Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Halfway Week: The Tournament State of Play

A natural question to ask halfway through a tournament is "Who's winning?" And the answer, of course, is that there's no telling. No matter how anybody is doing right now, it's always possible that Mark Tobey, or Kitagawa Utamaro, or Johann Zoffany -- or, say, Vermeer -- will eventually cut through the brackets like a hot chainsaw through butter, and we won't even see the first signs of it for a few years yet to come.

We can always look at the 94 artists who have already strutted and fretted their brief hour upon the stage, of course. Of the exited artists, the indisputable winner is Antonello da Messina. Forced out by a grudge match tie, he doesn't even have two losses. His 2-1-1 record saw him pile up 35 votes to only 15 against, an enviable .700 batting average. Also impressive among the departed are Boccioni (3-2, 42-23, .646) and the loveably schmaltzy Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (3-2-1, 47-30, .610). Of the big-name artists I still can't quite believe are gone, including Christo, Claude Lorraine, Correggio, and Van Dyck, the only one who got more yeas than nays was Marc Chagall (2-2, 30-26, .536). [The most soundly defeated arists to date -- it's only human to be curious -- are Fautriet (.090), Domenichino (.125), and Daubigney (.133), all of whom of course went two-and-out.]

But it doesn't make much sense, putting it bluntly, to look for a winner among the losers. Our best bet to find a big winner is to look at someone who is still undefeated after three rounds of action. There are several artists already who have reached 3-0 with heaps of momentum. Van Gogh has piled up a .800 batting average on 32 votes against 8, topping Church (.791), Eakins (.778), Botticelli (.750), and Giotto (.727).

The Big Three at the moment, however are:

3. Mary Cassatt (36-7, .837)

2. Albrecht Dürer (33-5, .868)

1. Pieter Bruegel (41-6, .872)

On the other hand, it seems just possible that an artist's success might be based not only on his or her own merit, but also the opponents he or she happens to be stacked up against. Conceivably! Bruegel's 3-0 record was stacked up against his son Jan, Daniel Buren, and Ford Madox Brown. Now, he's going up against Botticelli. Will that affect his .872 batting average? If it doesn't, it's sure going to affect Botticelli's .750!

In conclusion, this is a very ineresting tournament, and well worth studying.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Nice conclusion, as always!