a splendid resetting of the compass


The new installation reveals itself in complex, unforced ways like a cosmos of multitudes blossoming before our ­astonished, grateful eyes. I saw indefinable essences I’d never seen before on each trip. But I wanted to put the installation to the test. Rather than taking the new paths that will be most traveled—the glorious trails that take us through the flowerings of Florentine or Sienese Renaissances; or the ones that lead us through Netherlandish and Northern painting to the Dutch—­including the endorphin-releasing gallery containing five of Vermeer’s 36 known paintings, works that alight on your body like tender healing mercies—I took the Goya-to-­Gainsborough route that used to perplex me. Now, after Tiepolo’s convoluting space, you can go straight to sixteenth-century Rome. A wall of four large works by lesser-known Panini has views of Rome: shrewdly conceived spatial arrangements that give us Roman collectors and dealers packaging their ancient and contemporary wares and ruins for the moneyed English tourists then making their way to Italy. This gallery has two more entry points. Take one and you see artists doing a similar thing to Venice. Canaletto’s vertiginous organized space hypnotizes; Guardi’s traffic jams on the Grand Canal are muddy and mouthwatering. Look at these paintings; recall the hotel you stayed in; point it out to whoever’s beside you; you will both feel like citizens of the world.

more from Jerry Saltz at New York Magazine here.