Artistic Calligraphy. Why now?
Calligraphy is a form of artistic expression in many cultures.
In China and Japan, no distinction is made between learning to draw and learning to write: brushes and inks are used to create strokes using extremely elaborate techniques that have been passed down through generations. Even if we don't understand the meaning of works created by oriental artists, they still manage to convey peace, happiness, pain and other emotions transmitted through artistic expression.
One of the reasons why Arabic calligraphy is known as an art form, is that Islam forbids the depiction of human figures, which has led artists to produce their work through calligraphy. For example, in the patios of the Alhambra in Granada, we can see love poems etched into the walls, archways and fountains, and elaborate and magnificent interiors and exteriors produced by calligraphers.
There are many cultures in which the graphic representation of their language has become a work of art.
However, Western calligraphy has always had a functional use: it began in primitive societies as a tool for administrative and trade purposes. As such, it had to be understandable. Even monks who reproduced texts in the monasteries during the Middle Ages, who sometimes created works of great beauty, were obliged to make their writings consistent and legible.
Understanding the text was the main aim in the Western world. Therefore, our letters, whether in Roman, Carolingian miniscule, Gothic or Italic, etc., are in uniformed lines and columns, like soldiers in a parade, where few faux pas are expected.
We are currently in the midst of a fundamental change.
In the digital era, the original function of calligraphy as a means of communicating language has disappeared: texts are mainly transmitted through electronic means (since the invention of the printing press, typography has ensured that text is legible) and we now rarely put pen or pencil to paper.
It is now, as the need for calligraphy to be legible takes a back seat, that the beauty of the alphabet appears for the first time in the history of Western scripture. Calligraphers in the 21st century apply their strokes with an energy, sensuality and elegance that up until now has been suppressed by the need for legibility.
In the digital age, artistic calligraphy has finally taken root, as it so rightly should.