an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

The Things You Find Behind Doors, Like A Velazquez

In recent days, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has rehung a painting called Kitchen Maid (c. 1620) with a new label, “attributed to Velazquez.” The work used to hang in its decorative arts mansion, Rienzi, partially blocked by a door! At that point, it was labeled “in the style of Diego Velázquez.” It […]

Art Reviews–Or Observations–That Go Beyond

People regularly complain that art criticism displays an off-putting insider-y tone, complete with jargon–but that’s not what I am about to talk about here. I’m going to mention a few display touches and the like that I notice, when they are good, at exhibitions that I review but rarely–for space reasons–have the opportunity to write […]

This May Be the Best Monument to Caesar Augustus

Reputedly, the last public words of Caesar Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) were “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble.” Augustus also left us a magnificent, exquisitely carved cameo whose double-narrative all but deifies him. It is the Gemma Augustea in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which […]

A Little Masterpiece in Central Asia

There are many reasons to visit Uzbekistan, which I did last fall. As usual, I brought back a Masterpiece column for The Wall Street Journal. It describes and explains the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara. The little structure not only survived the 13th Century marauder Ghengis Khan but also many earthquakes and other natural shifts: now […]

TEFAF Maastricht: Changing, But the Same

The world’s best art fair–Tefaf Maastricht. whose 275 participating galleries show the art of seven millennia, all told–got underway last Thursday, as usual. Fair organizers are keen to point out what’s different this year: for example, a smaller by-invitation-only crowd on its annual day of free-flowing food and drink, and another by-invitation only access day […]

Take Another Trip! The Paston Treasure Beckons

I’ll bet most, if not all, of you have never heard of a large painting called The Paston Treasure, c. 1663. Neither had I, until I saw a little picture of this 8 feet by 5.4 feet work. As I guess then, it’s a real gem, a unique painting in more than one way. It’s now […]

A New Leonardo?

Has the unprecedented sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi brought more paintings by the Renaissance master out of the closet? Over the courses of this fall and winter, some people were speculating that that would happen, and also that–of course–none of them would be “right.” Now the Worcester Art Museum is entering the fray, but with […]

Merry Christmas: The Annual Gift

My Christmas painting for RCA readers this year is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Nativity from the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University. It’s dated c. 1492 and was bequeathed to the museum by Charles Brinsley Marlay in 1912. About 24.4 inches by 33.6 inches, it’s tempera on wood panel, and the provenance line says “he […]

Take A Look At Folk Art Masterpiece(s) in We The People

Last January, when the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg announced that it would “launch its diamond jubilee as the loan exhibition at the Winter Antiques Show to be held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City,” I was interested in doing something that would focus more attention on folk […]

The Maltese Icon–No, Not That One

If you’re an art-lover (and writer) headed toward Malta, as I was last June, the first artwork that comes to mind is Caravaggio’s masterpiece in the Valetta cathedral, The Beheading of St John the Baptist. Brilliantly conceived and titanic in size–12 ft by 17 ft–it is the only work Caravaggio ever signed. It hangs in a separate room […]

an ArtsJournal blog