Morellian Connoisseurship of two Ceramic Vessels

Morellian Connoisseurship of two Ceramic Vessels 1

MorellianConnoisseurship of two Ceramic Vessels


Morellian Connoisseurship of twoCeramic Vessels

Art has thepowerful ability to affect and express ideas and notions thattranscend rational thought. It is through the creative spectacle ofan artist that we can experience a myriad of emotions and primalexperiences that few other media can achieve. Giovanni Morelli in the1800s was able to conceptualize a technique for analyzing differentartworks with the aim of ascertaining whether or not they were madeby the same person. His method presupposes that all artists havespecific personal quirks in how they create their art. The artistsubconsciously makes formulaic approaches, and it is through theidentification and examination of these that one can draw conclusionsregarding whether the art is from the same person or not (Davis,2011).

In the two ceramicvessels being examined, both were created around 500 to 475 BCE. Ibelieve the two vessels to have been painted by the same artist. Anin-depth analysis of the secondary characteristics of the paintingsin the vessels reveals some similarities. For instance, the way theartist draws the mouth of the two people on the vessels is verysimilar. The artist draws an initial straight line that curves a bitdownwards. This technique is repeated for the two charactersrepresented in the paintings. This style is a subconscious formulaicapproach that can be evident by the same artist. Owing to theparticular nature afforded to draw a mouth on a character in apainting then it is common to observe similarities in the drawing ofthe same on different paintings by the same individual.

Another strikingsimilarity between the two images in the vessels is that they bothdepict similar hair patterns. The artist in both images uses a curlyline nature in drawing the hair of the characters. This quality asexhibited in the two images point towards a similarity between thetwo images. The hair representation style that different artistsemploy is vastly different and is rarely ever the same (Davis, 2011).In curly hair for instance, the spaces between the curls in thepainting of hair can point towards similarities or differences. Thetwo images present near equal space between the curls in the hair. Anartist may subconsciously employ the same spacing between curls inhair and as such this points to the possibility that the two imageswere indeed created by the same artist.

The perspective in which the artist represents his characters is adistinguishing factor in their creative works (Davis, 2011). In thetwo images for instance, the people are viewed from left to right.That is to say that their left hand is in the foreground while theirright hand is in the background. This is an artistic style that isusually evident in various creative works from the same artist asthey seem to represent all the detail that the artist wishes toexpress. The artist will thus construct most if not all of hispaintings from this perspective subconsciously. This is a formulaictechnique that can be used to aid in establishing if an anonymouspainting was made by a known artist. In the case of these two images,the perspective used is a largely similar and this points to the factthat they could have been made by the same artist.

The finalsimilarity that is visually discernible in these two images is themethod employed in drawing the collarbone and the chest line. In bothdrawings, the collarbone from the left is continuous with the chestline and the one from the right only joins this continuous line. Thisis a small detail that can only occur in paintings or images made bythe same artist. In conclusion, due to the similarities between thetwo images cite above, it is safe to deduce that they were made bythe same artist.


Davis, W. (2011). Ageneral theory of visual culture.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.