My interest in art led me to take the Introduction to Art History course at MIT. I learned the most by thinking very hard about the essay assignments, one of which asked me to analyze the importance of authenticity in art--if it is important at all! We were to look at the case of the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, because it had been notoriously hard to figure out which paintings were actually made by him. I spent way more time than necessary contemplating the issue and putting my thoughts together. Prof. Kristel Smentek, who taught the class, gave comments on drafts of this essay that guided how I developed it further. The essay recently won the Kelly Essay Prize for Excellence in Humanistic Scholarship. I hope you find it an intriguing read!
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