Was Stanley Spencer an academic painter or a neo romantic? Free essay! Download now
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Was Stanley Spencer an academic painter or a neo romantic?
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| Words: 2000 | Submitted: 31-Jan-2005
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DescriptionEssay exploring the esoteric and unexplored Northern Renaissance influences over Spencer's symbolism and concluding that his individualist spiritualism and faith is crucial to his enterprise.
While there is no right or wrong answer, there’s also no need to suggest that Spencer must have been one or the other, forcing pieces of semantic puzzles together until there are enough to form a recognisable shape in a single category group. Spencer is notoriously hard to pigeon hole, partly because his work is so localised and individual, but also because he is desperately esoteric in both style and theory. Slapping a label on him seems beside the point.
Nevertheless, a response falls naturally into two parts: the technical and the theoretical. The first demands analysis of Spencer’s painterly practice, the “what”; the second addresses his attitudes, the “why”, perhaps. His ambiguity has always been a notorious feature, but here Wyndham Lewis respects it,
“His painting is the negation of quality. It is quantitative. He is endlessly repetitive…a convention poor in form, illustrational. His naivety is painful, like the oppressive archness of a self-conscious little girl. For all this I respect Spencer. He has a visionary gift after all.”
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