Dim Sum and da Vinci

Sunday, March 30th, 2003 | Art

Big Chris and I met Su-Chen for dim sum at Ton Kiang this morning, and then visited da Vinci’s Lady with the Ermine at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. It’s part of an exhibition called “The Splendor of Poland,” which includes many paintings from the Polish court which fail to illuminate anything close to splendor, except for an exceptional early work by Ingres which indeed splendidly depicts a man’s torso, connected to a gorgeous face no less, with a full head of wavy hair and wispy mutton chops. The flesh is like butter, translucent and soft, melting, but also with a solid muscularity. The other paintings just disappeared from memory, though, upon encountering the da Vinci. Were the Palace of the Legion of Honor my museum, I would put the one painting on display by itself and allow one person at a time to spend an hour with it. The tension is in its simultaneous perfection and awkwardness.

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