Once upon a time, the French Academy dictated what was defined as Fine Art and what was not.

If one did not follow the Academies rules, he was considered unskilled, untalented, and scorned by the Academy. We use ‘He’ here because the official Academy did not admit women.

These regulated regurgitated governmental dictums held sway from about 1850 until the Academies’ unofficial demise in 1863.

Eventually, after countless ‘Rapes of the Sabin Women,’ endless depictions of ‘Leda and the Swan’ and numerous other recountings of Masculine Visions of Mythology these narrow-minded Chauvinistic guidelines that defined Art led to the Academies falling from grace into disgrace.

Of interest are some of the paintings that did not make the cut in 1863 which were later exhibited in the famous Salon des Refusés.

Hard to imagine how this famous painting by Courbet could have been rejected by the Academy. Gustave must have violated one of the many rules.

What followed, of course, is history. The Death of the Academy was hastened by the emergence of Impressionism, Postimpressionism, et al.
The vast majority of the Art world heralds this as a good thing.

Art is about self-expression, not Academic oppression.
Appreciating the aesthetics of multiple art forms should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Enlightening oneself by expanding one’s understanding of different cultures, eras, and genres opens up a whole new world of visual stimulus.

Becoming aware that the ancient Egyptians and their magnificent culture which predated the Greeks, and was their primary inspiration.

Becoming aware that the ancient Egyptians and their magnificent culture, predated the Greeks, and was their primary inspiration.

Taking note that 2,200 years ago, the Chinese Han Dynasty created an artistic culture that rivaled anything going on in Europe.

Not to mention the Persian, Babylonian, Byzantine, Ottoman, Indian, African, Russian, Mayans, and far too many more to list.

To mention Bouguereau in the same breath as Masters from the Renaissance and Baroque is sacrilegious Leonardo, Michelangelo, Durer, Rubens, et al. would not even save him a seat at the bar.

Declaring the arts of other cultures, eras, and genres inferior to the mid-19thc Eurocentric Religious, Social Political Academic model is Xenophobic Chauvinism. Yet this is precisely what Fred Ross and ARC, The Art Renewal Center is asking you to do. Fred and his minions are portraying Bouguereau and Bougie as the victims and the history of art as we know it as the villain. This Zealot would have one believe that history got it wrong and that everything that came after Bouguereau is trash by comparison.

Let me state in the strongest possible terms that the art history textbooks since the middle of this century are filled with nothing but distortions, half-truths and out and out lies in their description of this era. They have failed in their responsibility as historians to report the truth of what occurred as objectively as possible. These texts amount to no less than propaganda brochures for modern Art.”-Fred Ross

Leave a Reply