The vexed question of the attribution of Renaissance paintings was partly solved by an Italian art historian who developed the idea that instead of trying, through a general look at a painting, to guess who had painted it, one could look at particular details—unimportant in themselves but that were characteristic of particular artists. Correggio always painted ears in a particular way; Parmigianino’s fingers were all similar and so on. Through examination of these details, rather than through any encyclopaedic knowledge of an artist’s work, one could arrive at a far more likely attribution of a painting. This studying of details is not unlike the use of fingerprints in forensic investigations and the examination of seemingly unimportant details in psychoanalysis.
The Nose separated and isolated is in search of a connoisseur.
This text by William Kentridge appears alongside the illustration of this print in William Kentridge Nose: Thirty Etchings, edited by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen and published by David Krut Publishing in 2010.