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Video transcript

in the Robert leamon collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and one of the most wonderful places to see art in New York one can imagine oneself as a collector well it is a kind of representation of his domestic environment where he put his painting collection okay and we're standing in front of one of the real masterpieces in New York and certainly of this collection by Jean Auguste Dominique Angra and it's a painting that's called the princess de Broglie and it dates to about 1853 it's very late for Agra it's in fact I think it's his last Society portrait and it's one of his most important and one of his most beautiful I think when I look at this I feel like it's almost impossible to believe that this was made by hand in the era of Photoshop first of all you can't see any brushwork if there's a total perfection to the surface so let's take a look I mean one of the most striking aspects of the painting for my eyes is that cool icy blue dress the textures of the satin are so brilliantly rendered that you get this sense that I could almost hear it as the cloth pulls against itself or if she were to move and walk we could hear what that sounds like and it rustled and it almost feels like she is moving a little bit she's amazingly alive what I think is up to to some extent is contrasting the clarity and precision of that cloth against the softness of the skin which has a kind of in determinants in a very characteristic anger a there's something a little bit funny about the body and something a little bit funny about the way that the flesh is model if you look at her left forearm there should be more modeling there to indicate the arms three dimensionality and there's no musculature right there's no musculature there's no sense of bone no definition right at first when you look at the painting there's no sense of this but when you start to really look more closely there's something dislocated about the upper part of the arm from the forearm and from the shoulder the shoulder something very long long gated about the wrist and even though Aang is so amazing in terms of he's a master of anatomy right yes he's really decided to take some liberties here in the pursuit perhaps of some sort of ideal of perfection and beauty so that's interesting that body doesn't have to be in any other position so he can actually idealize this particular position by varies deftly and very subtly of transforming her skeletal structure really look at the length of the neck for instance right I mean it's just a little bit longer than one would expect her face is beautiful but her eyes are just a little larger than we would expect and she gazes out with a kind of intensity a kind of forlorn poetic quality that speaks to her aristocratic position because she doesn't look at us I don't think I think she almost looks past us or maybe a little talent at us perhaps perhaps even then yeah