Exotic Astrology

Your Introduction To Rare Astrology, Sprituality and PseudoScience

High Art or Low Art

The Asteroid is a very interesting celestial body. It is one of the most beautiful objects in the sky. It is the smallest astronomical body known to have a gravitational pull on other celestial objects, so much so that its gravitational force can affect the orbits of planets and other celestial objects. It is also the only body, besides the Sun and the Moon, that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. The asteroid belt is a region of the Solar System located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It contains several hundred asteroids that share the Sun’s orbital plane and thus appear as short-period comets. The asteroid belt was named after the astronomer Abbe Galileo Galilei.

Astrology is a funny thing, isn’t it? You can either believe that it gives you some special power, or you can see it for what it really is: a form of self-help that promises to make your life better. Either way, there is no denying that astrology is a controversial subject. There are people who swear by it, and there are people who believe it is nothing more than a bunch of mumbo jumbo. But behind the controversy, the curious may find some interesting information regarding the origins, history, and meaning of astrology.

The astrological forecast for your birthday is the best place to start every good astrology reading. It’s also the place to meet the average astrologer’s challenge to make astrology relevant to you. If you’re ready, then “High Art or Low Art” is the key. This week, we’re going to find out just what the average astrologer thinks about astrology.

Top, Left to Right: Oswald Wirth Tarot, Soprafino, RWS. Bottom: Convers TdM, Thoth, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/angel-of-the-eighth-sphere.jpg?w=267″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/angel-of-the-eighth-sphere.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-20776″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/angel-of-the-eighth-sphere.jpg?w=640&h=718″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”718″ />Top, Left to Right: Oswald Wirth Tarot, Soprafino, RWS. Bottom: Convers TdM, Thoth, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot

Recently, I’ve been debating whether tarot card art is high art (i.e., fine art) or low art (due to its classification as illustration).

High-Art-or-Low-Art

It’s difficult to dispute that tarot card images aren’t poor art. It was created with the intention of being useful, it is marketed, it is a craft rather than a kind of fine art, and it follows a set of rules. As a result, it’s obviously poor art.

From The Cards (2021) by Patrick Maille ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/patrick-maille-tarot-book-10.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/patrick-maille-tarot-book-10.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-25473″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/patrick-maille-tarot-book-10.jpg?w=640&h=640″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”640″ />From The Cards (2021) by Patrick Maille

Furthermore, today’s tarot is mostly mass-produced, and as a mass-produced product, it was designed to appeal to as broad a commercial audience as possible. Many of today’s decks have the sense of kitsch art at times. Is kitsch art, on the other hand, a kind of great art? Even that is a thought-provoking topic.

Image source: Il Meneghello, studio of hand-painted Italian tarots ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/il-meneghello-shop-milan.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/il-meneghello-shop-milan.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-27295″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/il-meneghello-shop-milan.jpg?w=640&h=400″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”400″ />Image source: Il Meneghello, studio of hand-painted Italian tarots

Yet, while conforming to criteria of “low art,” such as being a craft, utilitarian, and formulaic in the sense of replicating an organized tarot deck, I remain unconvinced that Il Meneghello’s works aren’t a kind of high art.

The Rosetta Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/rosetta-tarot-meleen-6.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/rosetta-tarot-meleen-6.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-24123″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/rosetta-tarot-meleen-6.jpg?w=640&h=480″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”480″ />The Rosetta Tarot

The Mary El Tarot is a deck of cards created by Mary El. The Thoth Journey Tarot is a deck of cards that depicts the journey of Thoth. On the Tarot of the Abyss, the linework. To me, the Dracxiodos Tarot is great art that is contemporary. The Mystic Sea’s Navigators The Rosetta Tarot and the Tabula Mundi are both tarot decks. Consider the Palekh tiny paintings created especially for the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg deck.

1630080737_422_High-Art-or-Low-ArtThe Thousand and One Nights Tarot

And how would I classify art decks in which the pictures on the cards are fine art reproductions? On a pillowcase, some resemble the Mona Lisa, while others like Rembrandt on a tote bag. Others are high-art derivatives from the public domain. Which, I suppose, automatically qualifies it as low art?

When it comes to the element of purpose, I have a question mark in my mind. Low art is produced for the sake of amusement and does not necessitate that you, the spectator, ponder the philosophical and metaphysical significance of life.

The Venetian Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/venetian-tarot-by-eugene-vinitski-08-pentacles.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/venetian-tarot-by-eugene-vinitski-08-pentacles.jpg?w=640″ class=”wp-image-10882 size-full” src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/venetian-tarot-by-eugene-vinitski-08-pentacles.jpg?w=640&h=314″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”314″ />The Venetian Tarot

Is a tarot deck designed just for entertainment? Is it necessary for you to have previous knowledge in order to appreciate that piece of art?

Because it needs “a priori knowledge” to properly appreciate the subtlety and skill of the work, high art, or fine art, is meant for a small audience. Whereas cheap art is mass-made, high art is created in a restricted number of pieces. Whereas cheap art is meant to be enjoyed, great art is meant to be pondered.

Tarot of the Abyss ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/tarot-of-the-abyss-ana-tourian-11.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/tarot-of-the-abyss-ana-tourian-11.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-25279″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/tarot-of-the-abyss-ana-tourian-11.jpg?w=640&h=640″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”640″ />Tarot of the Abyss

Couldn’t a lot of today’s tarot art be deemed fine art if judged by those standards?

Sure, it’s a scale with smudged measuring lines, and few things are really one or the other at the extremes.

Golden Botticelli Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/botticelli-tarot-lo-scarabeo-14.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/botticelli-tarot-lo-scarabeo-14.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-9405″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/botticelli-tarot-lo-scarabeo-14.jpg?w=640&h=360″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”360″ />Golden Botticelli Tarot

Take, for example, a well-known picture by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, or Van Gogh to illustrate a point: the initial piece was almost certainly what most of us now would consider great art. But what about tote bags, pillows, and coffee cups with the Birth of Venus or Starry Night?

Golden Tarot of Klimt ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/klimt-coffee-table-decor.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/klimt-coffee-table-decor.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-4055″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/klimt-coffee-table-decor.jpg?w=640&h=360″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”360″ />Golden Tarot of Klimt

Does the passage of time, changes in culture and society, and the development of how a single piece of art or artist progresses from obscurity to economic success alter our perceptions of what constitutes great vs. poor art?

Or have we drawn a clear boundary between the Mona Lisa on a tote bag and *the* Mona Lisa on display at the Louvre in Paris?

Visconti-Sforza Tarot reproduction by U.S. Games ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/what-your-deck-says-about-you-visconti-sforza-usgs.jpeg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/what-your-deck-says-about-you-visconti-sforza-usgs.jpeg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-5236″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/what-your-deck-says-about-you-visconti-sforza-usgs.jpeg?w=640&h=360″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”360″ />Visconti-Sforza Tarot reproduction by U.S. Games

The original artwork on the Visconti-Sforza tarot cards may be classified as poor art in their period and place.

But could centuries of passing time and changes in culture and society turn the originals housed behind glass in fine art museums today from low art to high art? To be honest, I have no idea how to respond to that question.

1630080738_285_High-Art-or-Low-Art

A few years ago, my father and I had a heated discussion over a similar topic. Is my tarot deck considered “traditional art” or “graphic design”?

This was done with the understanding that the concept of “traditional art” changes, and that media like watercolor and photography, which were not previously considered parts of traditional art, are today.

Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, Vitruvian Edition ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/spirit-keepers-tarot-vitruvian-cards-2.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/spirit-keepers-tarot-vitruvian-cards-2.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-17545″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/spirit-keepers-tarot-vitruvian-cards-2.jpg?w=640&h=302″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”302″ />Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, Vitruvian Edition

My father referred to my tarot drawings as “graphic design,” noting that they were not conventional art since they were printed in thousands of copies and, furthermore, were intended for people to touch, shuffle, and use in tarot readings (i.e., created with the intention of it serving a functional purpose).

He wasn’t incorrect, and I had to dig deep within myself to figure out why it bothered me that he referred to my tarot work as “graphic design” rather than “traditional art.”

In 2019, I posted a Facebook post on this subject, or at least a variant of it, and a number of brilliant people responded. Many well-known deck makers, tarot luminaries, professional artists, graphic designers, and philosophers contributed their thoughts, making it well worth reading simply for their perspectives.

Due to the epidemic, I didn’t get to see my parents in person in 2020, but they came to see me earlier this month. This was a topic that my father and I discussed again. He could see that referring to SKT as “poor art” upset me on some level.

It is, after all, low art. I’m not sure I can refute that claim. Nonetheless.

In response, he pointed out that it’s a bit hypocritical of me to be concerned about my tarot deck being low art when I profess to care about assisting as many people as possible, i.e., mass service. A single original piece of “high” art, such as “low” tarot art, or even an indie deck that sells for a hundred dollars, is much more accessible to people than a single original work of “high” art.

Haindl Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/haindl-tarot-09-wands-and-cups-courts.jpeg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/haindl-tarot-09-wands-and-cups-courts.jpeg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-3918″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/haindl-tarot-09-wands-and-cups-courts.jpeg?w=640&h=537″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”537″ />Haindl Tarot

Buying an original piece of high art simply feeds the ego of someone who already has ungodly wealth, while owning a work of low art not only gives pleasure to many people via its aesthetic worth, but it also serves since it is useful.

The same philosophical thought and a priori knowledge that goes into debating high art may still be found in debating poor art, but while low art can serve a purpose, high art cannot.

Thoth Journey Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/aia-leu-artist-thoth-journey-tarot.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/aia-leu-artist-thoth-journey-tarot.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-24379″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/aia-leu-artist-thoth-journey-tarot.jpg?w=640&h=640″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”640″ />Thoth Journey Tarot

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that certain tarot deck art fits the established criteria of high art, while others are shamelessly forms of low art. This isn’t to suggest that one requires less talent than the other, but rather to categorize the deck creator’s goals into various categories.

In fact, if you’re making a tarot deck, you probably want it to be low art, in the sense that it should be useful. High art is often seen as esoteric, difficult, restricted in production in some way, for a small audience, and more akin to aesthetic and philosophical contemplation than use. And, after all, a tarot deck should be useful, right?

Would I then say that deck art that closely copies a pre-existing tarot system, such as Pamela Colman Smith’s compositions in the RWS, is formulaic and thus definitely low art, whereas deck creators who go off the beaten path to come up with original interpretations of tarot themes are unique enough to be high art? That’s what I’m saying. What are the criteria for distinguishing between poor and excellent art in tarot?

Covert art on the Book of Maps, Revelation Ed. ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/skt-book-of-maps-proofs-16.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/skt-book-of-maps-proofs-16.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-24303″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/skt-book-of-maps-proofs-16.jpg?w=640&h=642″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”642″ />Covert art on the Book of Maps, Revelation Ed.

Take, for example, the above-mentioned cover image. Most of us would consider it great art if I had hand-drawn and hand-colored every mark and shape there using oil paints. Most of us would now label it poor art since I simply hand-drew a fourth of the picture, scanned it in, digitally colored it in, then digitally performed the mirrored effect to get what you see above.

So, on that basis, one might infer that skill level and work intensity are two factors that distinguish high and poor art.

Ancestral Path Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/ancestral-path-tarot-by-julie-cuccia-watts-04.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/ancestral-path-tarot-by-julie-cuccia-watts-04.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-17764″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/ancestral-path-tarot-by-julie-cuccia-watts-04.jpg?w=640&h=333″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”333″ />Ancestral Path Tarot

Except it isn’t. Because there are plenty of instances of hand-drawn, hand-painted work requiring master-level ability and technique that we’d still classify as simple illustration or low art due to the nature of the job.

As a result, it’s almost as if the bar is continually moving to accommodate our preexisting prejudices.

Encore Tarot ” data-medium-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/encore-tarot-ciro-marchetti-16-pl-of-swords.jpg?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/encore-tarot-ciro-marchetti-16-pl-of-swords.jpg?w=640″ class=”size-large wp-image-19999″ src=”https://benebellwen.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/encore-tarot-ciro-marchetti-16-pl-of-swords.jpg?w=640&h=641″ alt=”” width=”640″ height=”641″ />Encore Tarot

Who cares? is a follow-up question that sprang to me while I was thinking about this cultural difference between good and poor art. What is the purpose of attempting to distinguish between high and low, if not to separate, divide, and categorize individuals and their works? And why go through the trouble of sorting various people’s works into separate categories in the first place?

And I couldn’t, at least not with a good response, answer that question.

I’ll pose the issue to you now: how do you place tarot card art in the context of “high art” and “poor art”?

As an example:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Whats considered high art?

High art is something that has a high level of quality and/or beauty.

What are examples of high art?

Examples of high art include paintings, sculptures, and literature.

What is low art and popular culture?

Low art is a term used to describe an artwork that has little or no value, and popular culture is a term used to describe the mainstream aspects of society.

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  • high art and low art examples
  • how should the distinction between high art and low art be explained to non experts
  • high art definition
  • high art vs low art essay