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When did artists start signing paintings?


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I was at the physical therapist's today (right shoulder - probably chronic bursitis) and on her walls were reproductions of Monet paintings. One was signed "Claude Monet 72" and it made me wonder - when did artists start signing their paintings? I don't remember seeing signatures on Renaissance-era paintings, but I could be wrong. We all know what Leonardo da Vinci's signature looks like, but isn't that from his writings/drawings?

I'm just wondering if the advent of signing your paintings marked some kind of sea change in the way artists perceived their work.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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I was at the physical therapist's today (right shoulder - probably chronic bursitis) and on her walls were reproductions of Monet paintings. One was signed "Claude Monet 72" and it made me wonder - when did artists start signing their paintings? I don't remember seeing signatures on Renaissance-era paintings, but I could be wrong. We all know what Leonardo da Vinci's signature looks like, but isn't that from his writings/drawings?

I'm just wondering if the advent of signing your paintings marked some kind of sea change in the way artists perceived their work.

i was always under the impression that it was somehow tied into the rise of humanism and a focus on the individual, but i'll have to rummage around a bit...it seems tied to the shifting idea of the artistic genius c. the renaissance. artists' biographies a la vasari, self portraits rather than history painting and art as a product (and therefore requiring marketing). it definitely gained cache in more more modern (read: post 1800s) times, which for me still ties into modernity and its emphasis on individualism, and more recently its connection to self-expression or discovery.

in the meantime, try this -- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/frontrow/..._20020513.shtml

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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and of course there's durer -- probably the first westerner (the chinese and japanese 'chopped' their work centuries before the west made it common) to really make it a point of signing (or monogramming) their work...

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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