In Art: Is “Timeless” a Dirty Word?

“Timeless” always seems like a dirty word that removes the flesh from great artists and renders them almost inhuman.

That quote hit home to me. I had always thought that too, almost secretly, because to say that to artists who aspire to be timeless, so that their aura would “live on” somehow, well, that’s just plain putting on the boxing gloves. And then I realized that most artist DO aspire to be timeless. But first, artists mimic the “timeless” artists to gain their own launching point.

When I started to dig deeper, to think about who or what art is considered “timeless,” there are a lot of “timeless” examples that artists aspire to.

How about Katherine Hepburn? MC Escher? What about Rothko? Or Monet? In fact, the more that I think about it, all of the great masters are timelessly reproduced. Here’s an example.  A friend of mine is exhibiting in a show in NYC, and he posted a picture of an entire wall of works. On that wall were several canvases that ran the Impressionist vein. They looked like Monet, the Second Coming. How closely we classify Monet with Impressionism! How about when someone creates a tempestuous landscape and we think: Turner! Or when someone paints broken up bits rectangles stuck together and we think: Picasso/Braque (Cubism)!

Face it: everyone aspires to create “timeless.” Because they want to be copied, in art studios, by thousands of fledgling artists, again and again. To be mimicked is a sign of greatness. Only then can an artist consider themselves “timeless.”


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