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Modernism, as well as continuing this direction, has made itmore conscious of itself. With Manet and the Impressionists thequestion stopped being defined as one of color versus drawing,and became one of purely optical experience against optical experienceas revised or modified by tactile associations. It was in thename of the purely and literally optical, not in the name of color,that the Impressionists set themselves to undermining shadingand modeling and everything else in painting that seemed to connotethe sculptural. It was, once again, in the name of the sculptural,with its shading and modeling, that Cézanne, and the Cubistsafter him, reacted against Impressionism, as David had reactedagainst Fragonard. But once more, just as David's and Ingres'reaction had culminated, paradoxically, in a kind of paintingeven less sculptural than before, so the Cubist counter-revolutioneventuated in a kind of painting flatter than anything in Westernart since before Giotto and Cimabue -- so flat indeed that itcould hardly contain recognizable images.

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It was the stressing of the ineluctable flatness of the surfacethat remained, however, more fundamental than anything else tothe processes by which pictorial art criticized and defined itselfunder Modernism. For flatness alone was unique and exclusive topictorial art. The enclosing shape of the picture was a limitingcondition, or norm, that was shared with the art of the theater;color was a norm and a means shared not only with the theater,but also with sculpture. Because flatness was the only conditionpainting shared with no other art, Modernist painting orienteditself to flatness as it did to nothing else.


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To take unsightly old paint off a surface, you must scrape and sand it. These methods complement each other; if neither is sufficient to remove everything that needs to go, together they almost certainly are. A wire brush, or a power drill with paint-stripping attachments made of wire, is necessary if you’re working with a rough wood, like sawn cedar. Taking off old paint may be a chore, but it’s crucial. The condition of the surface will determine the project’s success more than anything else.