[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]



A connoisseur (Fr. connaisseur, from conoistre, connaitre know) is a person who knows a lot about the fine arts, an expert judge in matters of taste.

Modern connoisseurship must be seen along with museums, art galleries and "the cult of originality." Connoisseurs evaluate works of art on the basis of aesthetic conclusions. Judgment informed by intuition is essential, but it must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the work itself. On the basis of empirical evidence, refinement of perception about technique and form, and a disciplined method of analysis, the responsibility of the connoisseur is to attribute authorship, validate authenticity and appraise quality. These findings can be collected and organized into a catalogue raisonne of the work of a single artist or a school.

During the 18th century, however, the term was often used as a synonym for a still vaguer man of taste or a pretended critic.

In 1760, Oliver Goldsmith says, "Painting is now become the sole object of fashionable care; the title of connoisseur in that art is at present the safest passport into every fashionable Society; a well timed shrug, an admiring attitude and one or two exotic tones of exclamation are sufficient qualifications for men of low circumstances to curry favour."

In 1890, Giovanni Morelli wrote, "art connoisseurs say of art historians that they write about what they do not understand; art historians, on their side, disparage the connoisseurs, and only look upon them as the drudges who collect materials for them, but who personally have not the slightest knowledge of the physiology of art."

In his Meaning in the Visual Arts (1955), Erwin Panofsky explains the difference between a connoisseur and an art historian: "The connoisseur might be defined as a laconic art historian, and the art historian as a loquacious connoisseur." --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connoisseur Aug 2003


  1. Northern Soul Connoisseurs[1 CD, Amazon US]
    The mid 60's, Britain began embracing American Soul music, the Motown sound appealed more than earlier 60's soul records that been hits in the states. A club scene built up around the country that was dedicated to dancing to these records (which included Motown and other sounds from Detroit). The rest of England moved on to either Funk or Progressive Rock, hardcore soul fans in the North stayed with fast, four-beat dance music; searching out ever more rare examples of the sound they loved.


  1. Meaning in the Visual Arts (1955) - Erwin Panofsky [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This book is a collection of different papers written by Panofsky during the years of his exile in America. Their content is often technical and hard to read, but some of them (like the one about the meaning of Poussin's and Guercino's "Et in Arcadia Ego" and the last one about the History of Art in America) are brilliant and sometimes even funny. This is one of the first book I've read about "iconology" and (together with the book about Duhrer's Melancholy) has made me falling in love with Art History. I think that this book is one of the best results of the interaction between different cultures (here, European and American). --vladi67, amazon.com

    your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

    Managed Hosting by NG Communications