Artists have been always viewed as an intriguing and enigmatic slice of society. People are usually curious about the “backstage” process – how all those paintings, performances and photography are created. We are happy to get fascinated with a good work of art. We are intrigued to learn more about what “those creative beings” are up to now. There are numerous art fairs, exhibitions, biennales supported by art professionals, businessmen, collectors, art fans and even governments. But was it always this way?
There is a famous saying attributed to Queen Victoria: “Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous.”
People are still speculating upon the real author of the phrase. There are sources pointing that actually she said this way: “Beware of artists. They rarely research the validity of anything that appears to agree with their world view and are easily suckered by campaign propaganda.”
Other sources say that it was not Queen Victoria at all. It is paraphrase of a letter written in 1845 by King Leopold of Belgium, supposedly to Queen Victoria: “Dealings with artists, for instance, require great prudence; they are acquainted with all classes of society, and for that reason dangerous; they are hardly ever satisfied, and when you have too much to do with them, you are sure to have des ennuis.”
Anyway, whoever the author of those warnings was, do you think that the “governments – artists” relationships have improved since the 19th century, or do you feel that artists are still mistreated with disrespect? It looks like as long as artists would touch political topics they would still be called “dangerous”. Because it is hard to underestimate the influence of a good work of art.