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Gopnik's Daily Pic: Fragonard's sacred heat

By Blake Gopnik

The latest feed from my morning musings about art and objects at

(Courtesy the Baltimore Museum of Art)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard's "Rest on the Flight into Egypt," from circa 1750, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. (The Daily Pic will dawdle in its permanent collection for the rest of this week.) It's a tiny picture that has a big emotional affect.

We don't much think of Fragonard as a religious painter, but he makes perfect sense as one. There's a rich tradition of plangent, slightly overheated sacred art that treats the spirit as flesh - think Correggio and Barocci, among others. You could even argue that Fragonard's most rakish work depends on its blush-cheeked sacred precedents.

By Blake Gopnik  | November 2, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Blake Gopnik, Museums  | Tags:  Daily Pic  
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