Cut-throat Politics in the Palm of Your Hand (Favorites at Washington’s National Gallery, 9)

One of the genres of that reappeared during the Renaissance was portraiture: hundreds of  meticulously executed paintings have survived. Sculptured portraits are far fewer, and sculptured portraits with added color are even less common. One of my favorite painted terracotta portraits is … Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Awesome (Favorites from Washington’s National Gallery, 8)

Years ago when I first started to work on Innovators in Painting (it was called the Crash Cruise Course then), I found it difficult to appreciate Raphael. He didn’t have Leonardo’s wide-ranging, sparkling intelligence and wit. He didn’t have the near-legendary stature … Continue reading

Adorable Nativities (Favorites from Washington’s National Gallery, 7)

After I’ve spent time looking at medieval art, this Italian Adoration of the Magi of the mid-15th century always makes me smile. Peacocks! Arches! Parades! Linear perspective! Lavish costumes and almost-naked men! There’s delight in literally every inch. I’ll need to stand and … Continue reading

“La! But someone has to strike a pose / And bear the weight of well-tailored clothes…” (Washington, National Gallery 4)

This is the fourth in a series of favorite paintings from the National Gallery in Washington: my favorite Frans Hals, ever. The sitter is confident, charming, debonair: he could give lessons on how to tilt a hat at a rakish angle. … Continue reading