In the summer of 1935, Mr. John Grierson asked me to write a chorus for the conclusion of a G.P.O. documentary film called Coal-Face. My chorus, he told me, would be set by a brilliant young composer he had hired to work for him, called Benjamin Britten.
“Ennion: Master of Roman Glass” was the Metropolitan Museum’s first ancient glass exhibit. This lovely small show presented the work of Ennion, the best-known glassmaker of antiquity. During his career in the first century AD, Ennion’s wares decorated the homes of Rome’s upper and middle classes from Jerusalem to Venice. The show is a welcome reminder of just how keen the Romans were about precious glassware—easy to forget, since so little of it survives.
When we see things for the first time, the pictures are always a surprise. Nature’s imagination is richer than ours. We imagine things to be simple and Nature makes them complicated. In Expanding Universe, a magnificent selection of pictures taken by cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope, the big surprise is dust.
This, said we in our heart, is the true method which must become popular in the United States—which must supplant the stale, second-hand, foreign method, with its flourishes, its ridiculous sentimentality, its anti-republican spirit, and its sycophantic influence, tainting the young taste of the republic.
“Like Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo worked in many different fields of art,” Anthony Grafton writes in the New York Review’s May 7 issue. He produced some of the most handsome and dignified religious paintings of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. But he also crafted “startlingly vivid portraits of individuals and strangely evocative images of religious objects.” The works included in the exhibition “Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence” at the National Gallery “open up a world of ravishing visual interest.” We present here a series of Piero’s works, with commentary drawn from Grafton’s review.