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Can you summarize and analyze Alexandra York's essay "From the Fountainhead to the Future"?

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In "From the Fountainhead to the Future," Alexandra York argues that contemporary art has lost its purpose by becoming politicized and aesthetically nihilistic. She advocates for a return to classical ideals of beauty to inspire deep thinking and noble living. York believes modern art divides rather than unites, and calls for representational painting, harmonious music, and literature reflecting high cultural standards, modeled on Renaissance principles without mere imitation.

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The essay "From the Fountainhead to the Future" by Alexandra York argues for a classical ideal of beauty as a basis for contemporary art. York believes that art has become politicized and aesthetically nihilistic and that its true purpose, to express the highest ideals of humanity, has been lost in recent decades.

York looks back to ancient Greece for the foundation of an artistic vision that can serve as an inspiration to think deeply and live nobly. She sees a peculiarly destructive dichotomy in the twentieth century, in which art has come to express political ideas on one hand while rejecting aesthetic objectivity on the other. This means that modern art creates division rather than cohesion, setting classes and races against each other while refusing to observe any objective standards of grace and beauty.

For York, painting and sculpture should be representational, music should observe principles of melody and harmony, and literature should reflect Matthew Arnold's criteria for culture: "the best that has been thought and said in the world." However, the essay does not advocate mere imitation of a Greek ideal. York turns to the Renaissance as an example because Renaissance artists did not copy those of the classical era, but used the principles they found in classical art as the basis for original work. This, York argues, is what contemporary artists ought to be doing.

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