Artist`s signature: how artists used to leave their works unsigned and how they acquired the taste for autographs
From time to time, one cannot help but feel perplexed at the sight of four laconic letters ‘Anon' that should denote the authorship of a certain painting of old. A little more satisfying is the inscription ‘Master of' — followed by some German or Flemish town or an altar of some saint. Opening a list of artists from the 13th-15th centuries, one would find the letter ‘M' in abundance — not because names like Michels, Mateusz or Melchior were particularly popular at the time, but because there were countless nameless masters: Master of Saint Veronica, Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, Master of the Embroidered Foliage, Master of the Vienna Adoration…
The Blue Rider: five portraits
«The Blue Rider» art association was one of the most stellar and impetuous, daring and short-life art groups in the XX century. It only existed for three years (1911 — 1914). At first, in an enthusiastic whisper, and later at the top of voice, they began talking about the synthesis of all arts and about subjectless paintings, the value of paintings by madmen and children, the self-sufficiency of colours and shapes, and the spiritual content of painting. Unique universal artists have united here, equally brilliant in work with brush and pen. The best representatives of the «new art» created the revolutionary almanac «The Blue Horseman», without any demand for fees or rewards.
The study: a matter of skills
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value?