Connoisseurship strikes back

September 25 2013

Image of Connoisseurship strikes back

Picture: Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Regular readers will know that I'm a cheerleader for connoisseurship, which has long taken hammering from academic art historians. So I'm interested to see that the Vrije University in Brussels is offering a post-graduate course in connoisseurship. The course objectives are:

To enable graduates, already specialists in the world of the arts, to improve their connoisseurship qualities. Incorporating the latest insights of neuroscientific research applied within the context of a thorough knowledge of the historical, economic, legal and sociological processes that shape the art market, are essential.

To lead students to a better understanding and to critical visual cognitive-perception of artworks through the study of neuroscience. The deeply human side of the talent of the connoisseur, on the one hand, and the limits imposed by the laws of brain and of cognitive-perception, on the other hand, are studied.

To prepare the students, already specialists in the world of arts, to excell in the knowledge of the legal framework and all issues related to the art market in a global world. The academic program ‘Connoisseurship’ targets on the knowledge of the legal aspects of different law systems, to be taken into account in the global art market today. Various legal disciplines will be examined and practical cases will be studied.

To put the definition of authenticity in art in the context of the very nature of the work of art and on the legal system. Vendors, buyers, auctioneers, dealers, and agent-strategies have to be understood in the legal, sociological, fiscal, and economic context.

To provide the acquisition of theoretical and practical knowledge for material analysis by specialized laboratory techniques. Diagnostics based on technical results, require great experience to produce the rightful attributions. It focuses on a detailed observation of the work of art, essential in this context.

To increase skills for evaluation and expertise in the light of the art market experience. It needs a ‘period eye’ and the understanding of the specificity of each work of art.

Nothing, of course, beats going out and looking at pictures - so there will always be a limit on what you can learn in a classroom. But if you're interested, sign up here.

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