Morelli claimed that personality in art is found “where effort is weakest”. These weaknesses turn into habitual tics of style, that holy grail of individualism, if untreated. This is not to say that these lapses in effort will be visible in the work itself, they may manifest in composition, in conception or in choice of subject. This quaintness expresses a vulnerability which is appealing to audiences and, when it is copied thoughtlessly or cynically, may develop into a trope.

The tropes are different from the genres, in that genres are merely rich seams in the market where prospectors gather, while tropes are a weakness, not so much in the artist as in the critical faculties of the audience.

In the age of mass media, where art is disseminated as consolation, this sort of laziness keeps culture unthreatening, undemanding and in the end unsatisfying.