Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

They said…”Painting was Dead!

It is interesting to note that soon after the invention of the daguerreotype French history painter Paul Delaroche supposedly declared that PAINTING WAS DEAD! In some ways I suppose it was the beginning of the end for the art of painting – at least as a mode for representing external reality. Photography does this so much better, faster and cheaper. Some artists in the late 1800’s were very intimidated by photography yet some like Delacroix saw it as a new and powerful tool to help them make better paintings.

KASABEIR Some photographers like the Pictorialists tried to make photographs that emulated painting. These photos were soft focus, used genre themes and painterly. One thing is for certain…once photography was accepted in the mainstream of society we see painters (Impressionists especially) breaking away from representationalism and exploring more expressive and abstract realms in their art.

I find this interesting from….© Robert Leggat, 1999.

"Delaroche is particularly remembered for his much-quoted remark, on seeing the Daguerreotype, that "from today, painting is dead!" Though it makes an interesting story, the author has yet to find any evidence that Delaroche actually said this! He was, in fact, a leading advocate of photography, as the following observations, some of which come from his report to the French government, show:

"Daguerre’s process completely satisfies all the demands of art, carrying essential principles of art to such perfection that it must become a subject of observation and study even to the most accomplished painters."

"The painter will discover in this process an easy means of collecting studies which he could otherwise only have obtained over a long period of time, laboriously and in a much less perfect way, no matter how talented he might be."

There is no doubt that the invention of Photography had a profound effect on the direction of art and the artists themselves.

I see the innovation of digital technology as having had a similar effect to the analog processes over the past 15 years. I can’t even imagine what photography is going to be like in 10 years considering how incredibly fast technology is evolving and impacting the photographic industry.

Analog or traditional film based photography is not dead and may even be enjoying a resurgence among the more fine art photo community however…there is no doubt it will never be a major player in the commercial industry again. At least that’s my opinion.


One comment on “They said…”Painting was Dead!

  1. Pingback: Is Photography Really Dying? | KeO BLoG

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2011 by in ArT, Photography and tagged , , .
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