A hierarchical model of the artist and the expert opinion process
On Bernard Lahire’s
Ceci n’est pas qu’un tableau.
Essai sur l’art, la domination, la magie et le sacré
[This is not only a Painting.
An Essay on Art, Domination, Magic and the Sacred]
In this book, Bernard Lahire offers a general analysis of the sacralization of art and artists, beginning with the processes of attribution and authentication. This review of his work starts by explaining the analytical perspective taken by the author on the question of the authenticity of art works and authentication procedures. This perspective is based on the performative power of experts and thus on a form of hierarchical relationship between experts and laymen. Secondly, the particular history of Nicolas Poussin’s painting of The Flight into Egypt is examined in order to show what is involved in the different stages of attribution, particularly with regard to the relationships of domination that are part of the power of experts to impose an attribution. Thirdly, a critical discussion of the book is presented that uses a more horizontal model of expertise and the relationships between artists and their admirers, based on initiation relationships.
ART – DOMINATION – ATTTRIBUTION – AUTHENTICATION – EXPERT – PERCEPTION.