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People in London didn't see the fog, until painters started painting it. Timothy Schmalz

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Twentieth Century Painting - Margaret Wilson

The window is closed
 
Engaging with early to mid-twentieth-century painting 
 
by Margaret Wilson
 
The purposes of art are as varied as periods of time and culture. Cave painters’
purpose was magical; medieval artists transmitted a visual theology and for three
centuries prior to the twentieth century, painters were mastering the painting of the
visible world, a way of suggesting three-dimensional bodies placed in space. This art
was less realistic than it appeared as past great artists were aware, involving simplifying,
rearranging, even abstracting. But by the beginning of the twentieth century,
many artists thought realism an outdated idea. For them the window upon the world
was closed.