Gatekeepers of Art

 Consider THIS Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper Script 

There are many individuals and organizations that can be considered "gatekeepers" in the art world, meaning that they play a role in determining what art is exhibited, promoted, or otherwise made available to the public. These gatekeepers can include curators, gallerists, collectors, critics, and other art industry professionals.

Museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions are often considered the primary gatekeepers of the art world, as they have the power to decide which artists and artworks are exhibited and promoted. Curators, who are responsible for selecting and organizing exhibitions, can play a particularly influential role in this process

Critics, who write about and evaluate art, can also influence public perceptions and demand for certain artists and artworks.

As an independent artist, it is essential to recognize and consider the influence of these gatekeepers

Botticelli Gatekeepers

Botticelli Gatekeepers script

The Medici family was a powerful and wealthy banking dynasty in Florence, and they were key patrons of the arts. They commissioned many works of art from Renaissance artists. Their influence was based on classical literature, philosophy, science, and the use of classical motifs and style. Two famous paintings created by Botticelli and sponsored by the Medici Family are: 

"The Birth of Venus". This painting depicts the goddess Venus being born from the sea, with the figures of the goddesses of the seasons looking on. 

"The Primavera". This painting depicts a group of figures in a garden surrounded by various plants and flowers, which are associated with the arrival of spring.

The church also had a major influence on Renaissance art. Many artists were commissioned by the church to create works of art for churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings. In these two paintings, "The Mystical Nativity," "The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John," and "Madonna and Child with an Angel",  Botticelli demonstrates the Church’s influence. Whilst these paintings are considered important and influential works of art, they are not as widely recognized for their significance as his earlier paintings which were sponsored by the Medici family.

Even Botticelli, as a highly respected and influential artist, was faced with significant challenges. It is believed that in 1498, he was accused of sodomy and was briefly imprisoned.  It is not known how long he was imprisoned, what the specific charges against him were, whether he was able to avoid punishment or if he was forced to serve a sentence. What is known is that Botticelli fell out of favour with the Medici family and was no longer commissioned to paint for them. His work became more religious in nature, and he began to focus on religious subjects.  From this fallout and change in artistic direction, "The Calumny of Apelles" is an important painting, as it contains a significant personal statement. It depicts the story of Apelles, a Greek painter falsely accused of a crime. The painting shows Apelles sitting in a chair, with a group of people standing around him, pointing and making accusations. The scene is set in a courtroom or public forum, with a judge or other authority figure seated on a throne at the back of the room.

"The Calumny of Apelles" is considered as an exceptional comment on the dangers of calumny and serves as a warning against the practice of false and malicious accusations. Botticelli’s artistic statement is compelling. It is based on the experience of being the target of false accusations and imprisoned. The Calumny of Apelles is reflectively potent. It represents the turning point of artistic direction and a cause to manage gatekeeper perceptions. It reminds us that gatekeepers need to safeguard and ensure fairness and keep the pack mentality in check. The power of words can be employed by those who despise and or seek power plays to cause real harm and create injustice. Those who dislike and or want to politically manipulate can utilise the power of words to do genuine harm, foster injustice and diminish creativity.

There are several learnings that today's independent artists can gain from Botticelli's creativity and patron management.

One. The importance of developing a strong skill set and the value of building relationships to secure opportunities and financial support.

Two. The need to adapt and be flexible in response to challenging circumstances.

Three. The importance of perseverance and dedication to your art form.

Powerful and Influential Gatekeepers

Classical Times Art Beauty and Power
In Classical times, commissioning Art was regulated, especially for large-scale artworks like statues, edifices, and frescoes. In ancient Greece and Rome, wealthy individuals and institutions would commission works of Art to decorate public areas, religious buildings, and private residences with particular themes, styles, and technical specifications that the artist had to satisfy. The empires were expanding at the time of classical Art. The Art produced during these periods reflects the empires' political and cultural changes and expansive nature. The ruling class allocated the necessary resources and support to create works of Art that reflected the ruling class's tastes, values, and interests. In colonized states, authorities utilized Art for propaganda purposes. It was employed to promote the colonizing empire's culture and customs and reinforce the idea of the superiority of the colonizer's culture over the local one. This beauty is the aesthetics of power and the commissioned artwork needed to demonstrate this quality.

To represent power, superior culture and values, Classical Art placed significant focus on these five qualities. 

One, Technical Excellence.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a marble sculpture from the Hellenistic period, which is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture. It is admired for its technical excellence, the fluidity of movement and the sense of movement that is conveyed through the garments' folds and the figure's dynamic positioning. Note, The Louve Museum secured the Winged Victory of Samothrace when France was a colonizing power from the late 17th century to the mid-20th century.

Two, Representations of the gods and goddesses.
The Parthenon frieze, also known as the Elgin Marbles, is a series of marble sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon temple in Athens. The frieze depicts the procession of gods, goddesses, and other figures from Greek mythology. This work serves to propagate the religious beliefs and customs of ancient Greece. The British Museum Britain secured the Elgin Marbles when Britain was a colonizing power from the late 16th century to the mid-20th century.

Three, Historical and mythological narratives.
The Alexander Mosaic is a Roman copy of a Greek painting depicting Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia in battle. The mosaic depicted a historical event and was used to promote the culture and values of the conquerors, the Romans, by depicting their leader in battle and reinforcing the idea of Roman military superiority.

Four, The Depiction of military achievements.
The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century CE triumphal arch in Rome, Italy. Built to commemorate the Roman emperor Titus' victories in the Jewish Wars and the sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The reliefs on the arch depict Roman soldiers returning from the conquests with spoils and prisoners, and it serves as a reminder of Roman military might and achievements.

Number Five, Attention to detail and realism. 
The Roman frescoes and mosaics. The Villa of the Mysteries, are considered among the finest examples of Roman Art. Many of the mosaics and frescoes from the villa are known for their attention to detail, realism, and naturalism. They reflect the Roman's taste for realism and attention to detail and reflect the Roman's belief in their own culture's advanced level through realism and naturalism.

During the colonial period, European powers removed artworks and artifacts from the colonized countries to demonstrate the cultural and artistic superiority of their power. 

Over time, Patrons and institutions with considerable amounts of money or power can utilize their socioeconomic resources to influence cultural narratives and advance their interests, values, and agendas by commissioning or purchasing works of Art.

The moral goal is to associate oneself with a great piece of Art and an artist, and to leave a lasting legacy for oneself, one's family, or one's institution. In addition to reflecting preferences, values, and interests, the commissioned artworks also transmit a message or meaning to the viewer, whether to demonstrate their wealth and superior levels of knowledge, impress their friends and professional peers, or further a specific political or ideological goal.

The wealthy patron and powerful institutions have significantly impacted the evolution of Art from classical to contemporary times. Furthermore, whilst the artist does gain accolades, it is essential to understand the intention of the gatekeepers whose decisions form the creation of the artwork and have an influential impact on the final product.

My question is.
Is it a normalised process for independent artists to actively seek commissions and patronage?

John Bennett - AKA JJFBbennett is an independent artist. You can subscribe to his work via BloggerYouTubeFlickerFacebookInstagram and Deviant Art

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