CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four extracts from articles in which art historians are talking about the value of works of art over time. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The extracts may be chosen more than once.
Worth its weight in gold?
Four art historians consider the value of works of art over time.
A Audrey Anson
It can be particularly challenging to identify the kind of art that will maintain its reputation and value over decades and centuries. Historically many collectors of fine art were entirely self-centred in their approach, purchasing particular works simply to impress others with evidence of their wealth and taste, but with hardly a thought as to what might endure to impress subsequent generations. Such collectors tended to be conservative by nature, often assuming that trends and fashions in art were passing phases and that traditional quality would stand the test of time. Judging the long-term value of contemporary art cannot be an exact science, however, and it is easy to see in retrospect who had a good eye for the art of the future and who had not. Much harder is the business of predicting which of today’s artists will be appreciated in years to come, as many disillusioned art collectors have learnt to their cost. What is not in doubt, however, is that some will end up being counted amongst the all-time greats.
В Justin Bellamy
It’s the need to distinguish the truly worthwhile from the merely fashionable that drives those aiming to establish meaningful art collections today. Their aim is to seek out those contemporary works of art which might be expected not only to retain their value, but also in the fullness of time quite right come to be regarded as definitive examples of a trend or period. Some historians argue that every age is defined by the art it inspires, be it sculpture, painting or whatever. But this is a gross simplification. Until relatively recent times, very few of those commissioning or purchasing such works as new did so with a view to the future. They were more interested in the prestige that owning such works brought them. What’s more, a famous picture may come to be more memorable than the event it depicts, distorting our true understanding of the event itself.
C Anita Crouch
Critics and commentators find it hard enough to agree on what represents the finest in the artistic output of their own times, let alone predict the tastes of the future. In their relentless search to identify the cutting edge, they risk heaping praise on work that is merely of transitory interest, and sadly this risk was never greater than in our present age, when mediocrity seems to be the norm. But it wasn’t always so. In the past, there was much wider consensus regarding what represented notable artistic achievement in whatever style prevailed in a given period. The purchase and exhibition of such works represented a status symbol for those in positions of power and influence, and although over time collections accumulated, it was largely short-term goals that triggered the process. In the end, history judges whether such collections have long-term artistic value or not.
D Dario D’Amico
When people consider what we can pass on to future generations, they come up with various answers ranging from ideas to technology to works of art. And it is the latter that some people feel truly reflect the mood and atmosphere of their time. This will be just as true of our own age, however eccentric the contemporary art scene might appear on the surface. Down through the centuries, people have bought and passed on to future generations, those works of art that seemed to embody the spirit of their age and would have lasting value. More often than not, this turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because for periods predating the advent of mass communications and photography, the art helps form a view of both what life was like and how people thought at the time. Some people go further, claiming that art continues to resonate long after detailed memories of momentous events have been lost.
Which art historian
37 doesn’t have the same opinion as Anson about why people in the past collected works of art?
38 shares Crouch’s view regarding how successfully the best contemporary works of art can be identified?
39 holds a different view to Bellamy regarding the value of art in the study of history?
40 has a different opinion from the others regarding the lasting value of current trends in art?