Over time, the knowledge produced by the visual arts has experienced a decrease in quality as artwork has deviated from being extremely developed to being incredibly simplistic. When comparing the art of classicism from the early fifth century to the contemporary works of today, one can observe the shift in the aesthetic emotion conveyed. Classical art had a great sense of complexity, detail and confinement to the well-founded artistic rules of linearity, symmetry and control. Examples include works by the famous Nicolas Poussin whos artwork produced sophisticated knowledge through its ability to tell a story or express the beauty of the world in ways which could not be captured by any other means, while still respecting the canons, prospective and order of the classical era. As “we have no other means of recognizing a work of art than our feeling for it”, the knowledge produced by classical pieces was only so great due to its ability to evoke relatedness in its universal audience, by establishing a connection between the viewers and the beautiful elements that please the eye.
In contrast, many contemporary works of present day lack the skill, the handcraft and the visual appeal of the fine arts preventing the audience from grasping the portrayal of the themes within the artwork as admiring the work does not suffice due to its simplistic nature. For example, when considering the works by Mark Rothko, his art comprises only of rectangular fields of colour layered on top of each other on a canvas with no given subject matter. The sole objective of his artwork was to deviate from the typical historical functions of painting large, grandiose, pompous art and simply wanting the viewers to feel overwhelmed by his choice of vibrant colours. He, like many contemporary artists, avoided technique and did not follow rules, ultimately allowing everything to have the potential of becoming art. As art constantly evolves into new movements, its historical development has simplified the conventions and the value found within it. The quality of knowledge provided by contemporary works has become restrictive as to many observers there seems to be little meaning and inner logic behind the work.