Sunday

Week 5, Schapiro on Style

To Schapiro, style is a type of system of constant forms in art used by individuals or groups. Schapiro takes great consideration of historical context, as he suggests style reflects a culture; their values, accomplishments, and illustration of their context in time and space. He suggests the importance of both form and expression; as styles have common form elements, like the arch seen in Roman, Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, but, the way such elements are combined and contextualized with other elements will define the style more than the element itself.

Schapiro considers how contemporary attitudes have shifted to a more relative viewpoint, allowing for more flexibility in what styles are seen as ‘acceptable’. He says, “style is like a language” (p.148), and because of this attitude, works by children and the clinically insane are now considered legitimate. Schapiro thinks the influence of primitive art style is obvious in many modern works, although the structure and content have shifted, taking on new meanings in a new context.

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