During the last century, most Western artists abandoned the traditional forms of Western art. Two closely related questions arise at once: why did artists do this, and were they right to? Scruton is famous for arguing that the answer to the latter question is no. His response to the former question is, by contrast, little known. In this paper, I investigate Scruton's discussions of it, arguing that a more complex and equivocal picture of the relationship between tradition and modernity quickly emerges. Scruton actually gives two mutually inconsistent genealogies of the flight from tradition. The first, surprisingly, is inconsistent with Scruton's defence of traditional forms, as well as with a number of his other commitments. The second coheres better with his other commitments, and on one version is consistent with his traditionalism. To vindicate his traditionalism this way, however, Scruton would be constrained to make an interesting and significant commitment.