Class Struggle In Art History

978 Words4 Pages
From the Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu: Critical Essays, by Simon Susen and Bryan Turner, it states that, "One can utilize sociological insight, like class system, to understand art history. The perception of art varies so greatly from one class to another. Class struggle involves contrasting ways of appropriating art and culture. Classes set themselves apart by means of a very different understanding of art and culture and thus reproduce, more or less unintentionally, the class structures of society" (p. 3). Using China's Art history, I will elucidate Susen's and Tuner's statement by using the following Chinese art types; funeral art, court art, literati art, marketplace art and totalitarian art. Funeral Art, especially the posthumous soul,…show more content…
This must be so, because literati painters are higher up in societal structure when court painters were lower class who were hired to paint for those of higher status such as the emperor. In China's art history court painters were artisans hired by an emperor to paint their auspicious sign. An auspicious sign is an ideological justification and support for the emperor to rule. Such as the painting, Auspicious Cranes, was painted for Emperor Huizong of the Northern Song Dynasty of China because this painting illustrates Huizong's auspicious sign that supported his rule. Also, the auspicious painting, Auspicious Objects and Peacock, was painted by Italian which Italians artisans were not even considered artists, they were used, almost as a slave. As for Literati painters, these painters were scholar-official artists who separated themselves from artisans or court painters. Literati painters were very highly educated and wanted to establish themselves away from court style. Expression, simplicity and non-realistic was the literati style, they believed naiveté was better. They also believed that painting and calligraphy was one and saw bamboo as a trope. When painting bamboo, the eight-stroke method and dragging brushwork is used just as it is used in the Chinese writing system. Literati also see bamboo as a symbol of resiliency. The bamboo bends but does not break such as any man…show more content…
The availability of art began to grow throughout the art market because the ownership of art was claiming elite cultural status. The merchant class was now able to have involvement with art which caused the Literati to lose its privilege of being the only ones to be involved with art. In the art piece, Ranking Ancient Work in Bamboo Court, it shows the merchant class creating quantities of colorful, realistic art. The literati thought it was vulgar that the merchant class preferred quantity over quality, but also lower classes could now be involved with art. This is when different types of "culture" in art emerged; art became a society. There was court, literati and marketplace art. All different styles that believed in different ways of creating and handling art. Literati kept their work private, when merchants displaced art all over their homes. Court and merchant art was realistic but the Literati though realistic was vulgar and created more simplistic art because the literati saw it as elegant. The Literati, Emperors and Commoners all lived different lifestyles and had different understandings of art but in the end, art is important, and it shows class
Open Document