Art in Context—Ancient World

At this juncture in the Fall 2011 semester, and within the recent context of assessing art from its historical paradigm (i.e., Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome), what are your thoughts on the following comment made by John Stuart Mill, in The Subjection of Women (1869):  “The reason why the old painters were so greatly superior to the modern is that a greatly superior class of men applied themselves to the art?”  Your thoughts?


51 comments on “Art in Context—Ancient World

  1. Heather Galloway says:

    I happen to find Mill’s comment pretty straight forward. In his opinion, the older artists were better than the artists of his time because the older artists applied themselves. I don’t think anything about that statement is controversial or disconcerting. The fact that he uses the term “men” rather than a gender-neutral word is inconsequential. Now, he may be trying to offend the artists of his time with that statement, but without specifics it seems to take any bite out of the insult.

    • Ricky Blomberg says:

      But he is speaking general, so that means he is talking about EVERYONE. So that should offend everyone because he is saying “you, you, you, you, you, them, they, everyone” is less superior than the ones before them. I think that I would be offended if I thought I was a great artist of my time and someone bunched me into a group that I feel I didn’t belong. That can apply today like if anyone said, “well, music from the 80’s was amazing, but all music nowadays is horrible because it (insert generic comment).” He is being straightforward and if he is an admired man and is listened to then his words might have had a bit of a sting to them.

  2. Sela Tuamoheloa says:

    John Stuart Mill’s comment meant that in the time when these old painters lived, artists were well respected, and to be an artist was a highly honored career. The men could devote all their energy to their art. In modern times, artists usually have a “real” job in order to support themselves. Their passion of creating is put to the side and an example of this is the cliché “starving artist.”

    • Kelly Mamo says:

      I thought the same thing–artists were more highly regarded then than they are now. A lot of people find art to be more of a hobby rather than a career.

    • Kevin Stratton says:

      I don’t think this is all true. There are many forms of art rather than just painting artists or sculpture artists. An architect may see himself as an artist, but the creation of buildings is just a different form of art. Many of these so called “Well Respected” artists are no longer living thus why they are in are text books. You do not really see a whole assortment of modern art in our textbooks because a new era has not yet been established.

  3. Brandon Booth says:

    Response to the Power Points:

    It’s difficult to choose between the Greek and Roman artistic periods. It’s like choosing between the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian era’s in Ancient Greece. They are all evolutions of one another. Both cultures tend to share the traits on one another. Still, I find that Greece focuses more on mythology and humanity, where Rome’s attention is fixed more on their leaders, as well as their conquests. As a result, I’m going to choose Greek Art to Roman.

    Despite my choice of Greek art over Roman, I’m going to choose a Roman piece as the one that’s made the strongest impact on me: The Sculpture of the Roman Patrician. I found the details in this weathered face to be immensely detailed. It’s like a photograph with High Definition. It was when I compared the Roman Patrician to the Greek Portrait head from Delos that I realized just how good the sculpture of the Roman Patrician was. The Greek Portrait head from Delos is very good, but the Roman Patrician took the art form to another level.

    Now, in regards to which period I’d prefer to visit (Egypt, Greece or Rome), I will easily cross of Egypt from my list. Although I find Egypt fascinating, I’m just far more interested in Ancient Greece and Rome. That being said, it’s tough to choose between the two. However, I think I’d choose Rome. I can’t really say why, but I feel a stronger connection to it. At its height, the empire was just so massive, and ruled so many. I just want to see what daily life was like in such a political, military and economic behemoth.

  4. Sean Reilly says:


    When comparing the art of the Roman time period to the Greek time period I find myself preferring the Roman time period. The Roman art depicted throughout the learning module all has one thing in common: power. Roman culture as a whole revolved around the idea of power and strength. This idea is more than obvious when comparing Roman art to art of other cultures such Greece or Egypt. When viewing statues of Roman leaders the face is in a serious and strong pose depicting strength in leadership. The Romans lived by a standard of military and found the ability to defend themselves and attack enemies. While Greek passion revolved around competition in the spirit of the Olympic Games, the Romans preferred a blood sport and even build the world famous Roman Colosseum to house these games.

    The image that had the largest impact on me was the exterior view of the Roman Colosseum. I have been interested in the Colosseum for many years and have seen multiple documentaries on the activities that took place here throughout Roman history. The Romans had a taste for blood sport and the ultimate danger. The Colosseum stands as a remembrance of what Roman culture was, a strong group of people who fought to the death for what they believed in.

    If I had the ability to go back in time and visit an ancient culture I would most definitely choose to visit Rome. At its peak Rome was the center of the world and had all the latest technological advances. Many of the things and ideas used today were originally developed in ancient Rome. As can be expected, the number one place I would want to visit would be the Colosseum during an event. The Colosseum stood as the equal to a modern football stadium and was the center of the empire when events were going on.

    In response to the comment of John Stuart Mill above I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with him. I certainly agree that in ancient times only superior men were artists and for that reason art was very specialized. However, I do not agree that the fact that men were primarily artists has anything to do with quality. If we have learned anything in the past 100 years it is that men and women are equally capable of completing the same tasks including artwork. If I had to create a theory of my own on why art does not hold the same dignity as in ancient times is because there are many more amateurs creating art than in the past, being both men and women.

    • Kelly Mamo says:

      I would like to see an event as well at the Colosseum but I don’t know if I could choose it over Egypt or Greece. Decisions, decisions!

  5. Brandon Booth says:

    It sounds like John Stuart Mill is saying that the artists of old were a “greatly superior class of men.” I’m not completely certain what he means by this. One perspective may be, as my fellow classmates have already pointed out, that the artists of old were able to devout more time and more of their soul into their artwork. I’m not completely convinced by this. Furthermore, if this quote is to be taken in context with Mill’s essay on “The Subjection of Women,” then perhaps this quote means that the artists of old were superior for they understood and treated women not as subordinate, but as equals – often representing them as gods.

  6. Stephanie Gonzales says:

    The Greek and Roman artistic periods are both fascinating and it is difficult to pick a preference. Each one brought a different style and art was regarding differently for the two. The Romans were more focused on military and their art reflects that. The Roman Pantheon had the strongest impact on me, which is why I chose the Roman period as a preference. The thing I found most interesting about it is how mysterious it is that it has managed to stay structurally intact. The architecture and use of light is simply fascinating and is something I would love to experience. As far as going back in time I would most want to visit Greece. They held art with high regard and are stylistically interesting.

    John Stuart Mill’s statement in “The Subjection of Women” was not intended to be offensive to women in any way. The text in which it was taken from supported the equal rights of women and promoted the ideas of suffrage. The quote is stating there is now less importance, prestige, and status offered in the field of art. Due to all of those reasons those who were once spending time painting are now finding alternative ways to occupy themselves. His use of the word “men” rather than a gender neutral term was used not to exclude women but can be seen as a result of the lack of women painters. It was uncommon for women to be found painting and because of that it was previously dominated by men.

  7. Rick Blomberg says:

    Module Roman Art: I prefer the Greek period of time. I like their mythology and their artwork a bit more. I feel like I know more about the Greeks than the Romans. They really have the same ideologies and methods. The picture that had the most effect on me was the Roman Panthenon. It is so similar to the Greek Parthenon. I’ve never known of the Panthenon and what I saw it first on here I thought it was a typo, but then I looked a little deeper and realized that it wasn’t the Parthenon. I would really like to go to Greece I suppose, but to be honest any of the three choices would be amazing. I doubt I’d really want to go back in time because of the way things were back then. I wouldn’t want to go to Egypt because of the persecution and all the slavery, and I wouldn’t want to go to Greece or Rome because of the immoral acts and violence. But I wouldn’t mind going their right now and visiting. I think that seeing all the structures and art work from a time before would be incredible.

  8. Kindra Cadet says:

    Mills comment is likely to be offensive to modern day artists. He seems to be implying that modern men do not imply themselves to their artwork in the same way that older artists did. There is an heir of conceit in his comment, as if he himself believes he is part of the superior side. While he is entitled to his opinion, I cannot agree with his remark. I believe that many modern artists apply themselves to their artwork just as much as artists did back then. If it is their true passion, they will create beautiful pieces that touch others in some way. It is inappropriate to group all artists from any time period together. There are plenty of lazy artists and brilliant artists to go around.

  9. Dana Vargas says:

    I am going to have to say that I disagree with John Stuart Mill’s quote about old painters being so greatly superior to more modern painters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps some people may think that a piece of art (or era of art) is better than the other, but that doesn’t mean that it is.
    I don’t necessarily think that the painters are superior over the painters that succeeded them and exist today. I can see that perhaps they were more philosophical or sophisticated, but I think that has more to do with the generation that they were in. I think superior is too strong of a word to use for mill/s statement.

  10. Robin McKinney says:

    I think the environment or the artist situation affects artist’s work. Artist may not can afford to fully support their life through art and may have other jobs and in doing so may have less time spent on expressing themselves through art.

  11. Robin McKinney says:

    Module 10
    I prefer the Roman period, because the history and architecture amazes me. There were several images that had a strong impact on me, but I will choose “Roman Patrician”. The detail in the age of the figure was amazing. You could see the age detail in the sculpture. It looked as though the person turned into stone. The sculpture was so life like and looked like life stopped in time. The Romans may have borrowed their work from the Greeks, but I enjoyed this statue. I would prefer to visit the Rome time period in order to see the Colosseum or the Pantheon in person when they were used for their intended purpose.

  12. Tasha Jenkins says:

    I agree with John Stuart Mill. I believe that artisans of old lived in an era where art was appreciated more and because of that they had reason to put more effort into their art. It was expected that there would be many artists in a community and that they would learn and grow from others near them and far from them. Today, although we have the resources to learn a considerable amount about other artists in the world now and in years past, we choose not to. Also, modern art is not appreciated as much as older works of art. Someone studying art now does not hold the prestige as a doctor or a lawyer. In modern-day America we value knowing about and understanding humans, while also trying to find fault with other humans and gaining from their “mistakes”, which is why doctors and lawyers are so sought after and usually successful in our culture.

    • Brittany Rowland says:

      Yeah I agree, art was greatly appreciated in the older era. Today it is not a respectable profession because people can buy these mass produced images and paintings made in a warehouse with all this advanced technology.

  13. Brianna Maxim says:

    Learning Module Rome and Greece:

    I liked all of the pictures of the sculptures and the architecture of the Greece and Rome periods. Out of all the pictures, I really liked the Nike of Samothrace. I’ve always had a fascination with the sculptures and angelic type characters. The detail shown on the sculpture is beautiful. I know that I would never be able to do anything like that and it is just beautiful to look at. It makes me wonder if it the portrayal of a fallen angle since it is missing its head. I think the wings and the detailed clothing are gorgeous. I also liked Venus de Milo and the portrayal of the goddess. They made it stand for grace and beauty and it really shows with the curves and the posture that was sculpted into the figure. It really shows what those people thought were beautiful during that time.

    I like both Roman and Greece artwork and I can’t really pick one. Their artwork is similar and the differences they do portray do make them unique, but I can’t pick one. I would go go back to Egypt, Rome, and Greece. As I stated above, I really like their artwork and would love to go back and visit them. I actually plan to visit the three at some point in my lifetime. I don’t think it is right for us to just pick one over the other. They are all beautiful pieces of art and should be respected and loved for what they are and what they portray rather then just compare which one is ‘better’ since that is such a subjective term.

  14. Brianna Maxim says:

    At first, I wasn’t really sure what John Stuart Mill meant by his quote. My first interpretation was that he was saying that men were better, but upon reading it again, I realized I only thought that way because before the quote, it was said he was talking about women, but the quote by itself doesn’t hold that discussion. He was talking about the time period, not about the physical gender of the painter. Reading some of the other discussions, I would have to agree with them. During that time, people did have more time to dwell in their passion and now it is too expensive to really pour our souls into our passion like writing or artwork.

  15. Casey Teator says:

    Roman vs. Greek: I would have to say that I like both arts but I am not one who is interested in this type of art to choose one over the other. I would have to say an image that has always made an impact is the Colleseum. I have always found it interseting and whenever I see a picture of it, I just think back to in high school or even middle school learning all about it. I have always just been able to picture what has happened there. If i could go back in time, i would choose the Roman period. I would have loved to see the Colleseum back then and even now I would still love to see it. It just really grabs my attention over everything in these two power points. It may look plain or simple to others but just the thoughts make it more interesting and appealing to me!

  16. Kelly Mamo says:

    ”The reason why the old painters were so greatly superior to the modern is that a greatly superior class of men applied themselves to the art?”

    Since this quote was said in 1869, I would have to say that to be an artist was considered to be someone of a higher class. If you were an artist during that time period, you may have been very influencial to a number of social circles. An artist at that time really was an artist–not just someone trying to make money. I don’t necessarily agree with Mills because I think there is superior art in every era. It just depends on what is considered to be art.

    While I don’t care for any of the naked statues, I do appreciate the archietecture from both the Greek and Roman periods. I guess I never really thought about how many of our federal buildings (Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial, US Supreme Court) model the Partenon so I would say that I prefer the Greek period better.

    I really like the image of the Partenon and the Colosseum side by side. It amazing how beautiful both buildings are and what an impact they have made here in the United States.

    I love to travel so the last question is hard because I would want to go back to all three periods- Egypt, Greece and Rome. I think they all have something unique to offer.

    • Lauren Lantrip says:

      Interesting contrast, I didn’t even think about how the social classes could be involved in Mill’s statement. Very interesting point.

  17. Helen Marie Brandon says:

    I think Mill said that because to be an artist during earlier times is very different than it is in modern times. There were so few “greats,” and they poured their souls into their work. So many artists don’t have that in them. There are more distractions, perhaps. Perhaps their art can’t support them, so they can’t devote time to producing “great” pieces like the old painters. You don’t hear a lot about the greats having day jobs…

    Maybe he also meant that more people are calling themselves artists that aren’t truly artists. Centuries ago, if you were an artist, you were an ARTIST. If you were a good one, the important people knew about it, and they also knew there weren’t a lot like you. These days, it seems there are so many “artists.”


    Roman and Greek art was mostly statues and architecture. I think I prefer the Greek architecture because it was classic as well as creative. The columns are just beautiful. I also liked the statues because they were so realistic.

    I like the Nike of Samothrace the best. It’s a beautiful piece, and I find that fact that she has no head to be quite interesting. Are we supposed to see just any woman in her form? She’s supposed to be the representation of feminine beauty, and the artist did a great job. I am amazed by the sense of animation he captured during such a time period (170 BC).

    I think I would like to visit Ancient Greece because their literature and mythology has always fascinated me. I have always been interested in the Greek culture, and I would have liked to experience it firsthand.

  18. Ricky Blomberg says:

    I’m not really sure how to address this comment. I can’t honestly say that any of the “old” painters were superior. Somehow these questions seem to always goes back to opinion and if you really feel that certain art or artists are superior or better than either their predecessors or the ones after them. I think his quote is purely subjective and does not pertain to really anything. I don’t think that older paintings are more superior than the ones that followed. I think that everything that was created as art form is essentially great. I think that anyone that considers themselves an artist will do whatever it takes to create a masterpiece and will apply themselves to the fullest extent. What he is really speaking on though, and who in particular is it? If i knew exactly whom he might be comparing I might be able to respond a little more clearly, but if he is just speaking in general then I cannot call anyone more superior. I thought some things that certain people made were amazing, and what others did might have been sub-par. I think it depends on the subject matter and narrowing it down exactly. I love all and any art. it doesn’t have to be old, modern, or new. It just has to look good and appealing. That’s really about it.

  19. Brittany Rowland says:

    I believe that Mill’s opinion is right on track with his point. Modern artists do not have the passion that was laid so heavily in stone in the older generations. I think that the times were much simpler back then and art was a way of life that consumed many of the older painters of the historic generations. The artist of that day was given a tremendous amount of respect and held in very high regards. Today people have less thought for art because there is so much technology these days any image can be made on the computer and replicated. It is just not a respectable form of work these days unfortunately. The only talented artist that I know of today is a young girl named Akiane Kramarik. She is an unbelievable artist to me and probably a child prodigy that can just visualize an image in her mind and put it on a canvass, which is very difficult to do these days. I think Mill’s is right in his comment because people back in the day actually applied themselves to their true passion of art and set themselves aside from everyone else by having such raw ability to put beautiful images on canvass.

  20. Margaret de la Rosa says:

    I believe that there is some truth to Mill’s statement about old painters being superior to modern ones. The painters of old seemed to be more invested in their work than the ones today. By invested I mean that art was their whole life; they didn’t have a part time job or any other job for that matter. They had more time to perfect their craft. These days artists are having to have a “back up” job just in case they can’t support themselves from art alone. Many times that is the case for the typical modern day artist. Though I may not know a lot about art, from what I have seen and learned so far, it appears as though art in the more ancient times was held at a higher standard than it is today. They had no other way to express themselves back then so they had no other option than to let their thoughts out through their art. Today, we are surrounded by different sorts of electronic media that we don’t have to always resort to painting a picture or carving a figure out of stone to express ourselves. Although I feel modern artists are still great at what they do, I think the level at which they perform is different from the artists of old.

  21. Lauren Lantrip says:

    John Stuart Mill’s comment about the contrast between the early painters and painters today is interesting. He thinks that the reason that the paintings were so much more superior is because the people creating them were so much more superior. I don’t think that I’ve ever really thought of the early paintings to be superior, I simply think that they show a different stage of our humanity. I don’t think that it makes them more superior. If these paintings are really “superior” to those of the latter painters, then I don’t think it’s because they are any more superior in their personality. I think that it would be because they have to live in the shadow of these great artists. People don’t want to see the same paintings being re-interpreted, they want to see something new. In order to be unique now, you have to go a step further. You have to be able to create something new. Now there is so much more pressure on the artist to create something new and different that will capture the attention of this very distracted world. I think that these two types of artists are not able to be contrasted, because they are completely different and come from completely different worlds. Back when the original painters were creating paintings, all art was new, and there was little to be compared to, so it wouldn’t be hard to impress the people. Not that I’m saying that these artists aren’t talented, I’m just simply saying that they didn’t have very much to compare to back in that time. Now there are millions of pieces to compare and artists work to. In order to be impressive, you have to have something special. I don’t think that it makes the older painters more superior that the newer painters. I think that it just makes them different and from completely different worlds.

  22. Jessica Chang says:

    In my opinion, the Greek period made a much stronger impression to me than the Roman period. I think that this had a little to do with the architecture of many of the Greek buildings. I noticed that the Greek structures were massive, and contained sharp and edgy characteristics to the majority of them. This to me makes the building seem more masculine and larger than life. This, compared to the Roman Empire, however amazing, gave an impression of a more lustrous design. The more common round structures or domes more so don’t come off as strongly to me.

    If I could travel back into one of the periods talked about, I would visit the Egyptian empire. This is because it just amazes me how large, symmetric and perfectly geometric many of the sculptures are. The ideology of the Egyptians are fascinating enough it itself. The determining factor for me would be to capture the secrets, methods, and perhaps sightings that we don’t see now, or have lost to our history

  23. Heather Galloway says:

    In response to the Greek vs Roman questions on the powerpoint, I prefer the Greek era of art. The Roman era is so much about power that it takes away from the beauty, in my opinion. I also appreciate the life and death struggle that much of the Greek art personifies. There’s more emotion to it, which I think is lacking in both the Egyptian and Roman art forms. I enjoyed the Nike of Samothrace and the Dying Gaul of all the images. The Nike of Samothrace was about femininity, beauty, and grace. The Dying Gaul was about valor, honor, and grace. The two were so different but both graceful. The grace in the Nike was more victorious, whereas the grace in the Gaul was dying with honor. Both very moving I think. If I was to go back in time I would choose Greece. Not that any of those lifestyles were easy, but the Greeks seemed to focus on joyful things. The Egyptians seemed to be more concerned with serving their pharoahs and slaving to build things their pharoahs wanted. And Romans were always to busy conquering and killing everyone. I mean, their idea of entertainment was brutalizing other humans and animals. Greeks seemed like the hippies of the bunch. They worshipped their gods but besides offerings, they didn’t spend every waking moment slaving for them. Their idea of entertainment was Olympus, a sporting event. I’m aware that ancient Greek life was no walk in the park, but compared to the other two I would choose to take my chances there.

  24. Shay Lamm says:

    The comment that was made by John Stuart Mill, to me made sense for a man to say during the 1869, women at this time still had no rights and were seen to by only good for baring children and taking care of the house. Only in the 1900’s women got their rights, Mill’s statement about women indeed does say what was going on during that era and how women were treated. This comment could have been construed and not have been meant to discriminate against women, but you need to look t the background of that time, Mill could have also been trying to insult the newer artist by saying they are no, “men.”

  25. Margaret de la Rosa says:

    Greek vs. Roman

    It’s hard to choose between these two artistic periods but if it all comes down to it, I think I would choose the Roman period. This is mainly because there is a very aesthetic quality about their architecture and artistic works. The quality and structure of their architecture is very well planned out and seemingly took a lot of thought to build as everything seems “perfect” in all its dimensions. The style in which they created their art set them apart from the other periods. The sculptures that the Romans made exhibited a very strong and dominating image that really makes an impression on whoever sees them. The images that impacted me the most in this module are of the pantheon. I find it amazing how perfect it really is dimension-wise. Everything is symmetrically perfect. For the Romans to have built the pantheon in a time like theirs where they didn’t have the technology that we do now is amazing to me. They were definitely very intelligent and resourceful. If I could go back in time, I would probably want to go to Rome because of how much I have already studied about the period. I think it would be fun to actually see what I studied in the books come to reality before me. They were known for their exceptional engineering and city building and it would be awesome to be able to see that in real life.

  26. Michael Leary says:

    I think Mill’s quote is both right and wrong. Artists back then really did take their work seriously and passionately, far past the point of just a hobby like a lot of artists today might do. And because some artists today usually take it up as a hobby more than a passion, they might not be so inclined to better themselves on it and just be happy with where they are. I know this because I’m kind of in the same place. I enjoy drawing a lot, but I love music, so I’m not completely inclined to spend time bettering myself on art more than music. That said, here is where I think he is wrong. I’ve seen many artists either on campus or on art forums that do this as a hobby, but they apply themselves almost as if they were taking art on like a career. Same thing for those who are actually taking it on as their career. I don’t think that just because you’re not in the old times like the artists before us, doesn’t mean you apply yourself any less than they did.

  27. I do semi agree with the quotes because I do feel that older artists were actually seen as true artists in comparison to today. I feel that today they call everybody an artist and back in the day it was a privilege to be called that. I think that older artists would make art their life. Not everyone was able to study art and only the greats were acknowledged. I feel that today everyone is called an artist. I am not saying that artists now-a-days are not true to art, I just feel that it was more of an honor to be one during the old times.

  28. Mitch Cain says:

    Learning Module 10

    I have always been partial to Greek Art myself, particularly the Hellenic period. I find that Roman art is rather similar to Greek art but that the Greeks (as I have previously mentioned) had a flair for excess and dramatics. I believe that this is why I find their art so much more appealing. This tendency toward drama, as expressed in Greek culture at large, shows through in all their mediums of expression.

    John Stuart Mill

    I really don’t know where I stand on John Stuart Mills quote, but if I had to pick a side I’d say that I disagree with him. How can one know such a thing? I find statements on art are usually far more subjective than those who speak them seem to believe. I don’t doubt that JS Mill believed what he said (and that it was based on his observations) but I have a hard time agreeing with him. It is human nature to look upon yesteryear as somehow better or as perhaps a more noble time. I couldn’t disagree with him more. Indeed, I believe art, as well as society, has improved over time.

  29. Marel Gil says:

    I would have to say that I slightly agree to the quote. I don’t think that it has anything to do with women or gender since in ancient times and up until recently, women weren’t allowed to do anything other than tend to the home and children so it would make sense that there weren’t that many famous women up until more recent. But about the quote, I would have to say that to soem degree it is true. Modern painters have so much more to worry about yet in ancient times they could get away with their craftsmenship to be that of a painter, sculputre and so on. It was not only a hobby, timepass or even way creative expression but their job and passion while now a days, not a single man can say that his profession is that of a painter without having first made a dent in the art world. And before this could happen, painting was done in spare time while the other time was spent working two jobs and a half to be able to feed themselves and put a roof over their heads. While I also think that class had something to do with this. It was a skill to learn painting and art things in ancient times that was required of children of high class to learn but in more modern times, its something that doesn’t has that much of an influence in our education. Sure we have arts Arts and Crafts time and we are told to draw our family and hourse, but we dont really so much time on this unless we take some afterschool activity or, in some cases, our parents pay for us to take some private specific art courses.

  30. Eason Dong says:

    I think Mill was trying to say the old painters are more like legends. In that case, they are more superior because not only their artwork was great but also themselves. I agree with him if he meant to say that. However, I don’t agree with him if he just trying to imply something today. All the real artist would put in their heart and soul into work regardless the circumstances. The old generation painters maybe supeiror because the legend and their work, but their art spirit will always be the same like the ones we have right now.

  31. Kelly Lytle says:

    In my opinion, I think Mill was saying that old painters were held to a higher standard. Were they necessarily better? I don’t really think so. With each era, the styles of art were different. I can’t really define who is a good or bad artist because its all in the eye of the beholder. I do think however, that artists in the past were looked upon with greater respect. I feel as if in today’s time, that people don’t have that attitude that once was given towards artists.

  32. Art in Context: The Ancient World (A Reflection)

    “The reason why the old painters were so greatly superior to the modern is that a greatly superior class of men applied themselves to the art.” – John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, 1896
    In this statement, John Stuart Mills classified great painters as those who were willing to share a great part of their being to the audience through their art. It was the grandest thing to excel in art and perhaps the reason that in the fourteenth or fifteen century, only the accomplished people are painters (Mill). Upon reflection, art requires a certain calling to impart a diverse range of emotions, skills and expressions. It is the artists’ responsibility to experience and draw on these emotions and be able to skillfully and aesthetically depict the struggles on a piece of canvas. If we were to look at history, the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians have created works that have surpassed centuries. One will be forced to wonder why their art have survived and others have not. Taking a closer look though, ancient art showed common concerns and situations but are punctuated by the emotional intensity added by the painter. They rejoice in their victories, weep in their defeat, and give honor to their Gods. All of these can be seen in the art that they produced and that through the years have evolved into historic treasures. Learning these, great artist need not have a complex pattern, for in reality art is an imitation of life.
    It is in this note that one would like to compare to the quality of art we have today. It would be inaccurate to say that our modern painters lack the insightfulness that ancient painters had in the development of their art. It would also be good to point out that for each generation, a different reality persists and this manifests in the type of artwork being produced. Perhaps, it is the audience appreciation of the intuitive expression that differs through time. However, to determine superiority is a subjective exercise and thus would vary from person to person depending on the situation.

  33. Asia Polee says:

    I agree with the thoughts of John Stuart Mill’s message it is quite true that the artists in the past crafted their work to their own needs of pleasure and artistic insight. The old painters spent more time thinking of ways to create their artistic view and standpoint in a swirl filled of other artists. Today in the present I don’t think their is much distinction or much of originality to divide one artist from the next. Not that each artist is not creative or as great in his own work but what is missing from modern art today is the respect and the passion for why painting is so important.

    Learning Module Roman Art:
    I love the classical art of the ancient Greeks and Romans, but the artistic period in which I prefer is that of the Greek period. The reason why I’m so drawn to the Greek art is because of the humanistic appeal of the portrayal of the Gods displayed in their artwork. Also the use of perfection in beautiful marble in statuesque form. The image that made the strongest impact was the Great Eye of Oculus because of its large space. I like the lighting of the building and how the oculus opening symbolizes the sun as the source of light. If I could go back in time the period I would want to visit the most would be Egypt. I’m so drawn to the beauty of the pyramids that I would want to be present to see the process of building the platform.

    Learning Module Greece- Greek and Roman Art
    In comparison of the Greek and Roman Art the Greeks displayed more originality than the Romans. The Romans are known for aggression, strength and beautiful strong portrait paintings, but lack a bit of emotion and spiritual quality like those of the Greeks. Although I do have respect for the houses of Pompeii, Rome mural paintings and how today we coined the term “street corner artists from them.

  34. Bonnie Sam says:

    Based on John Stuart Mill’s comment, I don’t agree with his opinion regarding the superiority of old painters versus the modern people. Mill states that the older painters are better than the modern artists merely based on application. I don’t think art can be judged through application because the uniqueness and creativity expressed is individually judged and determined. In addition, I believe the contrast between modern and older artists can’t be comparable in Mill’s objective since the style and ideals are extremely different. The perspective and environment affects the expression of art pieces. It is also difficult to strongly determine what is considered superior or not. The determination is variable since everyone has their own thoughts and opinions that contribute bias toward the judgement. The old painters and modern painters have equal superiority, because is the free expression of thoughts and ideals which exist today and before. The passion for art can’t be determined by time. It can still be present in modern artists who apply their efforts into their works.

  35. Bonnie Sam says:

    Rome vs Greece
    Browsing through the different cultures, I prefer the Greece time period because the style of sculptures seem very elegant and detailed. For example, Nike of Samothrace captures my interest. This piece is beautiful. The minor and major details throughout the figure is exquisite. Also when I look at this piece, I interpret a sense of freedom. Since I originally love angel wings, I perceive this sculpture as a yearn for freedom or expression of freedom. The figure is yanked backwards with wings spread wide out. I’m attracted to the realistic style used to portray my interpretation. Although I prefer the Greece time period, if I could go back in time I would go back to the Roman period. Throughout the power points, I love the emphasis on architectural masterpieces. The buildings and structures constructed during this time period are breath taking. The various patterns all around the buildings are so exquisitely carved. It seems as though it took Romans a great deal of time to complete each art piece. I also admire the enormous buildings the Romans build. Through these historical buildings, I realized Romans had a large contribution and influence to new and ‘modern’ styled buildings. The findings of how these buildings were build to last for this long is unbelievable. When I can, I would love to visit Europe to personally experience the historical environment.

  36. Alexia Betts says:

    I agree that “a greatly superior class of men applied themselves to the art” to an extent. My first impression after reading Mill’s quote was that in the past anybody couldn’t just decide to be an artist and not just any thing was considered art as it is today. Currently in my opinion art has taken a turn for the worst anything from a literal piece of garbage to a scribble on a page is considered artistry. For instance, the hand prints of celebrities are hung in art galleries now a days among Picasso’s and Jackson Pollock’s. Also artist’s of the past gave their lives to artistry; now, the art world is so proliferated, political, and not seen as a “real job” that artist’s can’t afford to make artistry their life’s work. At the same time, however, I wondered if his quote meant that the artist’s of the past were just simply superior in general to modern artists. In that case I just think he is coming from a postmodernism, older parental figure that scoffs at rock &roll, “back in the day” nostalgic point of view.

  37. Alexia Betts says:

    Roman vs. Greek art:
    I prefer the Roman artistic period because the pieces are more polished, and they made a stronger impact on me than the Grecian pieces did. Roman artistry is more detailed than Greek art and seems to be more multifaceted. For instance, the Colosseum was not just fine artistry and innovative architecture; it was also functional, as was most Roman artistry. The image that made the greatest impact on me was the Roman Patrician. When compared to the Greek portrait head from Delos its’ exuberant detail stands out, and is in my opinion obviously better articulated than the Greek portrait head. The Patrician really looks like an actual old man every crease in his face is definite, he even has realistic neck lines, head shape, and ear placement.
    If I could go back to any period I’d go back to the Egyptian period. Egyptian art is characterized by meticulous detail, colossal mass and height, and a sort of “how did they do this?” element of irreplaceability. I’d just love to see how the art was actually created, and who did it.

  38. Christina Lopez says:

    The reason why the old painters were so greatly superior to the modern is that a greatly superior class of men applied themselves to the art?

    I agree with John Stuart Miller. The old painters are the innovators in art and techniques. The best works of art were produced by the old painters with tools that would become our tools today. Modern painters rely too much in technology or studies to create a work of art. Back then, everything that was created was fresh from someones imagination or it was raw talent that was developed with time.

    I really enjoy the Romanesque period better than Gothic just because Gothic art is not as “artistic” as i would like it to be. In other words, it is not appealing to me because it is not as advanced as I would have imaged it to be. I love the structures of the Romanesque period, for example, the Pisa Tower. The tower has a lot of history behind it since it started sinking and it is amazing the way it was constructed. But the one slide i could not turn away from is the Abu Dhabi building – it is amazing! simply, wow! I cannot believe that exist in this world. It is beautiful and I would love to just see it from the outside.

  39. Daniela Carrasco says:

    Module-Roman Vs Gothic
    I greatly enjoyed learning about romanesque and gothic art styles. I had heard of them before but I did not know that they had various meanings behind their art. Although I enjoyed both of them I do prefer gothic art style. I enjoy the mysterious/ gloomy look that the buildings and art pieces portrayed. The image that intrigued me the most was The Capital gate, ABU DHABI (18 degree) bulding. That building looks amazing! I cannot believe that the building stands with no problem. I like that you can see the vision the artist had with just taking a look at the building. The image that I liked the least was the Romanesque Ghiberti’s Sacrafice of Isaac 1401. I did not like this particular piece because I did not like that it didn’t incorporate any color. I found it borning in comparisson to all the other pieces in the powerpoint.

  40. Christiane Dolores says:

    I somewhat agree to John Stuart Mill’s comment, however I do not believe that those in the past were superior. The reason why art is so much different today is because of the change in times. In the past, art was very much needed because cameras did not exist, as well as any type of technology. Artists were needed to create and recreate images of their families, depict a time or era, and give past times. Today, there are cameras to take pictures of that, videos to remember a time or era, and computers to create pictures.

    • Helen Marie Brandon says:

      There are definitely parts of today’s world I can appreciate in terms of art. I am a big fan of photography because it expresses emotion in a more genuine way. However, I do believe that we cannot discount our past artistic geniuses. They used what they had during their time to create these masterpieces that people still admire hundreds of years later.

  41. Christiane Dolores says:

    Renaissance Powerpoint Questions:

    What are your thoughts on the founding of the theories behind the Renaissance? I honestly had no idea that the idea of nudity changed around the Renaissance period and never thought to compare the Renaissance to Greek or Roman times. I find it fascinating that in one type of culture, nudity is supreme and looked up to, whereas in another culture it is demeaning and embarrassing. Even today, it is only normal that many people are embarrassed to be seen nude or even in a bathing suit; compared to the past, where nudity was accepted. I think the foundation, if true that it was due to a Christian set of mind, is also intriguing.

    Which image did you find yourself most drawn to as far as “liking” and why? Which image did you find the most “unappealing” and why? I can answer both these questions with one answer. The image I found most unappealing and the image I found I was very much in line with was Lorenzo Maitani’s Last Judgment. The reason why I felt that it was unappealing was because all of the people in the piece seem so humiliated and embarrassed to be naked. It showed havoc and hostility between those people. Compared to Greek and Roman art, it is not as beautiful to me as Greek and Roman times. The Renaissance showed sadness, whereas Greek and Roman art showed power, cleanliness and structure (at least in my opinion). I feel that the Renaissance period in general is very much more truthful; what do I mean? When I look at Greek and Roman art, I imagine a “Goddess” type of life – I think that everyone in that time era lived happily. However, I know that it is not so true. In a sense, the Renaissance may be telling the truth more than Greek and Roman culture. Although I find it unappealing, I also find it to my liking because of the truth and reality of life back then. I’m sure that Greek and Roman culture was not always happy, however that it what it always portrayed. I like the Renaissance because it is real and doesn’t lie to me.

  42. Crystal Lancaster says:

    I believe the comment speaks much truth about modern artist because some people will claim art to be anything these days. Not saying that their art has no meaning but the complexity is not the same as to ancient art. Ancient art was clean it’s had structure and definition. as i browse the web it has become difficult to find a good modern portrait of a person because no we can pick up a camera and take a picture so i think the skill has been lost in portrait painting. for example Portrait of a Young Woman (La Fornarina) 158-19 was a very descriptive portrait down to placement of her fingers covering the right breast and that is what has been hard to find these day and making the statement of John Mill very true

  43. Kevin Stratton says:

    I definitely do not agree with this statement at all. I feel as if the reason an artists paintings are popular its because they are no longer living. There are many artists in todays society that apply themselves to their art. I do not feel as if the statement has any validity because he is insisting that only old artists who are dead applied themselves. I think that some artists create art without applying themselves while others give art everything they have. In my opinion someone like Picasso did not apply himself to his art. It seems as if he took a lot of drugs and decided to paint something on a canvas.

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