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Connoisseur

1. A connoisseur (Fr. connaisseur, from conoistre, connaitre know) is a person who knows a lot about the fine arts, an expert judge in matters of taste.

Modern connoisseurship must be seen along with museums, art galleries and "the cult of originality[?]." Connoisseurs evaluate works of art on the basis of aesthetic conclusions. Judgment informed by intuition is essential, but it must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the work itself. On the basis of empirical evidence, refinement of perception about technique[?] and form, and a disciplined method of analysis, the responsibility of the connoisseur is to attribute[?] authorship[?], validate authenticity[?] and appraise quality. These findings can be collected and organized into a catalogue raisonne[?] of the work of a single artist or a school[?].

During the 18th century, however, the term was often used as a synonym for a still vaguer man of taste or a pretended critic.

In 1760, Oliver Goldsmith says, "Painting is now become the sole object of fashionable care; the title of connoisseur in that art is at present the safest passport into every fashionable Society; a well timed shrug, an admiring attitude and one or two exotic tones of exclamation are sufficient qualifications for men of low circumstances to curry favour."

2. Connoisseur is also the name of some English periodicals, the first of which run by Bonnell Thornton[?] and George Colman[?] in mid-eighteenth-century London.

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