Critics are the driving mechanisms of change within any environment with different ways of achieving the same goals. Business models, sports teams, and art all have a form of a critic that influences the opinions of the producers and consumers. Without the critic, there is a lot less unification, and a lot less driving art to change or react. Here, Ruskin’s remarks led to the passionate trial, which in turn changed the entire art scene into a new era. This role is not something to scoff at, let alone dislike.
Stuart’s controversy regarding his ownership of portraits of George Washington bring up a very different role for critics, albeit a less significant one. The idea of ownership is not one that often brought up, because it is rarely an issue, but it is an interesting one when it comes up. Stuart’s story differs in that it was not a source of change, rather the continuation of an established form of art. What is unique to me is that despite disavowing his work, Stuart is still considered the creator of the works, because most analysts agree that it his. The role of the critic here is an informed decision maker rather than a force of change. I think a critic can be these roles at the same time, but can also do very different things to represent only one of the two.