Today, a lecturer insisted to me that 'Guernica' could never be made again - that the world has changed - a painting just doesn't carry that significance in today's world. It's a very tired, common testament, but it's true, sadly.
This lack of interest is sad because the human passion put into certain paintings is sometimes felt by us personally, if we only give them the time. We each have our favourites: Vincent van Gogh died distressed and alone over a century ago, and yet there he is in the paint itself, embodying it, a deeply passionate man, hoping to comfort us in a way he believed he could, from human to human. This phenomenon is not a spectacle made by today's top artists, who impress with shock tactics and tiresome installations in the concept-heavy exhibition race. Touching us emotionally and awakening the good in us isn't even their concern.
For an incredibly long time we have done it: painting can record directly the humanity of the maker, to be with us, to help us know that passionate people cared before us - about us. If only for the sake of empathy and feeling, painting as a practice is worth preserving because paintings themselves are worth preserving. The great masters are still about the living, if we want them to be.
If you even gave the time to read this, and still you agree, please do share it with others. Thank you.