the linkages between an artist and his work. Deliberately iconoclastic, he desired to remove any distinctions between high and low art so that a urinal could be compared to Michaelangelo’s David. Like stripping away paint layers from an Old Master, Duchamp and subsequent radical artists embarked on a programme of disorder and the promotion of abstraction rather than fine detailing. This passion for abstraction intensified through the thirties and reached its peak in the Forties and Fifties with the Abstract Expressionists centered in New York.

This drive towards abstraction revolved around fundamental ideas of Modernism and Freudianism filtering into art circles. With traditional painting dismissed as ‘bourgeois’ and incapable of deeply revealing truths about contemporary man, critics such as Clement Greenberg argued for a new Laocoön to illuminate this new artistic path. Referential to the classical sculpture Laocoön and His Sons, which once complemented Nero’s Domus Aurea, Greenberg diagrammed a new history of art centered on abstraction as purity. According to this narrative, Pollock’s drip paintings proved superior to Rembrandt and David canvases because they possessed the power to express emotions and themes. Oblivious to the lack of provable artistic skill involved in dripping oils randomly onto surfaces, Greenberg propounded that Abstract Expressionist art allowed artists to express their own psychological unconscious drives. According to this absurd but fashionable concept, the meandering dripped lines of paint in Pollock’s No. 1 and Full Fathom Five illustrated his own tortured psyche amidst the cultural confusion of modern society. Usually these paintings were given a neutral and often ponderous title in order to demonstrate their supposedly profound complexity. Frank Stella’s Die Fahne Hoch attempted to convey Nazi brutality through an array of black banded lines across an unpainted canvas. Likewise, Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic consisted of simple black spheres and stripes over an unfinished white background. In order to outdo one another, the Abstract Expressionists continued along their path of simplification and negation until Stella began painting entirely black canvases by the late Fifties.

At this point, modern art had arrived at a creative cul-de-sac. By dismissing Western artistic training developed and cultivated over centuries, the avant-garde centered in New York and London found themselves standing amidst a heap of ruins. Their new Laocoön of abstraction revealed itself as a broken idol and the next major artist to emerge would be a savvy commercial illustrator named Andy Warhol, who once shrewdly commented, “art is what you can get away with.” Pop Art emerged in the Sixties as a strong reaction to Abstract Expressionism in large part because it was daring and constituted a new beginning away from drip paintings and monochrome canvases. Warhol’s soup cans, Jasper Johns’s flags and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic strips both satirized and critiqued mass culture through use of ordinary objects. However, their works appropriately provoked questions regarding their artistic talents. Warhol enjoyed a successful career as a graphic artist but never demonstrated the abilities of an academy painter from the nineteenth century. Spending much of his time chasing celebrities and the jet set for portrait commissions, many of his Seventies works were actually completed by silkscreen assistants.The editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview, Bob Colacello in his memoir Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up quoted Warhol’s assistant Rupert Smith’s hilarious assertion of this practice. According to Smith, the Factory was so busy with commissions that Warhol even had his security guard silkscreen portraits from time to time!While humorous, this anecdote reveals the profound hype and spin which surround so many contemporary artists. Warhol’s own legacy was that artists could literally become media-hyped celebrities as large as Hollywood actors. Amidst all the glitz and glamor of record-breaking auction sales and Studio 54 parties, few stopped to question Warhol’s actual artistic merit. Fame and profit clouded sensible judgment and by the time of his death in 1987, his favored imitators consisted of scenester ‘graffiti artists’ such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Even today, Warhol’s soup cans sell for record prices while truthful art critics know the artistic ability behind them is readily found at any New York or London ad agency.

Having exhausted the capacity to bore through Abstract Expressionism, contemporary art turned to imitation of popular culture and then eventually to obscenity and blasphemy by the late Eighties. Warhol’s ‘Piss’ paintings of the late Seventies proved a harbinger of this trend, which blossomed under Andres Serrano and Warhol’s protege Robert Mapplethorpe. Creating such works as Piss Christ and Mapplethorpe’s collection The Perfect Moment, both artists brought their pet obsessions of urolagnia and sadomasochism into the Tate Modern and Corcoran museums. Fawned over by curators, only conservatives such as the heterodox art critics Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball wrote jeremiads questioning the artistic value of such works. Far from being serious statements on religion and sexuality, these works of art were deliberately calculated to offend and shock. Not to be outdone, the Young British Artists of the Nineties decided to disgust domestic audiences by using dead animals and bodily fluids as artistic materials. Seemingly intent on creating revulsion among their viewers, artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin incorporated dead cows and stained underwear into their works. Winning the Turner Prize in 1995, Hirst’s work Mother and Child Divided featured the bisected carcasses of a cow and calf encased in glass. Not to be outdone, Emin’s My Bed featured a mattress with stained sheets, dirty underwear and empty bottles around it. Both works display a conspicuous lack of talent and maturity on the part of the artist. Perhaps the most egregious example of this trend towards absurdity is found in Terence Koh, whose art often disgusts people who view it.

In addition to selling his own gold-plated feces at the 2007 Art Basel art fair, Koh’s most extreme work is his 2006 creation, Untitled (Medusa). This piece consists of a black-painted toilet stall with ‘phallus-laden religious icons and satanic plumbing fixtures’. Perhaps the most fitting comment on this work is that it mirrors its title—-a vision of twisted horror! Denigrating Christianity, indulging in perversion and intentionally obscene, Mr. Koh’s works appear to be degeneracy defined. If so, the contemporary art of 2010 represents the exhaustion of obscenity just as much as Serra’s black canvases represented abstraction’s demise in 1958. If art is to be rescued from this dearth of talent and aesthetic sensitivity, it must come about through a recovery of older artistic traditions and methods. Classical Realism offers the possibility of a new renaissance within representational painting, portraiture and sculpture. Since the Seventies, a small network of academy schools have emerged teaching students how to create art in the traditions of the Old Masters. Largely ignored by the art establishment in New York and London, they have ensured that honest artistic creation and criticism still exist as a credible subculture. If one knows where to look, art worthy of the École des Beaux-Arts can be found and appreciated for its fine qualities. Operating according to the atelier model, these Classical Realist schools keep a flickering blue flame of aesthetic symmetry and sublime beauty alive for serious connoisseurs.

An Alternative Method: Atelier Schools and Bostonian Dissidents

Classical Realism offers a radically different approach to artistic training because of its hierarchical pedagogy and respect for past masters. Contemporary art often places undue emphasis on the artist as a spontaneously creative individual who need not be fettered by past traditions. In contrast, Classical Realism recognizes that the beginning art student is a novice who needs to be taught by experienced instructors. The sequence of courses students undergo at Classical Realist schools parallels the formalized atelier training of the nineteenth century. Translated from French, atelier means ‘artist’s studio’ and communicates the small, intimate nature of this instruction. Students begin their education with intense observation of both nature and the human form with a keen emphasis on classical symmetry. Influenced by Johann Winckelmann’s conception of Hellenic art, Classical Realists seek to emulate the achievements of the ancient world in their works. Examining both ancient and neoclassical sculpture, students learn the fine points of detailing the human body and its movements with their artwork. Intensively studying skeletal and musculature construction, they soon appreciate man and nature’s physical complexity and effective ways of representation through charcoal and oils.

For the first year, students complete master copies of works and practice drawing using charcoal or graphite. Often cast drawings are created, which are usually representations of a sculpture from classical antiquity. In this process, students learn to translate three dimensional forms onto a two-dimensional surface. While they practice, the atelier master demonstrates finer points of detail and shadowing to students. Straight, curved, diagonal and directional lines are all employed to create visual accuracy and balance. Importantly, the master shows his students how to organize their lines into recognizable shapes. The combination of lines into fixed forms creates images, which are decoded by the eye and identified. Complementary to this, students learn to appropriately measure proportions and distance within their work in order to ensure accuracy. After mastering these techniques, students proceed to the second year of study, which connects the first year’s work with painting. For this period, students focus on the study of griselle and apply it to a variety of representations. Griselle is painting with a monochromatic palette of black and white. It allows for greater fluidity of style and increased practice before proceeding to oils. The subject matter alternates between life models and still objects in order to keep in practice with multiple forms. Giving students greater familiarity and experiences with paint and brush, the second year provides an appropriate transition between beginning and advanced studies.

For the tertiary year in Classical Realist training, the students are provided with oils and canvases so as to begin painting in detail. The atelier master provides copies of increasingly complex paintings so students learn the finer principles of chiaroscuro and trompe l’oeil. Frequently in atelier schools, the paintings chosen as examples depict classical or medieval settings so that students learn costume and architectural details for future works. Working six hours a day for five days a week, atelier pupils learn through repetition and careful training. While often grueling, this intense education will last a lifetime and in invaluable in encouraging natural artistic talent to fully blossom. For the fourth and culminating year, students combine their learned techniques in order to create fully original works of art. This allows the student’s own individual tastes to gradually effect his depiction and sense of colour. For instance, some Classical Realist painters prefer darker, somber pigments to create specific moods while others enjoy lighter, freer elements. Certain preferences in interior styles such as Rococo over Gothic Revival will affect the artist’s sensibilities. While dependent on the person’s own tastes, all Classical Realist artists have passed through the same rigorous training and can converse with each other over multiple techniques and forms. This creates a sense of camaraderie and communication quite similar to the art schools of Europe prior to the 1870s.

Throughout America and Western Europe, Classical Realist ateliers express themselves using similar terms and concepts. Although largely scorned as backward reactionaries and nostalgics by elite art critics, they have successfully breathed new life into almost forgotten practices and made gallery visits palatable for cultural traditionalists. Appropriately, Classical Realism’s birth as an art movement came about in provincial, conservative Boston instead of New York or London. Artists who had studied at the École des Beaux-Arts successively trained other Boston artists, which created a generational tradition of realist artistic representation. Protected against radical art movements by the traditionalism of elite Yankee patrons, these artists cleverly taught the techniques of academic painting to their proteges. Jean-Léon Gérôme’s American student, William Paxton (1869-1941) taught at the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s school for years and also completed commissioned portraits of Presidents Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge. Taking Johannes Vermeer as his muse, Paxton created paintings of extraordinary complexity and subtlety. Awed by Vermeer’s use of focused versus blurred imagery within his paintings, Paxton replicated this ‘binocular vision’ technique within his works. His The Figurine (1921) marked a high point in domestic painting and is a remarkably illustrative of Bostonian culture.

The Figurine depicted an Irish household servant delicately cleaning a glass case containing a Ming dynasty statuette of a imperial courtesan. Referential to Boston’s domestic class structure, ethnic tensions and the city’s vital China trade, the work illuminated a specific, vital moment in American history. Brilliantly executed in oils on canvas and currently in the Smithsonian’s national collection, The Figurine represented the successful transmission and expression of atelier painting into America during its large-scale abandonment in Europe. Additionally, Paxton successfully transmitted academic painting techniques to his capable students who continued this tradition into the Twenties and Thirties. One of these capable proteges was Robert Hale Ives Gammell (1893-1981), whose works are monuments to Realist style and homages to the best of the Old Masters. Still referred to in reverential tones by conservative art patrons, Gammell’s works signify a vital connective point between the achievements of Jean-Léon Gérôme and current Classical Realists.

Descending from a prominent Yankee family and raised in the waning years of the nineteenth century, Gammell displayed artistic precocity from a very early age. Commencing his studies under Paxton in 1911, Gammell readily utilized the extensive collection of Old Masters in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts as material to copy from. After serving in the American Expeditionary Force during the Great War, Gammell spent much of the Twenties visiting European museums and galleries. When resident in Boston during this time, he completed numerous commissioned portraits for prominent American industrialists and statesmen. A deeply intellectual and sensitive man, Gammell soon began to draw closer to religious iconography with Western art and began painting Judeo-Christian and mythological themes extensively after 1930. Emergent from a similar background to T.S. Eliot, Gammell felt a spiritual sickness afflicted the West and that art had been affected by the horrors of the Somme and Verdun. Increasingly, his paintings dealt with mortality, otherworldly visions and images of the divine during this period. Knowing himself to be out of step with modern art circles in Europe, Gammell despaired that traditional painting and atelier training would be lost forever. This combined with the outbreak of war in 1939 caused him to suffer a complete nervous breakdown. He emerged from this experience a shaken man but firmly resolved to accomplish two goals during the rest of life.

Gammell believed his talents and accumulated knowledge necessitated passing them down to a new generation of traditional artists. In 1946, he published a vital work, The Twilight of Painting, which chronicled Western art’s radical decline and the serious threat of its extinguishment through Modernism. By publicizing the need for traditional painting’s survival, Gammell produced a culturally samizdat text read surreptitiously by dissenting artists. Additionally, he established the Boston-based Gammell Studios in 1950 and rigorously trained novices in academic painting methods. Despite disdain from critics, Gammell persevered and earned continued admiration and respect from his loyal students. While training future Classical Realist figures such as Richard Lack, Gammell completed a remarkable series of paintings, which represent his greatest artistic achievement. Based on the mystical poem, The Hound of Heaven by the British ascetic Francis Thompson, these paintings portray extraordinary religious spectacles similar to those of Emmanuel Swedenborg and William Blake. Ennobling instead of denigrating mankind, they depict images of beatific angels, wise saints and samite-clad, pure maidens. The highly detailed and technically advanced skill within this series attests to Gammell’s ability and influences from the best of pre-Modernist art. Arrestingly beautiful and profoundly moving, they stand as a testament to Gammell’s spiritual vision and devotion to academic painting. This devotion would be continued by his finest student, Richard Lack, who began to expand awareness of current Realist painting in America and Western Europe during the Eighties.

Richard Lack and the Expansion of Classical Realism

Born to a Scandinavian immigrant family in Minneapolis in 1924, Richard Lack knew from childhood that he would be a painter. Showing proficiency in drawing and portraiture, he desired to learn how to ‘paint as the Old Masters did’. While studying at the Minneapolis School of Art, Lack became frustrated at his teachers’ inability to impart the necessary techniques within academic, realist painting.  Moving to New York in 1949 in order to find an instructor knowledgeable in this tradition, he spent his mornings copying paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By chance, a student of Richard H.I.. Gammell’s studio named Robert Cumming noticed Lack copying a Velázquez portrait. Intrigued, Cumming invited Lack to visit Boston and introduce himself to Gammell. After presenting himself at the studio and convincing Gammell of his serious intent, Lack began intensively studying the practices of traditional painting. According to Lack, Gammell’s first major lesson was to teach him to ‘unlock’ paintings in order to see the complexity within them. Like many museum and gallery visitors, Lack had previously viewed pre-Modernist art as consisting of ‘beautiful mysteries’, which he could only see topically. Gammell insisted that his students understand the layers of paint and specific techniques behind each work of art. Additionally, one of Gammell’s patrons provided funds for a 1955 European trip in order for Lack to study major Old World art collections. Through intense observation and imitation while under Gammell’s tutelage, Lack learned to express his own talents in increasingly complex paintings. By 1957, Lack had learned all he could from Gammell and decided to move back to Minneapolis after accepting a job at a small art instruction school. The Upper Midwest gave him a refuge from harping contemporary art circles in New York and he also adored the region’s natural beauty. There, he painted, studied the Old Masters and cultivated an increasing circle of conservative art patrons within the city. Within this safe haven far from Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, Lack’s sense of detailing and stylistics continued to greatly develop and advance his art. His works The Folksinger (1960) and Mother and Child (1962) display both a tremendous reverence for the human form and a keen eye for physical detail. Often painting the city’s leading citizens, knowledge of Lack’s skill soon began to spread throughout the United States and even abroad. By 1969, Lack decided to start his own atelier and began to train other students in the manner of his great teacher, Richard H.I. Gammell. Determined to pass on his expertise to talented novices, Lack taught students from all over the world and also founded the journal Classical Realism Quarterly in 1982. Eagerly read by artists in this growing subculture, it communicated that the recovery of traditional painting was indeed possible and desirable for the art world.

Through Lack’s constant support for Classical Realism, new ateliers were established in North America and Europe by his colleagues and students. The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, (1976), Studio Cecil-Graves in Florence (1983), and the New York Academy of Arts (1982) were just some of the numerous ateliers started in this period. As his fame grew, Lack received commissions to paint portraits of the Earl of Wilmot’s wife and several Kennedy family members. Classical Realism became recognized by elite patrons as a civilized, tasteful alternative to contemporary art. Additionally, the leading Classical Realist artists Jacob Collins and Graydon Parrish have painted President George H.W. Bush, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and J. Paul Getty. In particular, Graydon Parrish has emerged as one of Classical Realism’s greatest current talents He completed his remarkable early work, Remorse, Despondence and the Acceptance of an Early Death when only twenty-four. An allegorical representation of the AIDS epidemic, it displays Parrish’s skillful incorporation of academic techniques and his profound respect for the paintings of Jean-Léon Gérôme and William Adolphe Bouguereau. Most recently, Parrish completed his The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy, which depicts the September 11th terrorist attack. Currently exhibited at the New Britain Museum of Art in Connecticut, it draws visitors from across the world. Though their works, Parrish and his contemporaries continue to increase awareness of Classical Realism and its promotion of traditional painting.

Classical Realism Today

Although their paintings are recognized by conservative art connoisseurs as vital works within a historic tradition, Classical Realists do not command the respect of contemporary art tastemakers. Sneeringly describing them as reactionaries and antiquarians, many critics prefer the plasticine superficiality of Jeff Koons or the deviancy of Grayson Perry. However, in any age including our own decadent times, there are many people who appreciate the Western artistic tradition. Often seen at the National Gallery and the Met, they gaze longingly at Hellenic statues and Jacques-Louis David paintings imagining those talents do not exist among artists today. Fortunately, Classical Realism provides a necessary antidote to their melancholy and assures us that all is not lost within the art world. A network of persevering ateliers provide the necessary training to artists who desire to simply ‘paint as the Old Masters did’. Currently the Grand Central Academy of Art and New York Academy of Art in Manhattan and the School of Representational Art in Chicago offer the best training for emerging Classical Realist artists. There are also smaller ateliers in far-flung cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. In the United Kingdom, the London School of Representational Art in Clapham constitutes a healthy and growing traditional subculture within British art. In Europe, Charles Cecil Studios and Angel Academy of Art in Florence and Studio Escalier in Paris offer training for Continental artists. These ateliers regularly communicate with one another and are united by their love for traditional painting. Steadily increasing their visibility, they continue to provide an alternative for those weary of the Tate Modern’s collections.

Classical Realist artists are also represented by an array of galleries in America and Western Europe. Foremost, Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York and W.H. Patterson Gallery in London constitute the major sellers of their works. W.H. Patterson Gallery proved influential in the successful introduction of Classical Realism into the British art market. Operating from their Mayfair base on Albemarle Street, they successfully represent major traditional painters including Trevor Heath and John Batty. Regularly staging selected exhibitions of important artists, the gallery is a haven for traditional art collectors. Hirschl & Adler performs the same vital function in Manhattan as Patterson Gallery and also stages vital exhibitions. Representing important Classical Realists such as Graydon Parrish and Frederick Brosen, they are a refreshing change from the contemporary art of Chelsea galleries. Any serious art patron would be wise to enquire with both galleries for purchases and establishing contacts with the artists. While these galleries are the major vendors in both cities, there exist other smaller galleries where Classical Realist art can be found. Increasingly, discerning people are turning to Classical Realist art and assisting this movement’s efforts through their own support and connoisseurship.

In our own times, European nations have witnessed a remarkable degradation in the quality and nature of representational art. What was once considered hideous and gauche now sells for millions of pounds at leading auction houses. Often adhering to radically leftist beliefs, artists peddling mass-produced junk and even works exhibiting blasphemy and paraphilias are considered genius by foolish curators. Since the end of the nineteenth century, there has been a remarkable attempted evisceration of Europe’s artistic heritage by those who consider traditional painting to be reactionary and obsolete. However, there are still many patrons who quite rightly value the works of Joshua Reynolds or Jacques-Louis David over those by Francis Bacon and Terence Koh. Conservative, right-thinking people must not abandon the art world and leave this cultural battlefield to be taken over by the Left. Wrongly thinking this struggle to be over, many patrons simply imagine art to be in terminal decline without hope of renewal. Classical Realism proposes precisely the necessary rebirth of art that values instead of denigrates our Hellenic, Christian and Western heritages. As an art movement, it proffers Ariadne’s thread for us to escape the labyrinth of cultural deviancy and self-indulgence readily found at the Tate Modern and The Museum of Modern Art. If we desire a renaissance of artistic forms valued by our ancestors, we ought to grasp it and pull ourselves back into Minos’s glorious palace above.

About Peter Sayles

Peter Sayles ist eine junge rechtsextremistischem und glühender New Englander