Eye to Eye: European Portraits 1450–1850

Michael Miller reviews Eye to Eye: European Portraits 1450–1850 at the Clark Art Institute, on view through March 27, 2011. The exhibition features an eclectic group of portraits from a single collection including works by Memling, Cranach, Parmigianino, Ribera, Rubens, Van Dyck and David, as well as lesser known painters such as Thomas de Keyser and Francesco Maria Rondani. Miller finds the portrait genre alien to our era when "digital imagery floods the world with millions of do-it-yourself images of girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, children, college buddies, bosses, polticians, and so forth ..." One senses that Miller also feels that careful art collecting is also endangered. He writes: "it won't take long for you to realize that the collector was more interested in the quality of each work of art per se, than in great names. The collector has acquired what he loves."