The Caillebotte 7 and the Role of Familiarity

by Matthew Innis |

Have you ever wondered what makes one work of art on a museum wall well-known while the painting deemed good enough to hang next to it languishes in obscurity?  Is the one considered a masterpiece purely and undeniably because of the artist’s aesthetics?  Is it a superior work because intellectuals, academics, and professionals have debated over it and pronounced it so?  Or is it so vaunted because the image somehow reached the public and there achieved widespread appeal?  A curious professor at Cornell University pondered over these questions and the answers he found, though complex, may provide an answer to what makes certain artworks famous, and may also provide a road map for how contemporary representationalism might achieve its proper position in the art world echelon.

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