Art History Reflection essay
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Having read Kaufmann`s article “National Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Aesthetic Judgments in the Historiography of Art” I might say that it left me very impressed due to the multiple occurrences of racial and regional prejudice of the art historians, which sometimes bear a proto-anthropological character. I found out that Giorgio Vasari disdained German art, only because German masters came to study art in Italy (Kaufmann 72-73). To my mind, such self-conceit regards other art historians, mentioned in the article, too. As, for example, David Hume, which stated that he “specifically excluded Africans from the categories of culture and taste” (Kaufmann 76-77). In my opinion, art and culture in general can be evaluated in the context of specific climate and people`s traditions, but I strongly disagree with racist approach to art. I would rather agree with Winkelmann, who claimed that “art is dependent on national character” and “national character was influenced by heaven” (climate) (Kaufmann 79).
Mercer`s article “Romare Bearden: African-American Modernism At Mid-Century” acquainted me with one of the most renowned African-American artist of the 20th mid-century, Romare Bearden. It appears to me that Bearden was an intelligent and patriotic man, which cleverly stated his position in his attempts to find a place for a ‘negro man’ in American artistic culture. Even in the late 20ies ‘black’ art was limited by racial prejudice and depreciation. At that time Bearden stated that a “Negro artist must not be content with merely recording a scene as a machine. He must enter wholeheartedly into the situation he wishes to convey.” (Mercer 33). Such viewpoint was forward-looking enough for the ‘in word’ democratic America, and such artist as Bearden was one of the indispensable saviors of the “peculiarly backward negro art” (Mercer 33). Bearden`s collages, as well as his photomontage works are highly heartfelt and reveal the African-American “emotional, as well as social realities” (Mercer 30).