Or are these just questions that have been raked over so much, we should just ignore them. Questions that are old, really old questions, really, really old questions - at least 400 years old, according to Tom Lubbock who in the Independent last Friday described how...
"...the Neapolitan artist Salvator Rosa wrote a satirical poem about painting. He aimed his scorn especially at those who painted pictures of beggars, and those who then bought them.
Such paintings demonstrated for Rosa the glaring gap between wealth and misery, and between taste and morality.
"These pictures are so much appreciated
That you see them in the homes of the powerful
In superbly ornamented frames,
While real life beggars, wretched and naked,
Don't get a penny from the people..."
Who will pay thousands for paintings of them..." He concluded, "Quel che aboriscon vivo, aman dipinto" ("What they abhor in life, they love to see in pictures").
The Boy with the Club Foot by Jusepe de Ribera