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Alchemist of the Avant-Garde: The Case of Marcel Duchamp by John F. Moffitt

By John F. Moffitt

A desirable publication demonstrating the impression of alchemy and esoteric traditions at the mature artwork of Marcel Duchamp.

Acknowledged because the "Artist of the Century," Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) left a legacy that dominates the paintings international to at the present time. Inventing the sarcastically dégagé perspective of "ready-made" art-making, Duchamp heralded the postmodern period and changed Pablo Picasso because the function version for avant-garde artists. John F. Moffitt demanding situations in most cases permitted interpretations of Duchamp's paintings and character via exhibiting that his mature artwork, after 1910, is basically drawn from the impression of the occult traditions. Moffitt demonstrates that the main to figuring out the cryptic which means of Duchamp's assorted works of art and writings is alchemy, the main pictorial of all of the occult philosophies and sciences.

This leading edge artwork background is written in a full of life, targeted variety. very similar to a prosecuting lawyer's short, Alchemist of the Avant-Garde argues its case with documented ancient proof, now not theoretical types. a desirable learn, Moffitt's paintings might be welcomed by way of artists, paintings fans, and all these attracted to the cultural heritage of the trendy and postmodern eras.

“…this broad and profound examine is very informative, thought-provoking and horizon-broadening.” — AMBIX, magazine of the Society for the historical past of Alchemy and Chemistry

"The complete e-book is unforeseen to those that have by no means thought of Duchamp as an alchemist, starting from the professors who contain him of their paintings historical past surveys to the authors of even fatter books approximately him. Moffitt's a prolific and extremely broadly cultured writer, with targeted services within the Renaissance and within the topic of forgery in addition to in these so much enigmatic of recent artists, Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp. i can't identify the other paintings historian who is aware the esoteric box in addition to he does." — Joscelyn Godwin, writer of Theosophical Enlightenment

John F. Moffitt is Professor Emeritus of paintings background at New Mexico kingdom college. he's the writer of Spanish portray; Occultism in Avant-Garde artwork: The Case of Joseph Beuys; Velázquez, práctica e concept: Estudios dispersos; artwork Forgery: The Case of the woman of Elche; the humanities in Spain; and Picturing Extraterrestrials: Alien Imagery in glossy Mass tradition. he's coauthor (with Santiago Sebastián) of O courageous New humans: the eu Invention of the yank Indian.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Prosecuting the Duchamp Case
1. An Esoteric French early life for Duchamp: Symbolist tradition and Occultism
2. the discovery of the trendy Alchemist-Artist
3. The Cultural Shaping of an Artist-Iconoclast: Duchamp in France, 1887–1915
4. Duchamp's First Experiments in Esoteric and Alchemical paintings, 1910–1912

5. Duchamp in ny with Esoteric buyers and the big Glass, 1915–1923
6. Alchemical Emblematics and the Ready-Mades, 1913–1923
7. The Esoteric Fourth measurement and legislation of probability, 1895–1923
8. The Circle Closes, 1923–1968
Epilogue: The Prosecution Rests

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Accordingly, key phrases in the standard lexicon of Symbolist art theory include the occultist paradigms of an Artist-Priest, the Infinite, the Transcendent, High Consciousness, Metaphysical Insight, Correspondences, Synaesthesia, and so forth. Art is, therefore, for the Symbolist Artist-Theoretician functionally a religious art, and the concrete visual sign of its pseudoreligious intention is abstraction. The historical situation of the Esoteric Tradition visibly infected all levels of Occidental modernism.

23 In the voluminous critical and esthetic debate that surrounded Symbolist innovations it was always the traditional vocabulary of the Esoteric Tradition that best served to define the new aspirations. The Esoteric Tradition, or Occultism, is the mass cult which is hidden (occulta, from occulere, to cover over, hide, conceal). Occult precepts can be easily documented in the oldest surviving esoteric texts, some dating from the Hellenistic period. D. that describes Alchemy, the “science” of transforming common metals into gold.

He was also not the first to pursue nonobjective imagery: one historical precedent was set by pioneering, now mostly forgotten, automatic paintings created by Victorianera spiritualists (discussed in chapter 4). According to recent scholarship,5 the critical shift in the appearance of the plastic arts, beginning around 1875, was signalled by a decisive movement from naturalism to abstraction. This crucial shift was as much a matter of intrinsic content as it was of extrinsic form. After 1875 artistic content more often than not paralleled the verbal content of treatises belonging to the Esoteric Tradition.

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