“Holbein: Capturing Character” is up at the Morgan Library, and notwithstanding the reductive title, the show is a testament to the age of European humanism, and specifically to Hans Holbein’s role in painting its most prominent personalities.
There are at least two poles in Lennart Anderson’s work, poles that you see him gravitating towards and veering away from throughout his life: Anderson the dogged and humble observer of nature, but also Anderson the formal constructor and inventor.
We care less now about the subjects than the paintings, which reaffirm that the business of commissioned portraiture—historically treated as a second-level endeavor—was capable of producing breathtaking stuff, art of the first rank.
Kollwitz’s art was both a response to the suffering of others and a processing of personal experience. For Kollwitz, character born of hardship was indistinguishable from—lo, was the necessary source of—beauty.