Art Data Analysis: Roger de Piles

(Via Ptak Science Books)

“To his last published work: Cours de peinture par principes avec un balance de peintres (1708) de Piles appended a list of fifty-six major painters in his own
time, with whose work he had acquainted himself as a connoisseur during
his travels.

To each painter in the list he gave marks from 0 to 18 for
composition, drawing, color and expression. This gave an overview of
aesthetic appreciation hingeing on the balance between color and design.
The highest marks went to Raffaello Sanzio and Rubens,
with a slight bias on color for Rubens, a slight bias on drawing for
Raphaël. Painters who scored very badly in anything but color were Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione and remarkably Michelangelo Caravaggio
with 16 on color and 0 (zero) on expression. Painters who fell far
behind Rubens and Raphaël but whose balance between color and design was
perfect were Lucas van Leyden, Sebastian Bourdon, Albrecht Dürer.”

The Wikipedia page reproduces this list as a table from which the values can be easily extracted. Like this:

Andrea del Sarto,12,16,9,8
Federico Barocci,14,15,6,10
Jacopo Bassano,6,8,17,0
Giovanni Bellini,4,6,14,O
Sebastian Bourdon,10,8,8,4
Charles Le Brun,16,16,8,16
I Carracci,15,17,13,13
Cavalier D'Arpino,10,10,6,2
Daniele da Volterra,12,15,5,8
Abraham van Diepenbeeck,11,10,14,6
Il Domenichino,15,17,9,17
Albrecht Dürer,8,10,10,8
Giovanni da Udine,10,8,16,3
Giulio Romano,15,16,4,14
Guido Reni,NA,13,9,12
Jacob Jordaens,10,8,16,6
Lucas Jordaens,13,12,9,6
Giovanni Lanfranco,14,13,10,5
Leonardo da Vinci,15,16,4,14
Lucas van Leyden,8,6,6,4
Otho Venius,13,14,10,10
Palma il Vecchio,5,6,16,0
Palma il Giovane,12,9,14,6
Il Parmigianino,10,15,6,6
Gianfrancesco Penni,O,15,8,0
Perin del Vaga,15,16,7,6
Sebastiano del Piombo,8,13,16,7
Francesco Salviati,13,15,8,8
Eustache Le Sueur,15,15,4,15
Pietro Testa,11,15,0,6
Van Dyck,15,10,17,13
Taddeo Zuccari,13,14,10,9
Federico Zuccari,10,10,8,8

Or you can get a scan of the original text from Google Books here. The table of scores starts on page 408 of the PDF version.

This kind of mock-objective scoring of artworks using whatever system is fun but even at the time was open to ridicule. By Hogarth, for example.

What might be more interesting would be if lots of people scored artworks or artists similarly.

Posted in Aesthetics, Art History, Art Open Data