Great article in the New Yorker today regarding the methodology of those who authenticate the work of old masters.
The art historian Bernard Berenson described his talent as a “sixth sense.” “It is very largely a question of accumulated experience upon which your spirit sets unconsciously,” he said. “When I see a picture, in most cases, I recognize it at once as being or not being by the master it is ascribed to; the rest is merely a question of how to fish out the evidence that will make the conviction as plain to others as it is to me.” Berenson recalled that once, upon seeing a fake, he had felt an immediate discomfort in his stomach.
I was thinking about it as a nice analogue for how I (or other artists, for that matter) make an artwork. Over a period of time, abstract connections that make sense on what seems to be an instinctual level are made into words. It is almost as if the response to a life load of knowledge can materialize rather quickly, but the means to communicate why that makes sense takes longer than the formulation of the idea itself. To make a unique idea that is unique to an individual universal enough to be communicated is an interesting process, a primary function of the clunky tool we call language.