count me in
Post #542 • May 19, 2005, 3:26 PM • 27 Comments
Despite generally not playing along with various list memes in the artblogosphere, I'll make an exception for this one.
Favorite painting in America: the Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo in the National Gallery of Art in D.C. I visited the NGA for the first time last year and this little jewel has stayed in my head ever since. As I learned from the Rijksmuseum, you can't put excellent paintings (Hals) next to superlative ones (Rembrandt) because the latter will make the former look like trifles. The Ginevra, all of 15 inches wide, occupies its own column in the center of a small gallery of Italian Renaissance paintings so that nothing else gets upstaged. It has details and modulations of surface that reward close examination, and graphic punch that can land on you from thirty feet back. Despite the Leonardo realism, it has a touch of geometric idealization that would have pleased Piero.
Favorite American painting: Brush and Comb by David Park, for which the scan below will have to suffice. Fairfield Porter once praised of Vuillard, "What he's doing seems ordinary, but the extraordinary is everywhere." This painting exemplifies that perfectly - Park has infused it with Himalayan grandeur while transforming brown into gold.