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Connoisseurship today between “top-down design” and “bottom-up’ capabilities

Ketelsen, Thomas and Golle, Uwe (2021) Connoisseurship today between “top-down design” and “bottom-up’ capabilities. Journal of Art Historiography (24). ISSN 2042-4752

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URL of Published Version: https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/ketelsen.pdf

Identification Number/DOI: https://doi.org/10.48352/uobxjah.00003420


It is yet unknown if, in the foreseeable future, thanks to rapid increases in artificial intelligence capabilities, databases will take over standard tasks of art historians, such as the stylistic classification of drawings into centuries and schools and the attribution of works to specific artists. However, the digital availability of an almost unimaginably huge volume of pictorial material has already led to major changes in art historical work with Old Master drawings. In an initial step, this paper proposes using the terms ‘top-down design’ and ‘bottom-up processes’, borrowed from the book The Evolution of Minds by American philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, to describe the re-positioning of the concept of connoisseurship in light of the digitisation of nearly all collections of drawings in the world. A second step highlights the particular insights that a digital approach to the object can generate in terms of the materiality of the drawing, which will make it necessary to modify the traditional concept of connoisseurship and art historical expertise.

Type of Work:Article
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
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This article is archived in ePapers for preservation purposes

Date:June 2021
Keywords: attributions, digitisation, materiality, technical aids
Subjects:N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Copyright Status:Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. Authors may subsequently archive and publish the pdfs as produced by the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Copyright restrictions apply to the use of any images contained within the articles. This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
ID Code:3420
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