The Art Nouveau doors to the left offer entry, according to a caption, to a building called the Maison aux Grenouilles (frogs) in Brelsko-Biala, Poland.
The doors are near the beginning of a collection of photographs labeled “Bejaroti ajtok: a village mind,” which arrived in my email inbox from my dear mother-in-law, Agnes, who received it from a friend of hers back in the old country – that is, Hungary (the friend now lives in Canada).
The doors in the topmost image are a set from Transylvania. I include them because Agnes’s friend, in her note sending the collection, had regretted that it had none of the carved wooden doors they’d seen together on a trip to Romania.
These are all marvelous doors, and I will point out, at the risk of a good tut-tutting from Agnes, that whoever assembled this collection did not feel obliged to include any “modernist” doors. Their forbearance is admirable.
The doors open a passage into the infinite creativity of sculpture in wood, stone and metal that extends back many, many centuries, to artists and craftsmen on every continent. They needed no boost from the machine aesthetic of our age. The imagery that decorate these doors is largely figurative. Like today’s mapmakers and today’s renderers of proposed buildings, along with today’s artisans in every art and craft, today’s door designers seem largely to have abandoned the effort that shines forth from the doors in this collection of photographs.
Are today’s artists less creative, less talented? I do not think so. They are in the clutches of modernist ideology, for whom creativity means designing something completely unlike anything ever designed before, rather than advancing, in ways large or small, existing methods of embellishment. That strikes me as equally if not more creative.
By the way, this collection arrived in a strange format. I cannot find it on the internet but it is (I hope) accessible by clicking on the following “Keynote” application. I hope it works also for those who do not have Apple computers.