Sam Rohdie
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Some paintings at the end of the nineteenth century, the work of Manet, for example, became what Foucault called, ‘museum paintings’, paintings for other paintings, both contemporary and of the past. The historical dimension was not particularly chronological. The museum painting related to other paintings not by geography, time, or subject, but as form and its transformation: light, brushstroke, colour, composition, surface.

The museum was not primarily educational, nor there to conserve and preserve works of art, but rather to exhibit art as sacred for admiration and worship. Two things were necessary, that the work be truly a work, that it was fabricated and that it was exceptional (beautiful, skilful). These qualities defined what art was. A question arose about how works were to be exhibited. As with libraries, classification systems were instituted which had little to do with aesthetic value, but everything to do with place, subject, artist, genre, and later, movements.

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