WHAT MAKES A MASTERPIECE?
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A Master is a visionary capable of materializing his own vision while currently expanding our own.

Sometimes, as in the case of Michelangelo's statue of the Virgin Mary holding her dying son - 'The Pieta' - this is a masterpiece that is simply perfect in the same way a rose is perfect, nothing could be added nor anything done to improve it.

A Masterpiece is the work of an artist who has been absorbed by the spirit of his/her times and can transform a personal experience into a universal one. Masterpieces make us forget the artists, and instead direct our attention to the artists works. We may wonder how a particular work was executed, but for the time being we are transposed, so deeply brought into this creation that our consciousness is actually expanded.

You know when you've encountered a masterpiece because it stays with you for the rest of your life.

Although there are differentiating criteria on the exact elements involved in selecting a masterpiece, there are common qualities that every masterpiece shares. Some sort of feeling must be evoked, whether it's curiosity, awe, or disgust. There should be style, technique, balance, and harmony. It is helpful to discuss perspective and form, but still, this would not describe that elusive element essential to any moving work, and motive is another important factor.

A masterpiece serves as a window to the past. The Greco-Roman period has given us great works that have miraculously survived intact through the ages. Sculptures depicting the human form such as the Roman Discobolos or powerful winged goddesses like the Greek Nike of Samothrace—are vivid examples of the importance beauty, strength, movement, and athletic ability played in Classical times. We may not know who the masters were, but their mastery communicates universal values that have not faded with the passage of time.

 

What determines the value of a Masterpiece (or any work of art)?

  1. Energy or work input i.e. time, research and effort spent creating the piece

  2. Rarity

  3. Quality, skill

  4. Age,

  5. Provenance (history)

  6. Subject matter

  7. Universal appeal

  8. Originality

These seven factors, when combined in various degrees of importance, can indicate how works of art can be quantified. Eventually it's art historians, critics, dealers, and collectors who decide what becomes a Masterpiece.

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