In Christopher Beckwith’s Empires of the Silk Road he mounts a heartfelt critique of modernism and post-modernism. He observes:
But before the twentieth century, although the greatest artists nearly all achieved their success by striving against tradition and sometimes breaking the rules, there was a balance between the two forces: the goal of the upward-aiming aristocratic system was to achieve success by creating artworks that were as near to perfection as possible within the traditional rules based on the natural order. The goal of the downward-aiming modern tendency was to achieve success by creating art works that effectively changed the traditional or previously followed rules. Because the two forces were in balance, the great artists of the past did not destroy existing rules, they stretched or otherwise modified them (p.292).Part of that natural order being the continuity of human nature:
The consistency of human behaviour over such great expanses of space and time can clearly be due only to our common genetic heritage (p.xi).Constraints gave art something to both strive against and be judged by. Without constraints, what is the point?