09 Sep 2013 | 2 Comments

Art’s Unknown Frown

Artists frown. Constantly. Why? Charles Darwin considered the corrugator, the muscle which results in a frown, as the most remarkable of the human face because it irresistably conveys the idea of mind.1 And that's why, in my opinion, artists have used it for centuries not only in their own...

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23 Nov 2011

Rembrandt’s Hand

We have already seen (in Donatello’s Davids and Goliaths) that Donatello identified with both David and Goliath. Both his giants (in the marble and bronze versions) have double vision, out-sight and insight, the two forms conveyed by one eye open and the other closed. Giorgione and ...

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16 Apr 2011

News of Caravaggio’s Execution

I don’t think anyone has ever noticed that Holofernes’ head in Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes is the mirror-image, modeled by someone else, of his own Self-portrait as Medusa from two years earlier. The idea, then, that Holofernes’ decapitated head is Judith’s capolavoro, “masterpiece” or...

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01 Mar 2011

A round of cheers for Michael Fried, please!

I have just finished reading Michael Fried’s The Moment of Caravaggio published last year. What a book! A compilation of his A.W. Mellon lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC he applies to Caravaggio the same kind of thoughtful analysis that went into his ground-breaking...

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15 Sep 2010

Sense and Nonsense about Caravaggio

Every writer from Caravaggio's day to our own has spoken of the artist's astonishing realism. One critic wrote a century after his birth that Caravaggio:

"recognized no other master than the model, without selecting [as artists had in the past] from the best forms of nature.....despising the...

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