The Need to Give: The Patron and the Arts

By Andrew Sinclair | Go to book overview

8
The War to End All Art

HEGEL HAD forecast that science would push art from its central position in man's life to the margins of his existence. Indeed, science made the machines of global conflict and communication that displaced art. Losses in the First World War were terrible, life in the trenches was intolerable. Artillery and mortar shells, machine-guns and poison gas, barbed wire and mines, aeroplanes and tanks, these mechanical inventions cut down many millions of soldiers. 'As the generation of leaves,' Homer had made Glaucus say to Diomedes in the Iliad, 'so are the generations of men.' The siege of Troy was the Great War of Grecian myth, when the best men of Hellas died. The legend of a lost generation of the best men haunted the twenty-one-year period between the First and Second World Wars. 'Our generation becomes history,' Duff Cooper commented, 'instead of growing up.' Those who survived the slaughter of the machines felt guilty. As J. B. Priestley wrote, 'The generation to which I belong, destroyed between 1914 and 1918, was a great generation, marvellous in its promise. This is not self-praise, because those of us who are left know that we are the runts.'

The massacres wrought by the new technology led to an immersion in the human struggle and even a glorification of the machines of war. There was a revulsion from the values of faith and art. 'As people used to live in God,' Marcel Proust wrote, 'I live in the war.' In Italy, the founder of Futurism, Marinetti, declared, 'We will glorify war, the only true hygiene of the world.' The Futurists worshipped motion and power. Instead of God or nature, they adored the noise of the air engine, the speed of the racing car. Life

-106-

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The Need to Give: The Patron and the Arts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Dedication v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Chapters *
  • I - The First Patron 1
  • 2 - Destroyers and Preservers 15
  • 3 - Giving to God and Self 29
  • 4 - The Artist, the Patron and the Slave 46
  • 5 - A Sort of Economic Man 58
  • 6 - The Tree of Life, the Tree of Death 75
  • 7 - Its Own Natural Qualities 91
  • 8 - The War to End All Art 106
  • 9 - The Three Cultures 121
  • 10 - The Revolution That Never Could Be 135
  • 11 - The Patrons and the Arts 152
  • 12 - The Patrons of the Message 170
  • Endpiece - We, the Patrons . . . 188
  • Notes 193
  • Index 203
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