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There has always been another image of Leonardo, one that associated him with hidden things, esoteric knowledge beyond common perceptions.
In 2019, a small painting found in the kitchen of an elderly Frenchwoman sold at auction for almost 27 million dollars.
A small gold-ground panel painting has been brought out of storage and placed upon an easel for my viewing in a curatorial office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this provisional display, this painting stimulates reflections about the historical spiritual imagination.
At first glance, Mystic Nativity looks like any number of Renaissance representations of the birth of Christ. At second glance, the work becomes more unsettling and its mystical characteristics come to the fore
A 500-year-old painting of a man praying to nothing (or at least nothing visible) lingered in storage at the Princeton University Art Museum. Chief Conservator Bart Devolder and I got talking. Something had to be missing.
Sometime in the late 1500s an unnamed artist set out to paint a replica of the Shroud of Turin for King Philip II of Spain.
The printed black rectangle, representing a pair of cloth pendants seen and unseen, provides a key for understanding this mass-produced ancien régime image: its enacted uses, and its affective powers.
The term mysticism leaves most art-world insiders cold for several obvious reasons. That category of experience is commonly taken to mean perception beyond the norm, thus a claim to higher sensory and cognitive powers.
Roger Cardinal coined the term outsider in 1972, using examples of European art, and specifically the work of psychiatric hospital patients collected by the artist Jean Dubuffet under the heading of Art Brut.