I was pleased to see this New York Times article about a New York artist who trains interns in the technique of applying gold (or silver) leaf to paintings. I got the impression that her studio functions in a way akin to the famous workshops of Renaissance Florence. Michelangelo, for example, learned to paint in Domenico Ghirlandaio‘s workshop alongside several other apprentices. Maybe one of these modern interns will be making headlines in the future.
It’s encouraging to know that we probably will not completely lose the techniques developed over the course of the Western tradition short of a complete civilizational collapse. There are enough people with the knowledge and love of the craft in most fields to keep things alive.
The apprenticeship system is underrated today in that most people don’t get to participate in it until they are college interns. I suspect we will see something of a revival in the coming years as the nation has to tighten its collective belt.