How to See: A Practical Guide to Connoisseurship

A Practicum: The Acquisition and Use of Connoisseurship

Once the civilized world was beautiful, growing more beautiful by the day.  Once we Classives were ambitious of virtue in our thoughts and in our ways.  But that was long ago.  Long ago good men and women aspired to be worthy of God’s praise.  Once we Classives were ambitious of truth in manner and in taste.  But that was long ago.  These days in progress our cities have grown ugly, we have achieved low taste, we are uncivil, and our nation is in a bad way.  How did we get here.  Where to go.

To tradition, to God, to the good, the beautiful, and the true.  How did we get here.  By way of an Enlightenment that ended in the darkness of Modern change.  Change is Progressive, and we have in change progressed from vice to vice to vice.  As you know, progress in vice will not end well.

The end is near.  Yes.  Look about.  Tell me.  Does it seem we are advancing to the light or retreating to the dark.  Is our civilization more or less ugly, more or less spiteful, more or less prideful.  As you know, the collapsing Progressive civilization is ugly, spiteful, prideful, poised to collapse.  But why.


Connoisseurship, Forum
Connoisseurship, Forum Romanum, Arch of Titus (background), Temple of the Vesta, Temple of Castor and Pollux (foreground right), Rome. credit: Givaga


External reality receded before internal fantasy, the objective surrendered to the subjective, the eternal degenerated to the functional.  The internal, the subjective, the functional are Modern, are the doctrines taught in schools of art, architecture, literature these hundred years.  And what is taught in school to painters, sculptors, architects, novelists and poets becomes both the physical and the psychological world in which you and I live.  Look outward at the cold ugly, look inward at the hot anger and recognize the physical and psychological world created by the schools of Modern art, architecture, literature.

We are not formed by economic policies.  We are not formed by legislation.  We are not formed by constitutions.  We are formed by storytellers.  We live in and through stories, the stories of ourselves, our neighbors, our nation, our civilization.  We do not know ourselves by economics, by legislation, by constitution; we know ourselves by stories, and this is why Progressives encircle, capture, and control the art of storytelling.

Go on, pass some conservative law.  No one will notice, no one will care, nothing will change.  Every minute of every day of every month of every year, every commercial through all of media tells a 30-second Progressive story.  People notice the stories, people internalize the stories, people change, people become spiteful, envious, unhappy Progressives.  Not only commercials, but movies, shows, plays, novels, poems, paintings, histories, psychologies, et cetera are an unstoppable wave of Progressive story minute after minute, decade after decade.  Go on, teach a class, teach years of classes, the tsunami of Progressive stories will wash 12-years of traditional classes away.


Connoisseurship, Vatican
Connoisseurship, Vatican City, Saint Peter Basilica over Ponte Sant Angelo at the Tiber, Rome. credit: gnoparus


If Classives would win, Classives must create artists, architects, writers.  If Classives would win, Classives must correctly align all of history … not as progressive evolution, a descent of man, but as an ascent of man in virtue toward God.  Each day Darwinian, Freudian, Marxist theories recede before evidence of practice, experiment, science, and philosophy, and no one has amalgamated latest evidence to create a true, correct story of civilization’s unfolding.

When I was in art school, architecture school, and university, new modern design theory was ten to twenty years old (each discipline on its own schedule).  The new theories were taught by Modernist professors through standard, universal texts.  You should know: modern sculptures, pictures, buildings, novels, are the textbook assignments made large, made gargantuan … for instance, the 200-story skyscrapers are the little take-home paper-fold assignments made monstrously large by multi-national banks and corporate pride.

Okay then.  So what.  Well, I have composed a design text for the allied arts, a text that offers an accurate survey of aesthetic history, a comprehensive overview of civilization, and that with guidelines of practice, advice on technique, and assignments both in craft and in thought.  The text is appropriate to practitioners, students, friends and neighbors, those who feel sick when experiencing Progressive art, those who know that something is corrupt yet cannot identify specifics of the corruption.


Connoisseurship, Emmanuel II
Connoisseurship, The Altare della Patria and the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Rome. credit: Hany Mahmoud


The illustrated book is a practicum, a guide to the acquisition and use of connoisseurship; it is some 70,000 words of 23 chapters in three sections; it is designed in the middle way so that those who know much and those who know little will gain from seeing its illustrations, from internalizing its observation, and, perhaps, by attempting its assignments.


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One of nine books recently completed or nearing completion.  How to See: A Practical Guide to Connoisseurship is not included in the bi-monthly book-release schedule (2024–2026).

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