What is “retinal painting”?

“Retinal painting” is the term used by Marcel Duchamp to view paintings negatively.

“Since the advent of Impressionism, visual works have remained on the retina. Impressionism, Fauvism, cubism, abstract painting, etc. are always retinal paintings. Due to physical considerations such as color reactions, The reaction of the brain tissue is diminished by secondary ones. “

“Because the retina has been given too much importance. Since Courbet, paintings have been believed to be directed at the retina. Everyone was wrong there …. … before. The painting had a different function: it could be religious, philosophical, or moral. “

Consider what Duchan described as retinal. Although he criticizes Courbet, Duchan completely sees the essence of the writer Courbet.

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) rejected the idealization of painting, which was the trend of the art world at that time. He established a visual-faithful realism and was the centerpiece of realism.

Courbet painted only what he actually saw in reality, denying traditional religious themes and previous generations of romantic fantasy paintings. Painting critics and the general public were accustomed to paintings that were better depicted than in real life. Courbet opposed this, and he portrayed ordinary places and people as they were. Courbet’s independence from traditional art had a great influence on later modern artists.

From the perspective of art history, I think Courbet played a major role. The independence of painting from religion and mythology was a major crossroads to later Abstract Expressionism. Twice

What else should we express the art after Courbet called “retinal painting” that Duchan denied?

Perhaps what he wanted to deny was not just such a work, but a “retinal” view (appreciation) of trying to see such a work as art.


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