Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan
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’.
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  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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