October 2010

Zeroing in on Masterpieces

WITHIN THE PAST WEEK, an Italian web site posted online six glories of Renaissance painting from the Uffizi; another three from Milan, Rome and a church in the Piedmont; plus one late 19th century Italian peasant scene. As you can guess from the name of the site (Haltadefinizione), all ten can be viewed in extreme high resolution. Nearly 28 billion pixels, several thousand times greater than ordinary digital photos, permits stunning enlargement. Among featured works are: Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus; Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonora of Toledo da Vinci’s Annunciation and The Last Supper; The Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio and da Vinci; Caravaggio’s Bacchus, and Gaudenzio Ferrari’s scene from the life of Christ from a church in the Piedmont. Continue Reading
Art the Destroyer

THIS PRESS RELEASE CAME IN THE MORNING MAIL. It is a shining example of academic/museum culture. An initial cue to the tenor of things is the windy title of John Russell’s untitled painting. [Scroll down.] If you see only two glowing suns, not three as announced, do not fret. The third will show up sooner or later in another replicate. It is an inkjet print—quite a huge one—on polyester. Russel exhibited the identical central image in a group show at the Royal Academy, London, in 2008. Continue Reading
Martin Gayford on Lucian Freud

Man with a Blue Scarf On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford Thames & Hudson, 256 pp., $40 Art critics have been sitting for their portraits since Diderot, grandaddy of modern criticism, modeled for Fragonard. Under 18th-century Prussian rigor, aesthetics hardened into a discipline. Critics arose as arbiters and exegetes. The benefits of painting them rose, too. Johann Winckelmann, pioneer of art historical methodology, posed for Anton Mengs; Immanuel Kant, for lesser lights. John Ruskin held his stance for John Millais. Continue Reading