Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.
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Chapter 16: From ‘national creativity’ to social recognition and success in the visual arts: a sociological perspective on rankings of the ‘top 100 artists in the world’.

Alain Quemin


What is the relationship in today’s art world between creativity, on one hand, and social recognition and success, on the other hand, and what can the contemporary visual arts reveal about it? As soon as a reflection on art emerged as a specific discipline, authors tried to discern the most talented artists, as can be illustrated by the case of Giorgio Vasari and his much-touted The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times (Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri, as it was originally known in Italian).Vasari’s manuscript was first published in Florence in 1550 (Vasari [1550] 2006) and republished and enlarged in 1568. It is generally considered the first important book in art history. The selection of artists was made on the criterion of excellence that included numerous components among which creativity was not privileged.

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