Throughout the decades up until today, art was meant to not only make an aesthetic statement and to reflect the cultural movement of a certain era, but was also meant to reflect the society, culture, life style, folklore and religion of the time.
The role of the artist in society was to depict reality and raise awareness about a specific moment in time such as war, scientific discovery, fashion trends or architecture.
When visiting an art museum, we can learn about history by looking at paintings from the past. History doesn’t mean just wars, but dress code, decorative style, food and beverage, class division and lifestyle reflected in hunting scenes or playing instruments. The Hunters at Rest by Vasily Perov or Peasant Dance by Pieter Brueghel are relevant examples for the latter.
The legacy of reflecting society in visual arts has persevered up until today and there are many contemporary artists that stay true to this practice. Issues like global warming, feminism or consumerism are shown in conceptual art or street art and it is meant to make a statement and deliver a powerful message.
There are many artists, however, who are still depicting buildings, interiors, and today’s lifestyle to the viewers’ delight.
If today we recognise those scenes as being part of our everyday life, for future generations they will be a statement of what society was and of the cultural characteristic of our times.
History with its past and present was and is continuing to be a valuable and never ending source of inspiration for artists of all times.