Judith H. Dobrzynski
Judith H. Dobrzynski
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Masterpiece: A Powerful Symbol of a Lost Civilization
Experts know little about the 5,000-year-old 'Sleeping Lady,' discovered in a Neolithic burial ground in Malta.

September 16, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

When construction workers accidentally uncovered a Neolithic burial ground in Malta in 1902, they stumbled upon quite a site. Dating from around 4000 to 2500 B.C., the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is a labyrinthine underground complex, decorated with red ocher spiral and honeycomb wall paintings and cut with bays, windows, carved roof supports and other architectural features mimicking those of contemporaneous above-ground temples. Inside, archaeologists discovered many artifacts and human bones, some amid ocher deposits, as if to represent blood.

Unesco, which in 1980 added the Hypogeum to its World Heritage list, calls it "one of the best preserved and most extensive environments that have survived from the Neolithic."

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Why does contemporary art make for wildly popular blockbusters?
And what are the consequences?

June 19, 2017  •  Aeon

For Americans who love art by the likes of Hans Holbein, Édouard Manet, Georges Braque and Paul Klee, dark times lie ahead. Each one is a brilliant artist, but none is a household name like Claude Monet or Pablo Picasso. After years of declining public arts education, only the most high-profile artists are recognised by the general public, capable of luring people to see their art in museums. And that spells trouble for artists of the past.

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Masterpiece: A Pieta of Unspeakable Grief and Unimaginable Restraint
Enguerrand Quarton's 'Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon' is considered the greatest artwork of 15th-century France.

June 10, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

Standing before the painting known as the "Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon," visitors to the Louvre witness the heartbreaking moment when the bruised body of Jesus Christ, having been taken down from the cross, has been given to his mother.

It is a common scene, rendered by hundreds of artists in thousands of ways over the centuries, with those by Giotto, Michelangelo and Annibale Carracci among the most renowned. This one, painted by Enguerrand Quarton (c. 1410-1466), would surely be as celebrated had it not been hidden in a dark, provincial chapel, its creator unknown and then disputed, for so long.

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Review: A Panorama of Panoramas
'Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe'

May 17, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

Los Angeles

Compared with the earlier glories of Renaissance and Baroque art, and later the high points of the 19th century and Modernism, 18th-century European art generally ranks low among art connoisseurs. The one category that is much loved by the public—those highly detailed, recognizable cityscapes and architectural vistas by Canaletto , Giovanni Paolo Panini and other, mostly Italian, artists—was disdained by the academy. They were dismissed as the postcards of their day, souvenirs for travelers on the Grand Tour.

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Artfully Buttoned Up
Artist Ran Hwang Finds Meaning in Discarded Buttons, Which She Fashions into Mesmerizing Artworks

April 2017  •  Traditional Home

In the hands of Ran Hwang, buttons and straight pins turn into works of art. She painstakingly pounds tens of thousands—even a million—of them into panels to create plum blossoms, phoenixes, the Buddha, Korean rooftops, and other exquisite wall compositions and multimedia installations that are coveted by collectors like Roger Federer, the Brooklyn Museum, and Robert J. Hurst, chairman of the Whitney Museum's executive committee.

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