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The connoisseur

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Pages: 186

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Frederick S. Robinson

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. VOGUE AND PRICES. There has never, perhaps, been such a rage for collecting anything and everything as at the present time. Human nature has not changed much since the days of Pliny, when modern artists were neglected in favour of old masters, and old silver was valued the more in proportion as the design was obliterated. But the present generation has an advantage over Pliny in the artistic production of another eighteen hundred years. Collectors of to-day are not restricted to a few branches of art. Things have changed since the time when, as the result of a grand tour, a taste was brought home for pictures, antique sculpture, gems, and medals, which in the eighteenth century were regarded as the only objects of vertu, and were exclusively collected by those who had the fortune to travel at their ease. There has been in this century a small Renaissance, or rather an awakening to the infinite variety of the artistic field. The spread of artistic education and the rise of provincial art museums have democratized the collector's country. In the last century it was in the prerogative of an oligarchy, who kept for themost part to those kinds of artistic objects which properly belonged to the "grand," that is, the antique style. Horace Walpole was one of the exceptions, and he paid for it by evincing certain aberrations of taste at Strawberry Hill not unnatural to an enthusiastic pioneer in a new field. But the more old-fashioned " cognoscenti" and "dilettanti" collected many magnificent treasures. Then, later, came good erudite old Dr. Waagen conscientiously to discover the " Art Treasures of Great Britain " which travelling noblemen had collected. He writes home to Germany the results of his researches in long- winded letters, enlivened only by such experiences as...  

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