an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

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 […]

A Masterpiece That Needs More Attention

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal published my latest entry in its Saturday Masterpiece column, about Enguerrand Quarton’s Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, and all I can say is that we picked the right artwork this time, for sure, based on the feedback I’ve received so far. Many people–not art historians, of course, but art lovers nonetheless–have told […]

That Feast of St. Roch? It’s A Milestone in Contemporary Art

Tipped off by none other than Philippe de Montebello, who read my review of Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, I learned a fascinating fact about one of the pictures in the exhibition: Canaletto’s The Procession on the Feast Day of Saint Roch is a milestone for contemporary art. If you look closely at the painting, […]

Who Gets What? David Rockefeller’s Art Bequests

Of all his art interests, we have long known that the Museum of Modern Art came first for David Rockefeller, who died last month. But there were in his will a few other bequests for museums. MoMA is to receive $125 million overall; he had already begun giving MoMA annual $5 million installments to fulfill […]

At The Met, A Most Timely Acquisition

Maybe I should not admit this, but I never heard of Luisa Ignacia Roldán until a few weeks ago, when I learned that the Metropolitan Museum of Art* had recently purchased a polychrome terracotta sculpture by her. Dated 1700-1701, The Entombment of Christ takes up a very common theme in Spanish art of the period. Her interpretation adds […]

Merry Christmas: This Year’s Nativity Scene

By tradition, every year about this time I post a nativity scene here, for your enjoyment and contemplation while I am away with family for Christmas. There’s no shortage of possible choices. This year, reminded and inspired by my review of the Giovanni di Paolo exhibition at the Getty, I’ve chosen one by the artist […]

Happy Thanksgiving

There’s a painting for everything, and while some people conjure up Norman Rockwell on Thanksgiving, I lead toward the Dutch masters, like Jan Davidsz de Heem. Below is his Still-Life with Flowers and Fruit from the 1660s. I hope you are enjoying family, friends and an even better feast today. I’ll be away for the next […]

Kenneth Clark’s Response to Crisis

During World War II, in London’s bleak days, Kenneth Clark acted, as the review of his biography by James Stourton in today’s New York Times reminds us. Clark recognized that in dark times there is a yearning for serious art, music and literature. Many people now feel that we as a nation are going through […]

Picture This! Scenes From Tefaf-New York

I spent most of Friday afternoon and evening at Tefaf-New York, and I found it to be as full of interesting paintings and objects as I expected. Here are pictures of some interesting booths–there were so many. When I remember where I was, I’ve added a few details. Richard L. Feigen’s booth–with a wonderful Courbet […]

A Master, A Mysterious Girl and An Unsolved Question

When I traveled to Berlin earlier this summer, I spent about four and half hours at the Gemaldegalerie (not enough time)–a full hour of which was spent looking at Portrait of a Young Girl (1470) by Petrus Christus. It’s the subject of the “Masterpiece” column I wrote for The Wall Street Journal, and was published […]

an ArtsJournal blog