Having To Do With Art

I was a rotten artist, even as a kid. In elementary school, I once got a D- on a drawing of a penguin–not because I didn’t turn it in, or didn’t follow directions, but just because it was a lousy picture. I don’t think they do that to elementary school kids anymore, and even at the time, I thought it was unjust.
I recovered, though, to develop a real fondness for art. Art was one of the few side benefits of law school; the Fogg Museum is between the law school and the Square, and I would often take a half hour after lunch to look at, and think about, paintings. This Odalisque by Ingres was one of many works that I enjoyed; click to enlarge:

Another favorite was the collection of 18th-century miniatures that the government of India gave to John K. Galbraith after his service as Ambassador there, but I can’t find any images of this collection online.
Those experiences led to many others. My point, though, is not to reminisce, but to note what looks like a wonderful exhibit of Edward Hopper paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which I also haunted during those days. There was a time when I would have jumped on an airplane to see this show. Here are a few samples; click to enlarge, in most cases:


This one is famous, of course, but it’s still wonderful:

Hopper’s paintings are beautiful and mysterious, a combination that characterizes most great art.
Our Blog of the Season, the New Criterion’s Armavirumque–Scott, who once taught Latin to high school students, tells me that it is Virgil’s “Arms and the man,” although my Fagles translation renders it unconventionally as “Wars and a man”–asks whether Tintoretto is the greatest painter of the Italian Renaissance. More specifically, James Panero writes that “[i]n his monumental ‘Crucifixion’ of 1565, located in Venice’s Scuola di San Rocco, Tintoretto may just have painted the single best work of religious art in the Italian Renaissance.” A provocative claim; here is Tintoretto’s painting, as it is usually shown:
And here it is, captured from a 360 degree video at the website maintained by the Scuola confraternity; click to enlarge:

Panero has submitted an article on Tintoretto’s painting to the Wall Street Journal; we may comment further if and when it appears.
One more artistic note, which I hesitate to add lest it be thought facetious, which it isn’t. You never know what you will find at the Power Line Forum, where, along with the news of the day, the arts and other topics are always under discussion. Last night I came across this thread on watermelon art. It reminded me a bit of the seed art that we see at the Minnesota State Fair. And, of course, it quickly morphed into related fields. Click to enlarge:

Is it great art? No, but it’s remarkable, anyway–quite beautiful, and even a bit mysterious. Those of us who can’t draw a penguin properly are grateful to artists of all stripes who render the world in ways that we can’t.
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