The British art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon plotted the moment The Word became more important than the image, to the Reformation of the C16th. Before then the language of images (iconography) was the dominant form of mass communication. Protestant reformers mistrusted the seductive power of imagery (along with a lot of other stuff like music) and sought to raise the word to fundamental status. The echoes of that change still reverberate through the gallery system, where the accompanying text has become the measure of whether a work is 'any good'. The artwork is now merely a manifestation of the artist, rather than a product in itself. Galleries no longer sell art, they the artist's provenance, underwritten with the language of art criticism.
Originally Posted by Darkroom317