I as soon as heard the expression that, all cognac is brandy, however not all brandy is cognac. Though I’ve by no means acquired a style for both, I do know the distinction lies within the ultimate distillation and area that distinguishes the 2. Since I’ve acquired a style for accumulating masterworks and high quality artwork, I do consider, the identical holds true for them: not all high quality artwork is masterworks, however all masterworks are high quality artwork.
Historical past may not be the fairest gauge to measure the distinction between the 2, but it surely definitely holds true that there have been way more artists that haven’t been remembered as masters than there are these people thought of to be masters all through historical past.
This begs the query then, what makes an artist a grasp? What makes some artists revered and others, if not forgotten, definitely not regarded as being on that very same stage.
In different phrases, why are Picasso, or Rembrandt, or Durer remembered as cognac and others, fairly merely, brandy.
This isn’t a worth judgement on my half. Far be it from me that I decide any artist on their inventive capability. I for one have by no means developed previous stick figures and tracing. I additionally didn’t write historical past.
However historical past, no matter what I believe, has distilled or extracted a choose few as being outdated masters or twentieth century masters and even fashionable masters.
In a way, for high quality artwork to be thought of a masterwork, I consider it’s a recipe of kinds: one half collectible; one half genius; and one half uniqueness.
Take Albrecht Durer, as an example. His print oeuvre has been collected for over ten generations. Rembrandt’s recueil of plates has been collected and refined for subsequent printings all over the present-day. Picasso prints have exchanged fingers greater than every other artist – previous or current.
Then we should contemplate genius. It’s a measure of mastering any approach or medium that creates a masterwork. There are tales of Albrecht Durer portray a self-portrait and his canine, mistaking it for his grasp, licking the portray to convey its affection; or, along with his intaglios, placing the metallic plate on his lap and with burin by no means shifting, turning the plate to create his engravings. (Whether or not he used the identical approach for his woodcuts, I have no idea.)
And final, however not least, there’s uniqueness. It’s a measure of originality. And originality is a self-discipline to a mode that inherently turns into one’s personal. It’s a trait that makes sure masterworks by a acknowledged grasp so identifiable that whenever you see their work you realize instinctively who created it.
Once you see one in every of Albrecht Durer’s woodcuts, you realize it. Once you see one in every of Rembrandt’s etchings, or drypoints you realize it. Simply as whenever you see one in every of Picasso’s work you realize it (whether or not you’re keen on two left ears and one proper nostril or not).
This mixture of collectible, genius and uniqueness that forges a masterwork and distinguishes it from high quality artwork is the exact same refinement that acknowledges the analogy that simply as not all brandy is cognac, however all cognac is brandy, not all high quality artwork is masterworks, however all masterworks are high quality artwork.