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Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That

Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That

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In the past, estimation of an artist's stature took great account of his or her technical ability to produce a faithful likeness of the real world on paper or canvas, or of a figure in wood or stone. A formal portrait was expected to be a true and faithful likeness, and landscapes had to be recognizable in all of their particulars. However, especially after the arrival of photography, many artists ceased to make such 'true' likenesses in favour of more immediate images that sought to express feelings about their subjects. Often, a 'simple' line would replace the painstaking detailing of earlier artists. From the beginning of this sea change in artistic ambitions, critics have mistaken an apparent lack of technique for a lack of artistic sophistication, often deriding expressive works as nothing more than the untutored efforts of children.