Assessing creativity

2_Young-Man_National_Gallery-690_2000

Andrea del Sarto: Portrait of a Young Man (c.1517-1518)

From the transcript of an early research assessment exercise in the field of art history: ‘Professor Vasari, would you like to lead off for the panel on the work of Andrea del Sarto? I see he is currently exhibiting those odd drawings of his in New York.’ ‘Thank you, Chair, yes, at the Frick. Ah, the divine Andrea! Not the truly divine, I should say at once …. a certain timidity of spirit … a lack of elaboration perhaps, even of grandeur … a rare spirit of course ..’ ‘Yes, yes, Professor, fewer words and more numbers, please: what would you give him – 4* world-leading quality or is he just an ordinary 2* internationally-recognised chappie?’ ‘Difficult, Chair, such an odd fellow, prefers Florence to Paris, but certainly a scholar, a master of sfumato too. Perhaps the panel might consider a 3*?’. ‘Thank you, Professor. Our consultant, Professor Rowland, has been rather more generous about his work. Sublime, she says, exhilarating too…’

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