Ever since my very first exposure to it in 1979 as part of a Smithsonian Institution art-history seminar, one of my favorite art venues in Washington, DC, has been the venerable Phillips Collection, a few blocks east and perhaps a block south of the DuPont Circle DC Metro stop.
The Phillips Collection
There are many reasons for my respect and enthusiasm for “the Phillips,” but certainly one of the most salient reasons for my “evangelical” work on behalf of the Collection is that the Phillips houses Pierre Auguste Renoir’s great Luncheon of the Boating Party (hereafter Luncheon). (I refuse to call it, as some critics do, Boatman’s Lunch. Computers are expensive and I would rather not throw up on mine.) Aside from the sheer beauty of the painting itself, I enjoy watching others’
I urgently recommend that, in addition to reading today's "Skeptic's Collection" column, you also watch the 14 January 2018 episode of Madame Secretary ("Sound and Fury").
I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist nor any other type of mental-health professional. Consequently, I am unqualified to pronounce a clinical judgment on the mental health of President Donald Trump. My layman’s assessment – based on Bob Dylan’s “weatherman rule”: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” – is that Trump, at best, has some grave challenges, both emotional and cognitive, when dealing with stress, criticism, and adversity. (For the record, I also take exception to this morning's [11 January] New York Times editorial alleging that Trump's mental state is irrelevant. Mat
I don't want to stray into inspiration porn here, but there's something I find very striking about this painting. Andrew Wyeth used a real person, his neighbor in Maine, as his inspiration. We don't know for certain what her disability is, but it's clear that her mobility is severely limited. Apparently, she refused to use any kind of mobility aid for whatever reason, and at the time the painting was done, in 1948, I have a feeling that her options were limited to ones that didn't really do much to help her navigate her world. I can't figure out how she would have been able to get out of her house, much less go outside and do anything.
The technology is much further advanced in today's world, but so are the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing the ...