Two wholly unrelated events in the realm of the visual arts marked this winter season. Impossible not to have noticed one—the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi for nearly half a billion dollars. The oily, slug-like features of the Pantocrator even found their way onto T-shirts, a sure sign of success in the one process elevated to an art form by our consumer society: branding.

The other event, in sharp counterpoint to the da Vinci media circus, was the death of Eugene Victor...

 

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