10 Dec 2011

Portraits: Icons of America

Portraits make popular art exhibitions because we all think we can “read” a face. It’s part of being human. Everyone is his or her own expert on other people’s faces. Besides, portraits help satisfy our natural inquisitiveness about what people in the past looked like. Strangely, though,...

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19 Nov 2010

Bronzino’s Ginger Hair

No-one knows how Agnolo di Cosimo gained his nickname, Bronzino, but the general view seems to be, without any evidence, that he may have had a dark complexion. Yet how about the color of his hair? A portrait of Bronzino by an unknown painter shows him with red hair while that in his own...

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27 Oct 2010 | 2 Comments

Van Gogh’s Eyes

Cruising along the Lungotevere on a Vespa I had time to admire the vast self-portrait of Vincent on the back of a Roman tour bus. The poster, promoting yet another one-man show of his work, had a glorious reproduction of the artist in which every brush stroke was enlarged to about 3”.  What...

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07 Sep 2010

Fusion Confusion at The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection in London, an august institution, has a painting by Van Dyck of Paris, the mythological judge of beauty, posing by himself.  A detail of his face is illustrated above (left). Whatever else one has to say about this painting, there can be no doubt that the face of Paris...

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