February 11, 2006
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Getty

The Getty is, indeed, an impressive museum. A fine collection, extravagantly housed and beautifully mounted.

The wall signs are written for visitors without much attention span. Do we really need to pump up Bouguereau as a controversial painter? The claim, as far as I understand it, is that he's controversial in the way all beaux-artes painters became controversial: his opponents converted him. And then there's the photograph caption that mixes up enormousness and enormity.

But there are still the paintings, like this wonderful Sweerts portrait from 1654, which still looks fresh and photographic and I've seen this woman in Belgium.