The Changing Status of the Artist

Self-portrait or “Philosophy” (c.1645) by Salvator Rosa. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London. Image source Wikimedia Commons. The Latin inscription reads, “Be quiet, unless your speech be better than silence.”

The word artist has an illustrious ring about it. From Michelangelo to Mozart, we tend to think of artists as individuals in possession of special gifts of creativity. Deeply intertwined is the notion of “genius” — suggestive of some sort of exquisite sensibility integral to artistic creation.



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