What is a masterpiece ?

The term “masterpiece” originated in the Middle Ages, when apprentice artisans had to prove their skills by submitting exemplary work for approval by the guild that governed their trade.

If the piece demonstrated mastery of the craft, the apprentice would be promoted to master and authorized to train others.

330 B.C.E., the bronze ‘Boxer at Rest’.
The statue is a masterpiece of Hellenistic athletic professionalism, with a top-heavy over-muscled torso and scarred and bruised face, cauliflower ears, broken nose, and a mouth suggesting broken teeth.

There is no shortage of ultra realist painters and sculptors these days who miss nothing in their compositions apart from the most important aspects of all, inspiration!

High art ought to stir emotions, expand perspectives, give the viewer something to consider outside their normal lives or comfort zone. A masterpiece should do this beautifully.

They place the emphasis squarely on feeling, and despite whatever technical hurdles needed resolving, the end result ought to look naturally effortless. There is genius in simplicity.

Common qualities that every masterpiece shares.

Some sort of feeling must be evoked
Superlative craftsmanship
Extraordinary design
Rich materials
Purity of form
Artistic genius

modern – contemporary

Artists are as prolific as ever and still challenging us to decide what is great and what is an insult to sentience.

Where do you place Tracy Emins portraits or Chris Ofilis dung covered Holy Virgin Mary with random anus photos stuck all over it?

These days it seems that notoriety somehow equates to skill or talent. How this will stand the test of time is anybodies guess.