4 Answers

  1. There are two pictures that you just need to put side by side, and the answer suggests itself. These are Delacroix's “Freedom Leading the People” and Schnetz's” Battle of the Hotel de Ville”.

    They were written on the same subject, at the same time, in the same circumstances, by artists of similar social status and views, both almost the same size, the same composition, with the same people. It is dedicated to the “three glorious days” of the French Revolution of 1830, with a central figure and a flag in the middle, a Gavroche on the side, extras around, corpses below. But where is a good picture, and where is a masterpiece?

    Schnetz seems to be more realistic than Delacroix, but his poses are not less, but even more picturesque. Delacroix's abstract soldiery is replaced here by very specific Swiss mercenaries. The lines are thinner and clearer, which means they are much closer to the existing canon. The composition is balanced, even static, as if everyone got up to take pictures. Romantic hero in the foreground.

    This is a real square, a real event that has not only a date, but even a specific time of day. That's basically all Schnetz has to offer us.

    What does Delacroix offer us?

    At Delacroix's, the crowd moves out of nowhere, out of a powder fog that has no beginning. This is less like a depiction of military operations and more like a crusade for the glory of the revolution-a march of the ever-victorious, whose icon will not be the House of Orleans, nor the new taxation, nor the triumph of popular sovereignty over the landed aristocracy, but the impossibility of putting an end to history.

    Delacroix does not adorn the picture. Her lines are rough, greasy, his marchers are dirty, his corpses lie like corpses, but with all the chaos that is happening there, the place in the foreground is free, there is nothing between us and them, and if we don't go with them, then they are coming at us, they are already here, and ahead, the first is the bitch freedom itself.

    Freedom, Delacroix tells us — is not an abstraction. It is an abstraction while it is referred to as an abstraction. When people go to die for her — she becomes a woman of flesh and blood, with a flag in one hand and a rifle in the other, she goes in one direction, and whoever goes not with her will remain under her feet.

    Schnetz doesn't have any of this. Schnetz's painting is a social order on the theme of freedom. Delacroix's painting is about how freedom works in general.

    This is what distinguishes a good picture and a real one: insight into the inner workings of what it says.

    Finally, there is another difference. Schnetz's painting was painted three years later. “Freedom that leads the people” had already been bought out and removed for 20 years — it was very annoying for those in power — but Shnetz simply could not never see it. Who knows why he took it into his head to repeat Delacroix's painting. Perhaps, to repeat the success, or maybe on the contrary, to pay tribute, to establish a canon. In any case, it doesn't matter: Schnetz's version may have been closer to reality, but the freedom that Delacroix portrayed was not in this picture.

  2. In Soviet times, my friends from work came from Leningrad, where they were at the exhibition of paintings by Glazunov. They were absolutely delighted and brought the exhibition catalog. I was looking at it with interest and at that moment my wife called from the neighboring department and said that an album with reproductions of Salvador Dali had been brought from a business trip abroad and if I wanted to, I could come and see it. Which I did. I must admit that I was very taken aback by Dali's paintings, although I have already seen some of them. It was such a flight of fancy and such a depth of thought that Glazunov faded in comparison, like a provincial draughtsman. If you can compare artists, the difference in quality is immediately apparent, no matter how perfect one of them is. I do not think that Glazunov is a bad artist, but in my opinion, he is similar to the artist from Gogol's story “Portrait”. I sold my soul and talent to the devil for money. Dali is also not perfect, but apparently genius can't ruin anything.

  3. Artists say that everything about the art of painting is based on “a little bit”. So in a masterpiece of this a little bit more than just a good picture. But many good paintings are as good as masterpieces.

  4. It's very simple: a good picture is created according to the canons and rules that artists learn to become great.

    And great masterpieces are created just the opposite. They are based not on the use of canons and rules, but on a successful disregard for them. It is by breaking the rules that artists become great, and their works become masterpieces. Because that's when a good picture starts to stand out from the rest of the good pictures, which makes it better and more attractive.

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