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Misreading Chardin

Is there a conspiracy to prevent the public from learning how to look at paintings?

By Susannah Fiennes   April 2000

There seems to be a conspiracy between the art media and museum curators to prevent the public from learning how to look at paintings. Is it not their responsibility to help us to understand the true purpose of the artist in each painting?

Criticising the inadequate way in which the press and the National Gallery presented the Rembrandt self-portrait exhibition (August, Prospect), I argued that their speculation about why Rembrandt liked dressing up in different hats, combined with a vacuous CD commentary on the paintings, did nothing to further our understanding of the complex pictorial language Rembrandt used to represent…

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