If not, the freedom of putting your ideas on paper and in to the open is limited."
Charles V was well aware of the impossible combination of fractions in 'his, the Holy Roman Emperor's' lands. He was born in Gent (Flandres), raised by his aunt Margret of Austria in Mechelen (Flandres) in the (French) court of Savoy - his Spanish mother (Joan of Castille) and his younger brother and sister he would not see until he was 17 - he was practically raised by William of Croy (French) and (the later pope) Adrian of Utrecht (Dutch) who both tried to teach him the new humanistic values, whilst Jean le Sauvage taught him politics and social administration (French and Italian), he was of the Habsburg family (German), he married Isabel of Portugal, and had the famous Don Juan as a son by his German mistress Barbara Blomberg; all this he frased in: "I speak Spannish to God, Italian to women, French to men, Dutch to boys, and German to my horse." His real power was very restricted since the 'Great Interregnum', the change (within the legislation) of power between the Hohenstaufen and Habsburg families.
Thus rules about what were acceptable and what were unacceptable in texts and pictures were endlessly discussed.
Whereas the Greeks and Romans had their "Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi" (What is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to the ox), which is only possible with one section of society in absolute power, Europe, the Europe that staggered from one war or uprising into another, developed a new idea:
law should be reciprocal:
if one group had the right to print it's thoughts the other group might just do the same.
'up till some point'
Where such point is has been discussed since, up till present day.
There was neat practise of printers to have books secretly devided in quires being of possible Catholic nature, being of possible Protestant (any sort of protestantism) nature, or being of Jewish, and any-etcetera nature, and handing them out to the customer according to their known nature, which kept everyone happy and the printer's pockets filled.
Such practise cannot but come to a point of valuable exchange of ideas, 'truths' if you like, between the different groups which, together with the practical idea of law being reciprocal makes some acceptence of 'the wild ideas of the others' simply necessary, and made printing booming business.
That booming business made good and well practising craftsmen and artists; and it made them think about what they were printing, and how to tell what they considered worth telling, or to show what were worth showing, as they knew how limited that freedom might become when reaching the point where 'the others' might get 'bloody' angy: it could come down to the point where it were one's very own blood.
And with the prices of materials well below those of medieval times, when 'the rich' alowed/forced the artist to use xx-grams of lapis lazuli, and xx-grams gold oxide to paint 'this and that' (and scratched the lapis lazuli off when it were needed for whatever) we now face the opportunity to do whatever we - personally - like, or think necessary.
When I use gold-leafe I may respect the workmen that made it, but as I pay them properly for that job, I am free to use it in whatever way I want. 'My' gold may be next to any worthless material, and glued on to a recycled paper of the worst quality, if I think fit - as 'fit' (as in 'fitting in the expression of my opinion') is all that counts. It should not just be there in order to let the owner (by the way, that is me nowadays) shine on his surrounding, and then of course minor, fellow men.
As in music all musical notes are equal (since Arnold Schönberg), and certainly no tone-scale is 'worthy or un-worthy' to God (or Stalin for that matter), society, or even my neighbour.
Every colour, every line is free in the hands of an artist. The artist is there only to help it celebrate its very own being, or help it 'fit in and be with' any other existing free 'being'.
09.10.2009, Joseph Joh'n' Visser
INDEX of Joseph Joh'n' Visser's Pages