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

Latest Articles

Masterpiece: Detonating the Nuclear Family
Degas's 'Bellelli Family' is an unusually candid depiction of tensions, emotions and alienation.

August 8, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

It's called "The Bellelli Family" or simply "Family Portrait," but neither title does the painting justice. Begun by Edgar Degas in August 1858, likely finished the following year, and revised around 1867, the large canvas is actually a complex, unusually candid depiction of the tensions, emotions and alienation within a nuclear family. Had this breakthrough work been well known before Degas died in 1917—when it was still in his possession—he might be just as renowned today for this youthful triumph as he is for the brilliant pastels of ballet dancers from his mature years.

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Inspiration at Home: Gardens of Earthy Delights
Artists' gardens have served as refuge, inspiration and subject matter; many welcome visitors both digitally and in person.

July 30, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

Since ancient days, artists have portrayed gardens as their main subject or as a setting; as a metaphor or for close observation; as a prism to study light or seasonal change. Many had their own little Edens. Leonardo da Vinci drew botanicals during his years at the Château du Clos Lucé and garden in Amboise, France, and when he died there, in 1519, he still owned the vineyard in Milan that had been given to him by Duke Ludovico Il Moro.Gustave Caillebotte created an impressive garden in the Paris suburbs, where he entertained Pierre Renoir and Claude Monet, the latter of whom obsessively painted his own gardens at Giverny, 45 miles northwest of Paris.

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High Museum in Atlanta will open for child summer art camps in June
School-aged visitors will have the run of the institution for a month before it opens to others

June 4, 2020  •  The Art Newspaper

Children—not members, not the public—will be the first visitors when the High Museum in Atlanta reopens on June 8. They'll be coming to participate in its summer art camps, which lets children from the first to the eight grades explore the galleries and create their own art. "They'll take over the entire museum," said Rand Suffolk, the museum's director, for an entire month.

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Icons: A Digital Afterlife for Dime Novels
A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will enable librarians to preserve books that were never meant to last.

May 30, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

Dime novels sold by the millions from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. These tales of adventure and the American West, of life at war and at sea, of romance and rags-to-riches heroes, were available at newsstands, train stations, dry goods stores and by subscription, for 10 cents or even less.

They and their newspaper-format cousin, known as story papers, were printed on cheap paper and never meant to last. At the time, libraries sniffed at them as mass entertainment and didn't stock them. Some 60,000 titles were published, and they survive mainly thanks to private collectors who later gave or sold them to academic institutions, including the Library of Congress.

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Masterpiece: Feasting on a Delicious Pastel
Jean-Étienne Liotard's 'The Chocolate Girl' is a technically flawless aesthetic triumph of the medium.

May 23, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

When the art connoisseur Francesco Algarotti saw a pastel called "The Chocolate Girl" (c. 1744) in Venice in 1745, he immediately wanted to acquire it from the artist, Jean-Étienne Liotard, for King August III of Saxony. The king loved pastels—especially those by Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), a Venetian artist internationally renowned for hers—and was building a unique chamber in his Dresden palace for works in this light-sensitive medium.

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