|Drinking in a Zorn in New York|
"Modern means of communication and modern methods of reproduction have brought the ends of the earth together and placed the art of all times and countries at the disposal of every artist. The quantity of painting produced has been enormous; the number of individual artists of some distinction has been remarkable; and the succession of 'movements' and revolutions, each rapidly extending its influence over the civilized world, has been most puzzling."
This sounds like it could have been describing our modern world, but it was from a book of essays about art by Kenyon Cox in 1905.
Kenyon Cox was responding to the rise of magazines like Harpers and Century and The Studio that reproduced the best work coming out of Europe and the rest of the world, and he would have been seeing the first color reproductions of that artwork, which must have been a revelation to artists who were hitherto limited to seeing the original work locally or via poor black and white engravings.
What would he think of the art culture of the internet, where thousands of images by artists of all times and styles are available at the touch of a button?
Cox argued that art before his time was more traditional, nationalistic, and homogenous. The new art resulting from the jumble of influences he regarded as more individual, international, and chaotic.
Is all this mixing of artistic DNA a good thing? What effect does the easy availability of images have on your work? Has it made learning easier or harder? Have you noticed trends in the art scene that have developed as a consequence of the universality availability of art online?
Quote is from Essays on Art: Old Masters and New by Kenyon Cox, 1905, 1908
Wikipedia on Kenyon Cox (1856-1919)