Peter Paul Rubens

A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Rubens in London

Titian, Rembrandt, and who? Several years ago I read an assessment of Peter Paul Rubens in the New Yorker which called him "history’s chief painter’s painter," while snatching back the compliment in the next breath, dubbing him "the leading pictorial decorator, propagandist, and entertainer for a Catholic Europe." Since depreciation is more fun than appreciation, the magazine's art critic says, of Rubens' female nudes, "all that smothering flesh, vibrantly alive but with the erotic appeal of a mud slide." As zingers go, here's another goodie: "Nor do Rubens’s characters appear significantly more intelligent than his farm animals."

Arnulf Rainer: der Übermaler, Alte Pinakothek (Munich), closed September 5th, 2010

I have long deemed Munich’s Alte Pinakothek one of the most underrated museums in Europe. Thanks to aristocratic connoisseurs like William IV, Maximilian I, and Ludwig I, the city now boasts an outstanding collection of Renaissance, Dutch, and Flemish masterpieces. The museum is well complimented by Alexander Freiherr von Branca’s Neue Pinakothek and Stephan Braunfels’s Pinakothek der Moderne since 2002. In fact, these robust institutions have allowed Munich’s Kunstareal to rise above the current economic crisis as promising young talent finds a slow but steady stream of patrons.
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