sical” Realism, “Photo” Realism, “Political” Realism, “Social”rnRealism, the straightforward mimesis of “Realist” Realism,rnplus a hundred more modifiers. Simply put, all forms of realismrnin the visual arts present recognizable images of objectixernreality, meaning the physical world, including mankind.rnThe “realisms” important to our present examination arern”Classical” Realism and “Realist” Realism, for to some degreernboth are employed by the “Romantic” Realist. Artistsrnof both schools produce representational work that relies uponrnestablished Western techniques of painting and sculpture forrnthe physical execution of their art. “Classical” Realist artistsrnwork within the canons of form derived from Greco-Roman artrnin order to create the ideal through generalization (we are remindedrnthat it was precisely the formulization of Classicismrnagainst which the 19th-century European Romantics rebelled).rn”Realist” Realist artists use the same technical skills in order tornrepresent real life through particularization. We might sayrnthat although technically similar, the main difference betweenrnClassicists and Realists is that the first seek perfection andrnthe second accuracy; the first project universality and the secondrnspecificity.rnBut the “Romantic” seeks, above all else, expression. Individualityrnas expressed through the subjective emotions of thernartist was—and is—the leitmotiv of the Romantic spirit. Romanticismrnhas undergone a variety of interpretations. Evenrnsuch a quintessential romantic as Delacroix, when hailed as thern”Victor Hugo of painting,” could retort, “Sir, I am a pure classicist!”rnNevertheless, one attribute of Romanticism is unchanging:rna romantic (whether in art or in life) is one whornloves emotions. And emotions are highly individual stirringsrnindeed.rnToday, we know much more about emotions than did ourrn19th-century counterparts. We understand that emotionsrnflow directly from value stimulation. Whether values arernrational or irrational is, here, beside the point; in art we arernconcerned with their visual manifestation. On value expressionrnin art, the philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand, in herrn1969 Romantic Manifesto, defines art as “a selective re-creationrnof reality according to an artist’s metaphysical valuejudgments.”rnOn emotions, she elsewhere states: “Just as thernpleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is an automatic indicatorrnof his body’s welfare or injury . . . so the emotionalrnmechanism of man’s consciousness is geared to perform thernsame function . . . by means of two basic emotions: joy orrnsuffering. Emotions are the automatic results of man’s valuernjudgments integrated by his subconscious. . .”rnNeedless to say, emotional conflicts are the power-packedrnstuff of which good fiction is made. This is precisely becausern—as value responses—emotional conflicts are highlyrncharged dramatizations of value conflicts. Romantic Realistrnpainters and sculptors, however, tend to project harmony betweenrnreason and emotions. Whether in conflict or harmony,rnreason and emotions are human attributes, so art that exploresrnthese attributes must by definition be anthropocentric; hence,rnit must be representational and executed through the samerntechnical skills employed by Classical and Realist Realists.rnTreatment—and importance—of subject matter can bernquite a different matter. Man}’ 20th-eentury Classical Realistsrnhave buried their heads in the sands of time, merely creatingrnover and over again subjects from antiquity through the 19thrncentury. Some Realist Realists, bitten by the modernist bug.rntreat subject only as form in order to address aesthetics exclusively,rnin which case subject matter does not matter at all; thernwork can be as dehumanized as any abstract work.rnSubject alone, however, does not make a work of art romantic;rnimages of girls in white dresses, porch swings, andrnpets are but sentimental attempts at Romanticism. For thernmature Romantic artist, subject matter “matters” because it isrnselected primarily for its ability to best express the content ofrna work. “Content” is the pulsing inner life—the deeperrntheme—of a work of art; it is the sum of the ideas held, consciouslyrnor unconsciously, by the artist that is revealed by hisrnchoices of form, medium, and subject right on down to everyrnbrush stroke or chisel mark. Content and content alone causesrna work of art to transcend its obvious subject matter andrncommunicate, indirectly, the most intimate values of thernartist. And it is content, transformed by the artist into a silentrnmelody of visual aesthetics, that echoes through our sensesrnto find an answering “Amen” in the private recesses of ourrnsouls when we respond profoundh’ to a work of art.rnBut it is, above all, the artist’s feelings for the ideas he holdsrnabout life and humankind—and about himself—that turnrnhim from a realist into a “romantic” who needs to suffuse hisrnwork with the emotional aura of his values. Like his 19thcenturyrnforebears, today’s Romantic uses form (the physicalrnpresentation) to communicate content (human values)rnthrough individual style (emotional expression), thereby makingrnthe means and the end merge, blend, and reemerge asrnone totality of experience that unifies mind, body, and soul.rnThe whole, then, is much greater than the sum of its parts.rnHerein lies art’s ability to afford us a spiritual experience asrnwell as an aesthetic one. The spiritual in art is not evoked byrnan escape from reality but by an embrace of it—existence andrnconsciousness unified and experienced as one. Rememberrnthat one of the root meanings of the word “holy” is whole, as inrn”complete.”rnWith such potent similarities as these, we may wonder if anyrnsignificant difference arises between the separated-by-a-centuryrnRomantic brethren. It does. It is this difference, in fact, thatrnmakes the 20th-century counterpart a Romantic Realist.rnRather than fixing a focus on history, mythology, the remote,rnor the exotic, the contemporary Romantic expresses his viewsrnthrough images of the present, of the here and now—the real.rnYet, once again like his kin, subject matter is handled withrnthe touch of a poet. Images are imbued with beauty and createdrnwith tender ferocity or fierce tenderness; it does not matterrnwhich because it is the artist’s temperament, alone, that determinesrnhis style of communication.rnArt, however, should be more than just an artist’s temperamentrnrevealed. There are those who claim that Abstract Expressionistsrnare the offspring of the I9th-eentury Romantics,rnengaging in expression for the sake of expression. But, upon reflection,rnthe Romantic Realists are their rightful heirs. Simplyrnto follow the linear path of individual expression begun byrnthe Romantics to abstraction is to arrive at the dead end ofrnsubjectivity, which is unintelligibility at worst or decorativernart at best. The theater of emotional expression can becomernthe street brawl of emotional explosion if it is not channeledrnthrough the discipline of a form versatile enough to act as arnstrong but plastic conduit.rnAnother reason form must be malleable is that ideas changernas knowledge and development expand; artists, therefore,rnmust have the continuing ability to adapt form to fresh pur-rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn