It is not a controversial statement to say that the art of painting declined in the 20th century, and remains at a low ebb. For most people, paintings of soup cans don’t compare favorably to Botticelli, Titian, or Rembrandt.
Could a revival be underway? Historian Paul Johnson (The Birth of the Modern, The Renaissance, etc.) has a short article, worth reading, about Charles Cecil’s attempt to revive the lost art of portraiture.
While I wish Cecil well, and would love to see some of his work, I think his revival of the masters’ techniques is ultimately a lost cause. The future of art will probably have more to do with the pixel than the paintbrush.
Most digital artwork out there is dreck, true. But its sheer quantity almost guarantees that quality work will emerge. Good art will have life after its ironic postmodern death.