Thursday, June 19, 2014
TECHNE: Timeless Art
The Greek word for art is Techne. Yet "art" is a very poor translation of Techne. In English, the word "art" has no real definition. It's one of those many words, like "pornography" or "authenticity" wherein the modern sophisticated human is content to just "feel" they "know it when they see it."
For the Greeks, words had very specific meanings. Just as sentences had enormously complex yet very specific structures. The Greek word Techne meant "great skill." For the ancient Greeks, an Artist was one who had developed tremendous skill at any discipline. This could apply equally to oratory, painting, horse riding, play writing, weaving, what have you.
Modern sophisticated humans like to think that one can have great skill simply "as an artist." To the ancient Greek this would have been an absurd tautology, akin to saying one has "great skill at having great skill."
This type of sloppy thinking is endemic in the "art world" which celebrates "artists" that have no discernible skills at any discipline save that of "making art." Which is why "artists" like Jeff Koons can make hundreds of millions of dollars selling pieces that require no particular skill at any discipline.
The Art of the Ancient Greek Engravers was a showcase for their tremendous skill. One need have little art historical training to appreciate the technical brilliance of these artists.
And now that modern sophisticated humans can purchase the Ancient Greek artworks that have been certified as genuine and unaltered, they are finally beginning to attain values commensurate with their technical brilliance.