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Merry Christmas…

I’ll be away celebrating Christmas for a few days. Here’s my Christmas greeting to you this year: Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s The Nativity, With God the Father Surounded by Angels and Cherubim, which is jointly owned by the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum. And there’s a story behind this joint ownership, provided to […]

Freer-Sackler Digitization Project: A Modest Suggestion

The other day, the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian announced that it had digitized its entire collection and was putting it all online for all to see and use–with more than 90 percent of the images in high-definition resolution and without copyright restrictions for noncommercial uses–as of Jan. 1, 2015. This is good news, […]

Happy Thanksgiving, Courtesy of The Bruce

The Bruce Museum sent a seasonal greeting yesterday that I’d like to share. It’s Frans Snyder’s Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game, Vegetables, a live Monkey, Squirrel and Cat (c. 1635). It’s on view now there, as part of Northern Baroque Splendor: The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vienna.  Well, part of it […]

Two “Transformative” Gifts That Actually Are

Two lucky museums made big announcements this week–“transformative” gifts of art. And these do seem to fit that bill, no exaggeration. In Los Angeles, a reclusive billionaire named A. Jerrold Perenchio said he would bequest “the most significant works of his collection to LACMA’s planned new building for its permanent collection.” The trove includes “at least” 47 art […]

It’s A Masterpiece!

Yes, I wrote another Masterpiece column for The Wall Street Journal, which published in Saturday’s paper, headlined Folding Culture and Politics Into Art. Can you guess what it is? I’ve already mentioned it here, in 2012. I was enamored of the object, a folding screen made in Mexico at the turn of the 18th century, […]

Once More Into the Storerooms >> Discoveries!

Now it’s the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh’s turn to find fantastic art works in its storerooms, as many other museums have done. Among the newly discovered pieces: a hand-painted enamel bowl with roundels of butterflies from the Yongzheng period, a “bizarre googly-eyed dragon bowl” and cinnabar lacquer panel (below right) from the Qianlong […]

A Question to Nobelist Kandel Reveals A Big Gap At the Met

Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to […]

ArtPrize Matures: The People Vs. Experts

In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize–the open competition in which the public chooses the winners–is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately–as they have in the past–but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which […]

Is This A “New” Piero della Franscesca? (Corrected)

“New” works by Old Masters turn up all the time in places like Italy — especially Italian churches. So it’s not surprising perhaps that one of the latest discoveries took place in St. Anthony the Abbott Church in San Polo. There, a fresco — some art historians say — is at least partly by the […]

About That Stolen Guercino

This is just plain bad: Last week, a painting titled Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory Thaumaturgus (1639) was stolen from a church in Modena, Italy. Not only was the church alarm system in active, but also the Baroque masterpiece wasn’t insured. It’s a big painting — 10 ft. by 6 ft. — and […]

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