‘Pre-Raphaelites’ at National Gallery of Art

You won’t see much in the way of great paintings, but you will probably have a great — which is to say, entertaining and edifying — time. Perhaps inadvertently this show usefully parses the difference between quality and influence, reveals much about visual culture today and even provides a yardstick by which to gauge your own sophistication.

If you are genuinely interested in art and emerge from this show thinking that you have seen scores of outstanding paintings, you should spend more time studying other examples. For comparison the galleries adjacent to this exhibition contain two outstanding works by the Pre-Raphaelites’ French contemporaries, Eduard Manet’s “Dead Toreador” (probably 1864) and Paul Cézanne’s portrait of his father reading a newspaper (1866). Consider the simplicity, directness and mysteries of these paintings against the moralizing and endless intricacies of the Pre-Raphaelites. It

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/arts/design/pre-raphaelites-at-national-gallery-of-art.html?pagewanted=all

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