A&O ART – The Man with the Golden Helmet


The Man with the Golden Helmet,

“… an 18th-century painting attributed to Rembrandt, was Berlin’s most famous artwork for decades. Once evidence emerged, in the 1980s, that the painting was not by Rembrandt, it lost much of its artistic and economic value, even though the artwork itself had not changed (1).

Quality in art is elusive; art appeals to individual senses, pleasures, feelings, and emotions.

Recognition depends on variables external to the work itself, like its attribution, the artist’s body of work, the display venue, and the work’s relationship to art history as a whole (2, 3).

Recognition and value are shaped by a network of experts, curators, collectors, and art historians whose judgments act as gatekeepers for museums, galleries, and auction houses (4). Given the fragmented and often secretive nature of transaction records, quantitative analyses of the art world have been difficult (5, 6).

Although artists’ reputation is known to affect auction outcomes, our current understanding of these processes is based on small samples spanning short periods and limited to a country or region (79).”  

(Fraiberger et al 2018)

The “network of experts, curators, collectors, and art historians” may arguably be considered “social referees,” critical in the cognitive development of individuals (most famously infants) that seek them out.   (see A&O notes on DEVELOPMENT)/  Social referees are sought for help in resolving ambiguous feelings about an experience. 

See A&O notes on VALUE of ART and then for a deeper dive, see: “Quantifying reputation and success in art” by Fraiberger et al.,  SCIENCE  8 Nov 2018  Vol 362, Issue 6416  pp. 825-829  DOI:  10.1126/science.aau7224.