Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1912 (Heft 39)

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THE SUN HAS SET

A RT is dead.
f\ Its present movements are not at all indications of vitality; they
X jL are not even the convulsions of agony prior to death; they are the
mechanical reflex action of a corpse subjected to a galvanic force.
Yes, Art is dead. It died when the atmosphere which was necessary for
its life became rarefied and exhausted. It died when pure faith died; when
the passive fear of the unknown disappeared; when religious hope was dissi-
pated. It died when the positivistic spirit proclaimed that Art was no longer
necessary to humanity; when it convinced humanity that Science and not
Art was the solver of the great riddles of the Sphinx. Pagan Art died when
the gods died, and when God was suppressed, Christian Art died.
In the sociological movement of modern times, the principle of authority
was substituted for that of individualism. Now individualism is being re-
placed by the principle of fraternity.
What relation can exist between these principles of sociologic science, and
pure Art? Everything in the universe is linked, and Art is but one of the
manifestations of the thought of an epoch, one of its facets. If it be true to
say that every people gets the government that it deserves, then it is also true
to say that every epoch develops its own particular Art.
The principle of authority founded the life of Nations on the rock of
faith. In Religion, this faith showed itself as content to accept without
questioning its dogmas. In Politics, it took the form of a superstitious
respect for tradition. And in both Religion and Politics it was a subjection
to force as a system.
That is why, during the long period of the Middle Ages, physical force
took refuge in the Castle, and moral force or civilization found its home in
the Monastery.
There, within the narrow limits of the Monastery, all intellectual and
manual activities, the soul and the body of Art, found themselves. Paganism
being dead, the new religion took upon itself the charge of maintaining and
giving new vigor to the plastic arts.
Latin architecture was succeeded by Roman architecture, and this was
followed by the Gothic. Raoul Glaber, a famous Benedictine from Bour-
gogne, explains how the architectural transformations permitted by the
churches were not imposed by a material necessity, but were the outcome of
the new idea that had appeared, compared with which the old seemed to be
out of date.
This principle of authority prevailed in all its power until the appearance
of Luther, who, unconsciously, sowed the seed of individualism.
It would seem that the principle of individualism ought to have killed
inspiration, since it tends to eliminate the conception of the ideal. But this
did not take place because the elimination did not occur. The Reformation
was neither Atheist nor Rationalist. Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, appear to
be as fanatic as the Pontiffs, Bishops and inquisitors of Catholicism. It was

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