When it comes to the notion of the connoisseur, Richardson believes that it is possible, but it takes a very strict set of circumstances to become and remain one. The main thing that he brings up is that you have to judge things for yourself. He believes that if you rely on another’s judgment to help you form your own opinion about a certain work than you are making a mistake. This belief is best illustrated by the following: “but he that relies upon the judgment of another has a double-chance against him over and above, for he may be mistaken in his opinion of the honesty, or understanding of this other. (Richardson Pg. 16) Richardson full-heartedly believes that unless you can form your own opinions and find truth within your own thoughts than you cannot be a connoisseur.
Richardson also believes that to be a good connoisseur, “The first thing then to be done in order to become a good connoisseur one’s self, is to avoid prejudices, and false reasoning.” (Richardson Pg. 17) What he’s trying to say here is that you have to go into the examination of a piece of art with an open mind, and if you bring your own baggage with you to view it you can’t form a clear opinion. Part of what makes someone a good connoisseur is looking at things from a completely unbiased perspective. You’re still forming your own opinion, but you’re not letting past experiences influence the way you feel about the piece in from of you. Connoisseurs are supposed to judge the “intrinsic qualities of the thing itself.”(Richardson Pg. 23) A good way he helps us to understand this is by relating this notion back to religion by saying you don’t believe in it because your ancestors did, you have taken the time to carefully examine it yourself. The most interesting thing about Richardson, personally, is that I agree with everything he’s saying regarding the topic. A good connoisseur is someone that has intense knowledge of a certain field (art) and is able to judge something in that field in a completely objective manner, thus making his judgment just.
A piece that really speaks to me is a song sung by Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley titled “In the Ghetto.” I like to consider myself a connoisseur of music, but I can’t help but be biased on this piece because my father is an Elvis fanatic. But in saying that, this piece is a wholesome, caring piece about the terribleness of life in a ghetto. The two singers talk about how people are consciously neglecting the problems in society and calling for change. The song is really powerful because it talks about something real, unlike most works in today’s world. This reminds me of my favorite quote from the Richardson piece. It is very applicable to this particular song. “Apply’d to all the occurrences of life would contribute very much to the improvement of out happiness here; it would teach us to enjoy the good before us, and not reject it upon account of the disagreeable companion which is inseparable from it” (Richardson Pg. 12) This song really makes me appriecate the good before me, something that we should be reminded of much more often in today’s world.
One song that really irks me is “Kim” by Eminem. In the song, Em talks about literally killing his wife by drowning her and slitting her throat. Of course, this all happens while his daughter Haley is sitting in the front seat. The song actually has some good raps in it though, which leads me to remind that a good connoisseur forms his own personal opinion, but doesn’t let past experiences come into play. Of course the song has faults, but a good connoisseur knows, “There never was a picture in the world without some faults, and very rarely is there one to be found which is not notoriously defective in some of the parts of painting” (Richardson Pg. 15)
1.) Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley “In the Ghetto”