The Old Masters Created Space Essay

1437 Words Dec 17th, 2016 6 Pages
“The Old Masters created an illusion of space in depth that one could imagine oneself walking into, but the analogous illusion created by the Modernist painter can only be seen into; can be travelled through , literally or figuratively, only with the eye.”- Clement Greenberg

In 1960, Clement Greenberg seeks to create underlying principles in his publication, The Collected Essays and Criticism. Greenberg makes a lot of evaluations and assessments about modern paintings that are generally accepted and held as a standard for the most part. However, despite his best efforts, some of his assertions are shrouded in oversight and lack the necessary premises to be established as entirely objective and affirmative. Greenberg claims that the Old Masters created space one could walk into and experience, but modernist painters created space only accessible to the visual senses, eye. His observations regarding these “Old Masters” is undeniable for the most part, but his assertions on modernist paintings brings up a lot of controversies.
To question Greenberg, one must first understand how the representation of space evolved over time. The full range of this evolution cannot be mapped in this article, thus only relevant and specific ones will be discussed. Dating back to the 16th century, the Renaissance painters saw a heightening of perspective painting. By replicating how objects appear to in the distance to the eye, the optical illusion of space is created by a geometric…

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