While I was leafing through the catalogue for “The Draftsman’s Art: Master Drawings from the National Gallery of Scotland,” a phrase leaped out at me. In the introduction, Michael Clarke, Keeper of the National Gallery of Scotland, writes of the “intimacy of intuition and appreciation between creator and viewer.” Although Clarke was specifically describing how we experience Old Master drawings, his statement is applicable to all forms and epochs of art (provided, of course, that we’re speaking of good art: a necessary hedge in this age of slippery standards). That a museum curator should underline and, implicitly, honor the significance of aesthetics may not seem like a big deal—it goes with the job, right? Yet the obviousness of Clarke’s statement shouldn’t shield us from its truth or rarity. In an age when art is too often an adjunct of fashion requiring only a token nod of approval, the reaffirmation of...

 
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