Rendez-vous with Art, Phillippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford, 2014 

Gayford, a British art critic and de Montebello, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC from 1977-2008, visit some of the leading museums of the world, chatting about art in general, specific works, and museums.  The result is a charming, informative, and fascinating view into the mind of one of the leading art historians and museum directors of our time.  Gayford is a bit over-awed and a fine ‘yes man’, but it works.  Through their strolls in Florence (Santa Croce, Brancacci Chapel, the Borgello, the Baptistry, Pitti Palace), the Met (Duccio’s Maddonna and Child, jasper lips from Egypt), London (Wallace Collection, British Museum), Paris (The Louvre, Musee Guimet, Branley, ), Madrid (Prado), Rotterdam (Boijmans) and the Hague (Maritshuis), De Montebello holds forth about what makes great art (authenticity:  the very one before which the explosive force of his creative genius transformed pigment into a miracle of painterly versimilitude) and how to observe it (art requires attentive viewing and immersion.  It must be deciphered and decoded.  There is a right and wrong distance to view a picture before it becomes a mere image—physical presence, a quality of the object, paint surface, intervention of the artist.).  Favorite artists (Titian and Velasquez are #1 and #2 followed by Poussin, Chardin, Saenredam (who?), Goya, ) and museum curatorship, organization, mission, etc are discussed intelligently.  This is another fine effort by Gayford.