DIDEROT came to the fore as the PRIME EDITOR of the great ENCYCLOPEDIE of the Eightieth Century. This Encyclopedist Mind will continue to emerge into our MODERNIST AGE : HENRY FUSELI - FRITZ NIETZSCHE - ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE - MAX E R N S T ; to mention a few. FUSELI's mind could admire and look to DENIS DIDEROT as DIDEROT saw surprisingly MODERN elements in the structure of the psyche', elements DENIS followed with a MODERN -TYPE of observation. The "encyclopedist mind" was interested in Science and thus also not afraid of contradictions or of disharmony because his roving, investigation mind was without system (NIETZSCHE) always seeking discoveries, novelties, and new experiences. It didn't mainly exist to exploit and take financial advantage of everything new and exciting...it fully appreciated this 'experience' we call "LIFE" and looked to express it with FINE attempts at making ART.
In ART (FUSELI , E R N S T) DIDEROT was interested in MORALITY in helping rejuvenate human life against the depreciating mechanics and systems of society. Sexuality and the human body were seen as Natural and beautiful and not "things" to be exploited. It is the MIND of man which needs be examined!! FUSELI like DIDEROT would be focused on the area of the MIND that represses; DIDEROT was educated by the JESUITS and reacted in adult life, looking to Emotion to break rules and the Status Quo. DIDEROT realized that the POWER of the IMAGINATION resulted in human communication and in a struggle against rules...yet DIDEROT was not interested in pursuing the Irrational, Dreams, or Unreality, per se'.
What destroyed 'FINE ART' beginning around WORLD WAR ONE became the Commercialism of the GILDED AGE that needs to capitalize even on the actual "EXALTATION" of life that WAS ART :: as the camera and commercialism began it's DOWNGRADING of ...again "actual" life... and began promoting VIRTUAL REALITY and it's programs of exploiting the experiences of 'actually' living. VIRTUAL life could make $$$ whereas 'actual' life became virtually worthless unless you became a product-person (actor, model, athlete, politician...etc..).
DENIS DIDEROT prophesized that what stimulates human Evolution most profoundly is catastrophe...or that which heightens the masses to a group consciousness of the SUBLIME. As man masters Nature and it's Natural catastrophes; the evil genius of those who direct civilization more and more manufactures it's man-made catastrophes to condition and manipulate Mankind, itself. Once man's Industrial Artifice is generally accepted all there is left is the Artificiality of man's propaganda and virtual realities. The foundation of "Humanity" which was the foundation of the FINE ARTS from the RENAISSANCE to the ROCOCO falls into question : A Spin Doctor's Rhetoric. The foundation of DIDEROT's emphasis on MORALITY from the baroque to ROMANTICISM has gone as Humanity has become merely some fuel to ignite Commercialism and it's exploitative engines to keep the wheels of Industry turning. MODERNISM has fallen to merely a pure capitalism; or machinery :: and the SOUL of Persons or HUMANITY (with it's register of MORALITY) have all become so much debris on the side of the road like roadkill in DALLAS, TEXAS. This is why MODERNISM has died in the Twentieth Century to be reduced to merely being perpetually still born, time and again. POST-MODERNISM is merely a continuous jingle becoming more through time, a cheap hoax.
DIDEROT was always immersed with the subjectivity of a painting; DIDEROT was the original ART CRITIC of the PARIS SALONS in the 1760s. His focus on a work of ART's subjectivity pre-dated the age of subjectivity begun with KANT and ROMANTICISM to awaken some 50 years later. The narrative was examined but also DENIS was remarkably sensitive to the abstract elements of colour and composition in painting and their effects on the IMAGINATION. DIDEROT was powerfully against all system and more interested with the effect on the INNER SELF. DIDEROT wasn't interested in theorizing as ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS OF A PAINTING IS WHAT YOU CAN SEE ; and NO particular formula could transcend what the power of the image could convey. For all DIDEROTS freedom of Emotion he loved innate order as well ; HOUDON and CHARDIN were two ARTISTS he frequented the company of. His open sexuality with women would come close to the Surrealists of the 1920s and 30's; but then his Feeling for COLOUR at a time when COLOUR was considered secondary, looked forward to Eugene DELACROIX and to VINCENT VAN GOGH:
"HE who has a sharp feeling for colour, has eyes fixed to the canvas;
his mouth is half-open; he is gasping; his palette is the image of chaos.
It is in this chaos that he dips his brush and out of it he drags the work