Museum of Fine Arts
As one approached the nineteenth century, the world (particularly its western part) went through shifting the seasons of revolutions in many fields; technology, thought, societal arrangement, art and other vital fields. Old methods of carrying out duties or performance could not match the new modern styles that came up. Artists and art were at the forefront of the cultural and social movements that influenced, embraced, reflected and enforced the new changes. Elements of their hidden crafts and expressions that defined an individual were deeply explored in a way that the old fashioned method of doing things seemed to have been forgotten and buried along with its history. The modern means of reproduction, as people now call it, have somehow destroyed the authority of ancient art, making images and portraits of art readily available, short-lived, free and insubstantial. This means that the ancient works of art have entered the life’s mainstreams, thereby getting relieved off their former powers and ability to put across the intended messages. People are unaware of the fact that art has been eroded, and assume that the availability of historical artifacts is an advantage, since they have easy access to a piece of history, which was only available to cultural minorities in the past. All that is left now are images, a reproduced version of the ancient art. This art has neither authority nor power, and anyone has the authority to use it to do whatever they deem right.
In an effort to oust mystification, one visited the museum of Fine Arts in Boston, so as to view the original work of art. While in there, one came across various original works of art ranging from paintings to portraits, sculptures and drawings. The moment was breathtaking and all messages contained in the paintings were almost visible. The museum rekindles a passion for art and to a person without interest. The museum has a way of making them appreciate art, especially the ancient art. It is rich in artifacts and is definitely a nice place to visit.
A painting by David Gilmour, Blythe of President Lincoln crashing the dragon of rebellion caught one’s eye. Lincoln seems to be between the rock and the hard place. His leg is chained to a large stump labeled democracy, and he is fighting with a monster called rebellion. The constitution and the Bible rest on top of the stump with a bottle of rum balancing at the edge. A cracked bell and a lot of graffiti are visible from one’s point of view, and there is also a picture of a man smoking from a pipe, who seems to be helping the beast of rebellion to conquer Lincoln. Lincoln’s face shows rage and distress, and his clothes seem dirty, the monster is huge and seems powerful, since it has brought down a pillar with its tail. In a dark corner, there are two figures watching the whole proceedings without any active participation. Outside, the houses seem to be on fire and dark clouds can be seen. The painting seems to be political. Lincoln is the president of the United States of America struggling with a lot of politically rebellious individuals. He struggles with rebellions to a point of physical fights. The man smoking from a pipe symbolizes the leader of the rebellious groups. The two figures in a dark corner represent innocent civilians who have no power to join the fight, but are rather waiting for the outcome.
Having seen the original piece at the museum, one searches for a reproduction of the same. Several images and books are readily available in the media and, particularly, one the web. Since the piece is political, one is interested in all sources that have used the reproduced image in political realms. On this particular site, the image is almost similar to the original piece, except for a lighter shade and a few words inscribed at the bottom of the image, reading “struggle and democracy.’ The image seems to be portraying Lincoln as a fighter and an advocate for democracy. This image is different from the original painting, since it explains the message in the words inscribed at the bottom and causes the viewer to immediately sympathize with Lincoln and hate the rebellion. This was not the intention of the original painting. The original painting gave one a chance to think for oneself without explanation. This new image may mystify the original painting, since the message contained is an interpretation of the original painting. This is the modern art where the one artist’s work is manipulated by another, so that the latter’s purpose is met. This message is most likely to be used by a democrat partisan who has an aim of showing that Lincoln (a democrat himself) was struggling with rebellious opposition most probably from the republican counterparts for political reasons. The reproduced image can be successful in such a political campaign and, in this case, one can say it worked.
In an effort to preserve the original art and ancient paintings, one would not alter the image of Lincoln’s struggle with rebellion. If one were to use it, then the original image size and appearance would be utilized. This would ensure that the original message was not altered or interfered. This piece would be used to encourage originality, so that the new generation of painters would not rely so much on other peoples’ work, but rather be independent in their thoughts and creative. The modern day generation of artists lacks originality and has embraced plagiarism and copying of other people’s works and ideas. Maintaining the original work may not help much, but it can assist people in seeing the original work and being inspired in trying their own one. Even with one’s maintaining the original appearance of the reproduced copy, Berger (117) is right in so many ways. One will inadvertently make this work of art available to anyone who has access to one’s work. This will eventually minimize the power of painting, its authority, market value, and even the original message the author wanted to be put across will be distorted. Works of the fine art are rare, and reproduction kills this phenomenon of scarcity. The exploration of old works of art happening in the modern world is accomplished in the way that the old-fashioned method of doing things seemed to be silly and foolish. Nobody thinks for themselves anymore. Reproduction of the original copy in one’s painting will also avail the copy to many people for free, regarding the original works powerless and killing their value, since they will be readily available (Berger 118).
In conclusion, the three points of view on the painting prove a lot of facts; in the original painting, messages are still intact; the content is not free or available everywhere and all museum visitors have different interpretations of the particular piece of art. At the second level of viewing (that is the reproduced Internet image), the message is distorted to suit the intention of the person who reproduced and distributed this work. The same happens at the third stage, where one has freedom to do whatever one wishes with the reproduced copy of the painting. Such an open system will slowly kill everything what the predecessors in art began. Artistic work will be easily forgotten, if everyone aims at reproducing old works of art in, galleries instead of coming up with new and better styles of work. In all three levels one experienced, only paintings in the museum hold the original power and authority. It is also the only point where the original message is found without alteration or distortion of any manner. An individual is able to manipulate a piece of art in a way that his intention and purpose are met without caring what message, power, authority or purpose it carried and how the artist intended it to be. The reproduction kills art, and nothing can be gained from this. People should understand that reproduction is almost the same as piracy and that the industry suffers a slow death, as long as people remain ignorant of this fact. The transformations discussed here show clearly just how this happens, and the language and message change completely, making it a new piece of artifact.