Category: Art connoisseurship

What is an Art Connoisseur?

To find out whether you are a connoisseur, let’s start with a definition, shall we? According to the dictionary, a connoisseur is “someone who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge.” A secondary definition specifies “one who enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties.”

Is it sufficient simply to appreciate art to be considered a connoisseur? Not according to the dictionary, alas. Even in the second definition, one is called not just to “appreciate” but to “discriminate”, detecting various subtleties to do so. Love just does not suffice: intelligence is a necessary determinant, as least according to Webster’s.

Before I continue refining this definition, let me introduce myself.  I am an artist and also an author.  In my latest book, “The Joy of Art: How to Look at, Appreciate, and Talk About Art” I set out to give readers a tool kit they can use to gain a better understanding of art that includes a working art vocabulary, general, and specific criteria in evaluating any work of visual art, some answers to basic questions and conundrums, and lots of comparisons of works in a variety of genres.   

My plan was to arm readers, who I imagined already to be art lovers (why else would they be reading?) with that “appreciation of subtleties” the dictionary calls for.  I did not specify that my aim was to make readers into connoisseurs, but perhaps, in the end, that’s exactly what I accomplished. Readers presumably already had the love–all they needed to become connoisseurs were those fine distinctions and the language to describe them.    

What does a wine connoisseur have that the average wine drinker does not? They can probably distinguish the type of grapes used, maybe even the vintage, can surely tell a Pinot from … Click here to read more