International exchange of vocational art training
Art arises in the tension between discipline and freedom, between the perfect mastery of the profession and an open mind.
Around 1800, the visual arts training moved from the private studio to the art academy, and the teaching-lessons, inspired on Neoclassicism, at the ‘Ecole des Beaux Arts’ in Paris became the norm for all other academies in Europe from then on.
The 19th century art education focused on technical perfection, without much attention to the personality of the student. This already led to counter-movements of Romanticism, Impressionism and Avant Garde, and in the 20th century public attention also shifted to the personal expression of the artist.
In the middle of the 20th century, traditional art education aimed at professionalism was abolished throughout the Western world and the focus shifted entirely to personal expression. Knowledge and skills were seen as an obstacle to artistic freedom and disappeared from the curriculum.
In the 21st century, we will return to this: good art is based on the synthesis of technical mastery and personal input.
It is mainly private training courses in North America and Western Europe that are now in the process of reconstructing the 19th century vocational training in order to recapture that technical level.
In Eastern Europe and East Asia, this solid technical training has always been maintained. There they are looking for more individuality and new forms of expression.
The West can learn from the East and vice versa and the willingness to do so is mutual. The International League of Fine Art Schools (ILFAS) is building up an international network of professional art schools. Its members are currently art schools from Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the USA.
ILFAS offers them a digital platform for the exchange of information and initiatives, but also wants to actively mediate in concrete exchanges.
Exchanges can be direct from teachers or students. It can involve participation in each other’s activities, for example following ‘Master Courses’ or ‘Summerschools’.
By bringing together leading artists and inquisitive students, an ‘Master Course’ can serve as a catalyst for artistic development in a relatively short period of time.
Classical Art Centre will organise such courses.
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