I need to write an essay in response to the following prompt.
History is full of people whose reputations in their days and in later days are much contested. Choose one such person and provide a study of his/her reputation and the issues involved in its making. Focus your attention on material that would help you address the subthemes numbered 1-5 below, as they apply to your person of choice:
1) Highlight the issues involved in setting the chosen artist in his/her historical context.
2) Discuss how issues of historical interpretation affected the construction of the chosen artist’s reputation.
3) Comment on the issues involved in using historical evidence appropriately as far as the reputation construction of the chosen artist is concerned.
4) Investigate how social values/norms impact the reputation construction of this artist.
5) Reflect on how views on tradition and innovation relate to the chosen artist’s work and his/her reputation(s).
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The first step in completing the assignment is choosing an artist. Since you haven't mentioned what sort of course the assignment is for or any limitations in period or region, perhaps the best way to help you get started would be to discuss a possible artist you could choose for your project.
One interesting choice might be Domenikos Theotokopoulos (c. 1541–1614), who is better known as El Greco. Not only has his reputation varied widely, but also some people understand him as a Greek artist who began his career in his native Crete as a painter of icons, some associate him with Venice where he moved as an adult, and others consider him part of the tradition of Spanish art, as he was most successful as an artist after he settled permanently in Spain. While in some periods his work was dismissed as mannered and eccentric, the Romantics admired his individualism, and his reputation has grown since that period.
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