Ingrid D. Rowland is a Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Her new book, The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art, cowritten with Noah Charney, will be published in October.
 (May 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Robert B. Silvers (1929–2017)

Robert B. Silvers in his office at The New York Review of Books, early 1980s
Until I arrived at the Review as an editorial assistant, I had never met anyone who so rarely engaged in idle pleasantries as Bob. His daily language was pared down, accurate, and sincere. I found his example revelatory, and I would ponder his usage and elisions like a giddy college freshman. Bob would never, for instance, wish us a good weekend. Presumably he had no particular investment in the quality of our weekends, and possibly he didn’t even know when his assistants’ weekends were, since we took turns working Saturday and Sunday shifts with him. But was he also, I wondered, rejecting the implied value of a good weekend? Is the goal of leisure time pleasure? Edification? Novel experience? If we couldn’t settle on criteria, we couldn’t possibly arrive at a valuation, in which case why bother asking on Monday morning how someone’s weekend had been?

The Virtuoso of Compassion

Caravaggio: The Seven Acts of Mercy, 1607

Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, October 7, 2016–January 22, 2017; and the Musée du Louvre, Paris, February 20–May 22, 2017

Beyond Caravaggio

an exhibition at the National Gallery, London, October 12, 2016–January 15, 2017; the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, February 11–May 14, 2017; and the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, June 17–September 24, 2017
Two museums, London’s National Gallery and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, mounted exhibitions in the fall of 2016 with the title “Beyond Caravaggio,” proof that the foul-tempered, short-lived Milanese painter (1571–1610) still has us in his thrall. The New York show, “Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio,” concentrated its attention …

The Long Reach of Rome

‘Jupiter and Juno’; a detail from Annibale Carracci’s ceiling at the Palazzo Farnese, Rome, 1597–1604

The Genesis of Roman Architecture

by John North Hopkins

Art of Empire: The Roman Frescoes and Imperial Cult Chamber in Luxor Temple

edited by Michael Jones and Susanna McFadden
In 2010, archaeologists exploring a garden on Rome’s Capitoline Hill discovered the remains of an ancient votive deposit, a pit full of broken objects that had once been consecrated to the gods: offerings, pieces of architectural decoration, things too holy simply to throw away without risking a curse. Instead, the …

The Mystery of Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch: The Wayfarer, circa 1500–1510

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius

an exhibition at Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, February 13–May 8, 2016

Bosch: The Fifth Centenary Exhibition

an exhibition at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, May 31–September 11, 2016
His imagination ranged from a place beyond the spheres of Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell, but for many of his earliest admirers the most striking aspect of his art was what they described as its “truth to nature.”

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An Island in a Cold Sea

Migrants who have arrived by boat from North Africa at the port in Lampedusa, March 27, 2011

As Donald Trump denies entry to the already small number of pre-screened refugees the US had agreed to accept—among them Syrian and Iraqi families fleeing terrorism who have been carefully vetted and approved by the UN Refugee agency and by the US Department of Homeland Security—Europeans face a far more dire situation: the hundreds of thousands of desperate people from North Africa and the Middle East, who, without any UN help, are attempting to reach their shores. This is the focus of the haunting documentary Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea).

Breakfast in the Ruins

In September 2015, the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles acquired the first photographs ever taken of Palmyra, the great trading oasis in the heart of the Syrian desert. With a history that extends back nearly four thousand years, Palmyra has risen and fallen many times. The worst destruction, certainly, was inflicted between June and September of 2015 by the militants of the Islamic State, who obliterated the ancient buildings amid accusations of paganism and idolatry.

From Aeschylus to the EU

Moni Ovadia's production of Aeschylus’s The Suppliants in Syracuse, Sicily, June, 2015

What is its greater contribution to humanity at large: Greek theater or double-entry bookkeeping? Aeschylus or Keynes? This summer, in the ancient Greek theater of Syracuse in Sicily, Aeschylus’s The Suppliants, one of the world’s most ancient plays, turned out to be one of the world’s most timely, in the hands of an Italian actor-director who was once an immigrant himself, Moni Ovadia.

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