Bernini’s Faun Teased by Children (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 18)

Excerpted and adapted from Innovators in Sculpture. Faun Teased by Children is a technical tour de force by 18-year-old Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), whose career spanned seven decades. I’m a sucker for virtuosity; and besides, this makes me laugh. Michelangelo’s figures (Moses … Continue reading

Saint Gaudens’s Robert Louis Stevenson (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 17)

Knowledge is never wasted except on those too lazy to use it: Augustus Saint Gaudens produced exquisite portrait reliefs throughout his career using skills he learned at age thirteen, as a cameo-cutter. One of Saint Gaudens’s most popular portrait reliefs shows Robert Louis Stevenson, the … Continue reading

La, but someone has to strike a pose (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 16)

Reynolds’s Captain Coussmaker always makes me think of the Scarlet Pimpernel, even though the Pimpernel did his heroic deeds in disguise, not in uniform. The  real Capt. George K.H. Coussemaker (1759-1801) served in the army for 19 years, but never saw action. What reminds … Continue reading

Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 14)

Through January 8, 2017, the Metropolitan Museum is showing  Fragonard: Drawing Triumphant. The exhibition includes about 100 drawings by this top-notch 18th-century artist, some from the MMA, others from private collections in New York. Jean Honore Fragonard (1732–1806) , one of the greatest … Continue reading

What’s the big deal about Caravaggio? (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 12)

The Metropolitan Museum is showing “Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio” through January 16, 2017. But before we go beyond Caravaggio, let’s talk about what made Caravaggio himself such a big deal. Here’s The Last Supper, 1592-94, by Jacopo Tintoretto, who was … Continue reading