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« Luke Syson. Leonardo and the Curators. | Main | Comments on Connoisseurship »

08/24/2012

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ben sweeney

Hi David: The Lansdowne (infrared) depicts baby Jesus with a syndactyly left hand. That hand has been painted over likely because the hand looked ugly to one of its restorers... Dr. joseph Upton of harvard and considered one the great hand surgeons was shown the infrared... he stated wow! that is a synpolydactyly hand prior to separation!
So the original left hand depicted in the Lansdowne is the same left hand depicted in the Last Supper (Christ's own hand).... further evidence shows that Leonardo depicted his own hand with the same anomaly...
so based on this one must consider the Lansdowne more likely the original unless proven otherwise..since this very unique anomalous syndactyly hand is consistent to this case.. The more you study Leonardo the more you learn about human nature... rather than Leonardo.. best, ben sweeney

david packwood

Thanks Ben- The syndactyl research is another angle that needs to be explored within the context of Leonardo's studio practice/"teaching."

ben sweeney

Hi David...Absolutely... the Left Hand of Christ as depicted in the Last Supper and contemporary copies most notably Giampietrino are syndactyly (webbed). Leonardo's personal challenge was to do illusions w/o mirrors or trickery.
This specific quest was due to seeing the famous Mirror illusion in Florence by Brunelleschi ? (i think). The syndactyly left hand represents this triumph of understanding and demonstration of perspective... it has and is missed by especially those with art opinions yet seen by children with anomalous hands or limbs, yet this blindness is being portrayed in the painting. the apostles are blind to the message so in a way we become part of the Last Supper....Christ who? Check Please!... missing the Christ's Message....

A little background: I had a two hour discussion of this with Leo Steinberg.. after 45 minutes of attack by him for my passionate objective study of the Last Supper that demonstrates syndactic Left Hand of Christ....he finally agreed that he missed it....but he then attacked Pinnin Brambilla (last restorer of the Last Supper) for the restoration as if that is why the hand was deformed... I pointed out she did nothing wrong and she points out that the hand in question is the best preserved aspect of that great fresco...and that he was making my case that Leonardo understood perspective better than anyone ever... After rebuking that attack (by the way with quotes from his great book "Incessant Last Supper".... we discussed Leonardo's nickname of "Il Mancino": he said yes Left handed and I said not in Leonardo's time it was Il Sinistro..um...... Feeling challenged...He pulled out his original Lexicon graphic book from about 1500 and said you are right.... Mancino means lacking or injured..deformed..... he seemed upset....he finally stated good luck proving it to the art world and gave an example of what he considered one of his triumphs of research where he proved that the famous fertility (multi breasted) Goddess (from memory Diana) are actually bull/oxen testicles... he said he proved this many years ago and still the art experts write that they are breasts!

I felt dizzy as if i had gone through a vortex yet still focused on the main point.... soon after i was with famed hand surgeon William Littler in his Park Avenue apartment and he immediately saw the hand as syndactyly... I felt at home......
www.leonardoshands.com

david packwood

Ben

Leo Steinberg had a unique and origional perspective on art history. Intrigued to hear about all the encounters and debates on Leonardo matters. Glad you were able to have a productive exchange with him and others.

Graeme Cameron

Grateful thanks again David for your much valued comments and insightful observations of these aspects/findings of my Leonardo research, which was a pleasant surprise. It may be worth adding that in contrast to Prof Kemp's hypothesis of a related lost Drawing being the original source for these "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" versions, my research and that of others believe these paintings are far too specific to derive from such source. Instead it is suggested they follow a completed prototype, now lost, by Leonardo. Likewise my own and that of the subsequent critical review consensus also found leonardo didn't actively participate in either of these surviving versions. This was contrary to Prof Kemp's earlier "The Madonna of the Yarnwinder" published research findings, that suggests Leonardo's active participation in both the versions, and also of Luke Syson's/Nicholas Penny's opinion from the recent Leonardo Exhibition that the Buccleuch version in particular involves Leonardo's hand. That said, it's worth metioning that Britain does in fact possess an autograph Leonardo work in its public collections, which through the innate gift of my own humble "connoisseurship", (there's that disparaged word again, in my case having nothing to do with being elitist), will be revealled in Vol. II of my own published research in 4 to 6 months time. This is provided for the benefit of advancement and truth in art and history, and for Britain's heritage, but predominantly for that of the artist himself, who undoubtedly would wish his unknown/unrecognised work duly acknowledged. Kind regards, Graeme

ben sweeney

Hi Graeme... look forward to reading your next volume... the so called pentimenti of the left hand of the baby Christ (Lansdowne) is detailed on my website. They were taken by the Florence IFAC group in 2003... and show syndactyly... Would that change your opinion of it compared to Buccleuch version?best ben

ben sweeney

Hello David: Leo Steinberg was very intense/passionate about Leonardo. I learned a lot in a few short interactions especially his insight about the world of art... as Graeme noted we seek some form of truth in art and history. Steinberg questioned everything looking for weakness in an agrument...
" “Oh Say, Can You See” Leo Steinberg addressed the problem of writings about art, rather than the art itself, forming the basis by which images are interpreted."

Graeme Cameron

Hello Ben, nice to hear again and your poignant contribution. Interestingly, when the anatomically "flawed" flat circular face of the "Buccleuch" Madonna version, with its many other weak points, incl the desolate background, are compared with the finer anatomical and subtle nuances of "Lansdowne" version, including its Leonardesque Dolomite type background, it becomes even more likely it is probably closer in its details to Leonardo's lost prototype than the former version. Accordingly it would follow such more detailed hand features are likewise more reflective of that prototype as well, than the more cursorily copied Buccleuch version. Sodoma was an accomplished master in his own right, as was Boltraffio. I hope this explanation might help clarify the probable situation, as both are a fair way from Leonardo's incomparable anatomical rendering, particularly the Buccleuch, as our scans unequivocally also evidence. Regards, graeme

david packwood

Hi Ben. I'm all for truth in art and history.

Steinberg was probably right to tackle the formulation of art history through its writings rather than the works themselves. If he'd done the latter- God help us- he would have been accused of adhering to "elite" connoisseurship, or crude iconographical reading. I've only just become aware of the latest version of this debate- which seems to be a remnant of the 1970s "new art history" - i.e. connoisseurship v the sociology of art.

Graeme. It's a pity Kemp can't produce a book incorporating all his findings/ theories about the Yarnwinder so we have "oversight" of the whole problem which is fascinating.

Thanks for your contributions.

David

Graeme Cameron

-It may be an appropriate time to add a few facts/points to the current topical debate.

"Connoisseurship" is a unique individual gift of enhanced qualitative discernment and instant artist recognition. It is a personal faculty one may possess, having of itself no elitist or social agenda.

A few very fortunate individuals today possess it. Saliently, many great artists of the past also possessed it.

It's an innate, instinctive skill one either has or doesn’t. It cannot be taught or acquired despite how long one studies, their rank, or how much their art knowledge. It is a truly unique and art attributional skill, with tangible results.

Unfortunately Berenson, Friedlander, and many current PhD & Profs wrongly believe they possess it but don't. Their many poor past and present misattributions have disparaged its true worth in identifying an artist's genuine works.

The current debate includes many misinformed statements wrongly defining this rare individual skill on past elitist/false prophet’s failures, instead of acknowledging its legitimate place in the advancing truth and knowledge in art.

This lack of actual connoiseurship has exacerbated the current crisis in accurate art attribution, especially for that of Leonardo’s and Raphael's original works

The greatest disservice to any artist is to deny their original works, whilst lauding the versions of others.

Accordingly the few actual “Connoisseurs” existing today should be duly encouraged and acknowledged,for their tangible "art restitution contribution" to posterity, rather than the present bias to less material forms.

Actual "Connoisseurs" can be judged by their "record of rediscovery and restitution", in the interests of their public, the artist and its future benefit to art history.


H Niyazi

It is fascinating that Mr Cameron thinks there is nothing elitist about only a select few people being born with an innate skill that can not be taught? Dare we ask how he learned it? Was he struck by a thunderbolt, or drank a potion?

I fear for Art History Today, which was once a rational and unbiased voice on these issues. Dr Packwood may as well hand over the reins to his contentious college. For all intents and purposes, it is his voice that has been ringing out the loudest across these pages for many months.

With a degree of concern,
H Niyazi

david packwood

Well, all I can say to H. Niyazi's comment is that he's entitled to his opinion. However I should point out that I don't agree with GC on every point which seems to be the thrust of HN's comment.

I'm uneasy about this idea of connoisseurship being seen as an innate skill, as I think it can be taught and learned. I didn't solicit GC's comments on this; he made them voluntarily; and as for this post it was GC's use of the word "oversight" that intrigued me rather than attribution issues about Leonardo which should be obvious if HC had bothered to read the post.

As for this blog becoming the mouthpiece of GC? over the "last few months" I've hardly posted anything as I've been preoccupied with non-art historical matters. If HN is referring to the Raphael posts of over six months ago, well my objective there was to try to present all sides of the problem, GCs and TPP's included. This is something I'm striving to do with my Poussin Project. However, I've found that connousseurship- specifically attribution issues- is adversarial- there is no middle ground. This is perhaps the most depressing aspect of the whole phenomenon before we even get to social class, "elitism" or whatever.

Perhaps HN should think about the implications of this before posting misleading comments like this.

DP

Edward Goldberg


Graeme,

I have been scratching my head over one of your statements regarding “connoisseurship” (I personally prefer the term “visual analysis”, but that is neither here nor there.):

“It's an innate, instinctive skill one either has or doesn’t. It cannot be taught or acquired despite how long one studies, their rank, or how much their art knowledge. It is a truly unique and art attributional skill, with tangible results.”

I cannot imagine that you mean to say that a connoisseur does not need organized visual experience in order to make attributions and other related judgements—developing a personal knowledge base of images and (more generally) artistic characteristics and possibilities, related to various individuals and various times and places?

I do not practice “connoisseurship” and/or “visual analysis” myself but I have known several of the leading exponents of the present and recent past. What they all had in common was an intense course of training that lasted their entire lives—learning from other connoisseurs, but especially on their own. Spending endless hours working through art museums, drawing collections, photograph archives and so on…

If you mean to say that there are certain personal traits or qualities like visual memory or acuity of visual perception that different people have in greater or lesser degrees, I would agree with you. It is rather like saying that someone is “very musical” or has “an excellent ear”. Some people do and some people don’t, but even the ones who do still have to work fiercely hard to become accomplished musicians!

In regard to older generations of magisterial connoisseurs, they were all formed in an age when secondary visual material (photographs, etc.) were far less accessible than they are today. (One made the humorous observation to me—gosh, thirty years ago, “Connoisseurship is not so much fun today because it is much easier to be proven wrong!”) And that was before the internet!

The same is true with technical information—imaging technologies, chemical analysis and so on… There is far more scientific data available today and we do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the information we like while ignoring the rest. The real test today is whether “connoisseurship” can become a truly collaborative process. There are more relevant skills than most individuals can master and we need them all! And I have not even mentioned documentary evidence, which is my own specialty.

There are a lot of complicated issues here, which we will certainly be discussing for a long time to come!

Ed G.

Graeme Cameron

Edward,
What a most balanced and refreshing response to my comments on Connoisseurship, for which I pass on my sincere thanks and regards. It is well worth expanding on some of those astute observations. In answer to your considered suggestion of the term “visual analysis”, Yes, it would describe the phenomenon in a general sense. However everyone has such “analytical” faculty, it’s to what degree. Perhaps, stretched as it is, a more accurate term would be, “uniquely enhanced degree of visual perception/acuity”, as a more accurate description of what is presently termed “Connoisseurship” .

Your comment is also quite valid that it also needs in tandem “an organized visual experience in order to make attributions and other related judgements—developing a personal knowledge base of images and (more generally) artistic characteristics and possibilities, related to various individuals and various times and places?”- which here was gained through accompanying pictorial and documentary knowledge, through long, intense documentary study, and since viewing of millions of actual works, which combine with that innate faculty. Also in my case, from 1979, comprehensively assisted with advanced technical research, when this aspect of art historical research was viewed as “unfashionable”, amongst the actual “elite” of the profession, and in its infancy, with Infra-reds just beginning.

For me, its early signs came in 1973 in a 6 month study tour of the great galleries of Western Europe, (sadly the “Cold War”precluded the Eastern Bloc Galleries). That’s when full evidence of this fortunate capability much emerged, when closely perceiving artists original productions insitu with all their subtle highly individual nuances. Perhaps then, like a computer,all this important “actual surface” visual information imprinted indelibly within the mind for future use through that inherent gifted skill.

Moreover your interesting note that “but I have known several of the leading exponents of the present and recent past. What they all had in common was an intense course of training that lasted their entire lives—learning from other connoisseurs, but especially on their own. Spending endless hours working through art museums, drawing collections, photograph archives and so on…”. Likewise here and also as noted above, but in my case it was solo, against all the “experts” esp of Auction houses. (restituting “sleepers” for posterity)

“If you mean to say that there are certain personal traits or qualities like visual memory or acuity of visual perception that different people have in greater or lesser degrees, I would agree with you. It is rather like saying that someone is “very musical” or has “an excellent ear”. Some people do and some people don’t, but even the ones who do still have to work fiercely hard to become accomplished musicians!” Precisely! Believe it or not I actually had used the phrase “akin to music” but removed it. As you rightly note, there are indeed “degrees of”. For example Beethoven was a musical “Connoisseur”, in that he could create an entire symphony within his mind. ( I suppose as some ill-informed latter day commentator suggests, he too must have been hit by the same thunderbolt). This does not preclude others creating reasonable symphonies, but they take much longer and are of different degrees of accomplishment. However the “naturally gifted Connoisseur/naturally gifted Composer” fortunately possesses the ultimate degree of that skill. Interestingly, Paul McCartney is perhaps the modern day naturally gifted equivalent. (There must be something in that “Merseyside” water). Further, despite countless words, another prominent arts blogger just recently admitted to only his first true epiphany of a “Connoisseurship ,experience, admitting it to be an almost inexplicable phenomenon to convey in words to others. That said. of course some degree of connoisseurship is eminently teachable/learnable, but not its ultimate manifestation, as the naturally gifted Connoisseur, like Beethoven. If that was indeed the case we could all be taught to write music like Beethoven, and that’s just not the fact!

The noted Raphael “Connoisseur” Konrad Oberhuber, who unfortunately went a little “off beam” in his later years, nevertheless cited his concept of “Connoisseurship” to the effect of being a unique phenomenon coalescing all one’s whole being and mental senses/ faculties/Knowledge, totally focused on perceiving/judging the image before one eyes, - in an extrasensory way ( my words)
Likewise Prof Seymour Slive conceded there are very few Connoisseurs and the gift is extremely rare.

“The same is true with technical information—imaging technologies, chemical analysis and so on… There is far more scientific data available today and we do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the information we like while ignoring the rest. The real test today is whether “connoisseurship” can become a truly collaborative process. There are more relevant skills than most individuals can master and we need them all! And I have not even mentioned documentary evidence, which is my own specialty”.

In an ideal world It should be acknowledged and welcomed as it is an important complimentary skill to the advancement of knowledge and truth for the advancement of Art History, and above all for the artist himself’/herself’s benefit,. Unfortunately human nature and egos/status/turf boundaries being what they are, with few exceptions, if you are not part of the prevailing cliques , no collaboration is ever forthcoming or indeed welcomed, even when actively sought. This exemplifies the present crisis in attribution failures. Hence the necessary self-publishing of my 40 year research findings for art’s sake. Likewise your documentary based art research makes a vitally supportive contribution to the knowledge advancement process

As the recent Leonardo Exhibition amply demonstrated, even Leonardo’s important “La Belle Principessa” restitution was spurned, unjustifiably, for various other less worthy contenders,. A cogent example of “Connoisseurship” in action in that case, is that within 10 secs of viewing the first image on line, Leonardo’s hand was immediately discernible, before anything else was known, other than the claim of it being a “possible” Leonardo. Another close linked scholar admitted it was a full year before he finally reached that same conclusion. Lately one of the earlier doubting Leonardo scholars has since likewise fully reversed his view. Regrettably, there in stark recent reality is the crux of the crisis today!

Perhaps another example in the present context is when the convenors/organisers of “Symposiums, Colloquiums, and like forums are approached, they are averse to countenancing the presentation of significant findings/evidence, ( including infra red scans, revealing some of the most profound creative underdrawing pentmenti yet witnessed, proving its original creation), if only for informed “scholarly discussion/debate”, of an important signed and dated Raphael reassignment of, “The Judgement of Paris”. Fortunately, this prototype masterpiece, with its multiple copies and versions, and Raphael’s directly related engravings, has been long admired by millions for over 500 years, even as a “Giorgione”. and will prevail through art history, long after that forum is forgotten.

It was likewise acclaimed by such past great Connoisseur/Artists as Sir Charles Eastlake, Dr. J D Passavant , Sir Martin Conway, Prof Gustave Waagen, Carlo Ridolfi,; and exhibited at every major 19thC “Art Treasures” and notable Royal Academy Renaissance Exhibitions in Britain, and in the Louvre in Paris, and will continue to be viewed and highly treasured by legions of future art lovers.

Graeme

david packwood

Edward and Graeme,

Thanks for staying objective and taking the debate to a much more interesting level than our previous contributor.

For me the kind of “visual acuity” mentioned here reminds me of gestalt process: standing in front of works of art, a pattern or configuration seems to emerge. That in itself doesn’t make me a “connoisseur” unless as Edward says I possess this informational/ personal databank garnered out of learning, experiences, memory, historical awareness etc. The musical analogy fits very well with this gestalt idea- all notes in harmony- except with paintings there’s greater complexity- light, colour, form, shape, even symbol, though not for all “connoisseurs”. The only problem with the gestalt idea is that it suggests a sort of identikit methodology which doesn’t allow for spontaneity, the random factor, imaginative thinking about the art work which I think is a part of visual analysis/connoisseurship too. Seeing something in a book or even an incident in daily life might spark off some new insight. This isn’t simply about matching- see Gombrich’s Art and Illusion.

Oberhuber is very interesting for anybody who wants to study modern connoisseurship. Graeme’s paraphrase of Oberhuber’s seems to accord with the gestalt approach, although it went much further than that. Oberhuber actually saw “connoisseurship” as a way of developing what he called “reflexive thinking” applicable to everyday situations. Years before our agonising discussions about the meaning of connoisseurship, Oberhuber was seeking to stretch the definition- with predictably disastrous results given the conservative nature of the field, which sadly remains the same. In his catalogue to the Poussin Fort Worth exhibition of 1988 Oberhuber actually admits that his work on Raphael grew out of his early work on Poussin; the combined projects found their way into his later thinking on Poussin in the 80s. If you were to ask me if I consider Oberhuber a connoisseur based on the terms of this discussion, (visual acuity, ability to see a pattern of correspondences etc) I would have to say yes; if you were to ask me the same question based on the success of his Poussin attributions, I’d have to say no. I’ve never been able to work out the reason for this contradiction in this scholar’s case. Nevertheless I continue to read him and admire his inventive approach to the subject.

Finally, though I’ve been putting scare quotes around the word “connoisseur”, I’m not sure that I want to discard the word. Visual analysis could be used- but it seems so vague that it could mean anything. Perhaps we’ve reached a point where we’re forced to qualify the word when we use it- that might be more acceptable than jettisoning it.

David

H Niyazi

Dr. Packwood has my apologies for the glib nature of previous remarks - Mr. Cameron's comment about connoisseurship being unable to be taught threw me off during a time of personal distraction.

Considering this in the context of Dr Goldberg's response, we can surely agree that the process of lengthy exposure to "the works of the artist and the era" are the necessary visual training required here?

While a practitioner may get to the point where they feel such a familiarity that nuances are instantly discernible, surely the way forward is for these findings to be openly communicated. The literature is replete with contradictory statements made by practitioners looking at the same painting, same X-ray and same infrared scan etc.

This factor is openly controlled and quantified in scientific research - an element known as "inter observer reliability". With practitioners so commonly disagreeing, and failing to describe what they see in an instructive manner, the mystification that has surrounded this branch of study can not be overcome.

The same goes for terms of reference. We presently have three posts on "connoisseurship" across three of the web's most prominent art history blogs. Intriguingly, each represents a distinct voice on the topic - with Dr Grosvenor's having an art market skew, Dr. Packwood's having more of an institutional/academic focus and my own post looking in as a member of the interested public and someone used to a transparent discourse of method due to my clinical background.

I can only wonder how this all looks to passers by, with these three posts being in such disunity. Rather than collaborating and using our web presence to clarify and instruct, the age old rivalries and adversarial mode of discourse persists. At Art History News - Dr. Grosvenor treats his sizeable audience to a personal catharsis on social art history ; here at AHT, we seem stuck considering the problem in a semantic sense, and over at 3PP I scratch my head and wonder if we can all call it "visual analysis" and hopefully move forward!

We can only wonder if this field of study can progress from its current adversarial nature, with its centuries of emotional and social baggage. Perhaps the first step is revising the existing constructs, keeping the good (a regimen of detailed analysis and description), and jettisoning the bad (the combative attitude, the regularly encountered inability to say "there is insufficient data to state conclusively")?

As for the original topic: Leonardo, the Yardwinder etc - I would also refer readers to the 2011 publication by Artakt/Zidane "The Madonna of the Yardwinder - A Scientific and Historical detective story link: https://goo.gl/Oc5ma by Professor Kemp and Thereza Wells ; and the very useful comparative study by Professor Marina Wallace, also published in 2011 by Artakt/Zidane "The Lives of the Paintings - Seven Masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci" link: https://goo.gl/0zgwE

We can only hope the the "new connoisseurship" panel at CAA next years begins to envision the step forward from what is happening right now.

Kind Regards
H

Graeme Cameron

In response to H Niyazi's incomplete apology above for earlier objectionable rants against David, it is cogent there is nothing forthcoming for the many slights against my name, which comes as no surprise.

This was not just a one off case of being "out of it", for a day, as he's been "into it" on record for a year against myself and research, but especially my connoissuership, variously deeming the faculty on record as "Hocus Pocus", "Black Magic" or "some people think they can see Fonarina's image in "The Judgement of Paris - wierd" etc. and also as above.

It was only when the more enlightened observations of Dr Edward were cited, that these have somewhat moderated from verbose Connoisseurship denial. It is also not surprising another prominent Blogger has also just reacted to such offensive jibes, which are far from the claim of "just a joke".

It's this attitude/misinformation which has tended to confuse the issue of Connoisseurship, which in its ultimate degree is an important skill a rare few people actually possess.


This will become tangible when Five public institutions in the UK, Italy, etc. will gain masterpieces they don't even realise they have, through an altruistic demonstration of its effectivenss, in about six months time, with the release of Volume II's research.

Francis DeStefano

David:

After all the above comments I'm still not sure about the meaning of connoisseur. Allow me to offer an example. One of my favorite films is "Swing Time" the great Astaire/Rogers musical of the 1930s. I'm sure that there are many people who wouldn't like it, but at the same time there must be millions, like myself, who are charmed by the beautiful music and dancing.

However, a couple of years ago I watched a DVD version that was accompanied by a running commentary. It soon became obvious that the commentator had seen things in the film that I had never seen. His analysis of the dance sequences was particularly fine. He must have seen the tim countless times, studied all the Astaire/Rogers films, and used modern day technical equipment in his analysis. I suppose he could be called a film expert or a film scholar but why not connoisseur? I don't think there is a good equivalent in English.

I don't think a connoisseur has to be a professional scholar but that does not mean that he or she does not need to put in the hard work required. At the same time I don't believe that Fred Astaire could be called a connoisseur of dance. He was a dancer, a real artist, something that connoisseurs and ordinary viewers can only look upon with admiration and awe.

Frank

David Packwood

It's a good point Frank. Connoisseurship can extend across most fields of human endeavor including cinema, dance; but it's always been associated with us lot. The general public perceive us as standing in front of paintings and sipping wine. Well I have done that. The wine is deliberately chosen because connoisseurship always has that air of refinement, hence Fine Arts, Fine Wine.

Good point about the effort involved too. Connoisseurs/scholars or whatever do work hard, although historically the idea has been associated with a certain desinvoltura, sprezzatura, giving the impression that there's no effort in learning about pictures, who painted them etc. But looking intently at pictures can be physically tiring as I often find in museums.

David

Graeme Cameron

David

The most important reason for Connoisseurship is the Artist himself/herself!!!

What has almost been overlooked in much of the debate which is being rightly expounded on “Connoisseurship”, that vital subject/skill to art and art history, is actually what is in the best interests of the artist himself/herself,

Nothing is more important than the fundamental "best interests of the artist/creator" of an artwork. It is not true nor sustainable, that any artist would ever support such misguided, “fatally flawed dogma” that presumes their hard won, creative productions should not be recognised, no matter how long ago they were produced, to remain in ignominy for posterity.

This gross distortion/misinformation,recently evolved; has been allowed to flow unchallenged for decades, under the false epithet of “The New Nrt History”, peddled by the “academic elitists”, who then hang their shingles on those very artists names, and on whose legacy, their very existence relies. They have assumed roles greater than the artist, including gatekeeper/arbiter of authorship of their work, often demonstrably without possessing that necessary gifted connoisseurship skill, as the recent Leonardo situation has proven.

Two prime examples whom art history forgot, being little acknowledged in their lifetimes, but are now now acclaimed masters, are Vermmeer and Van Gogh, thanks to Connoisseurship. It is certain that each would be “turning”, especially the latter, should their works instead of duly bearing their actual names. be respectively deemed by the “Connoisseurship Deniers” as – “ That painterly 17thC Dutch master of tranquil domestic interiors” or for the latter, “ That spontaneous 19thC Dutch master of wild distorted colours

Moreover, it could likewise never be seriously contended that neither Leonardo nor Michelangelo would object to any of their profoundly important compositions, not proudly bear their names, as “The New Art History” acolytes would deem appropriate, authorship being of little relevance to the work itself.

Actually, Leonardo and Michelangelo would both undoubtedly be “Connoisseurs”, along with their other extraordinary, “god given natural talents”.

Thus unlike these passive wordsmith’s retrograde theories, this active rare skill, possessed by a fortunate few in its ultimate manifestation, contributes the greatest possible service to the artists themselves, to art history and to posterity.

This will be will be tangibly demonstrated when ten rediscovered major master’s works will be soon revealled, together another five in public institutions , including in Britain and Italy, who will gain five masterpieces they are unware they already possess!

Kind regards, Graeme

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used modern day technical equipment in his analysis. I suppose he could be called a film expert or a film scholar but why not connoisseur? I don't think there is a good equivalent in English.

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