09 Feb 2014

Artists and the Thumb-hole of a Guitar

I read once that Cézanne prepared his palette with as many as 18 pigments and lined them up in a series like musical scales.1 It’s an apt analogy because painters have long portrayed musicians as an allegory of their own poetic performance in the studio. When Manet and Courbet painted...

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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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16 Jan 2013 | 2 Comments

Sotheby’s Head Turner

Two years ago, shortly after I began this website, Christie's sold one of the most important Old Master paintings to come on the market for years: Poussin's Ordination from the collection of the Duke of Rutland. The auction house helped by Poussin scholars wrote a comprehensive catalogue entry...

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11 Sep 2011

The Kimbell Gets a Surprise

Nicolas Poussin’s Sacrament of the Ordination (1640's) is one of the masterpieces of Western art. I wrote about it last year when it failed to sell at auction. Now the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas has acquired it for $24 million. The Kimbell is a small museum specializing in those...

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12 Jul 2011

Introducing Bellini’s “Eyes”

I have recently introduced the argument that a significant number of compositions by Giovanni Bellini are not just representations of the apparent scene but, on another level, are representations of giant “heads”, “faces” or parts of faces, sometimes just “eyes”. They appear to...

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20 Apr 2011

Celebrating Good Friday

Isn’t it rather morbid and paradoxical for Christians to celebrate the death of Christ on Good Friday? What’s so good about killing your God? Ah, you’ll be told, that was the day He died for our sins for all humanity? But doesn’t God forgive everyone anyway? There was no need for Him to die...

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