Thursday, March 17, 2011

Renaissance Man: The Passing of Leo Steinberg

[The See/Saw Contest for Japan Continues; see the end of this post]I never met the man or even heard him speak, but hearing that art historian and author Leo Steinberg passed away last Sunday at the age of 90 made me feel like I had lost a friend—or more accurately, an influence and ideal to live up to in my own writing. Steinberg’s 1983 book, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, turned my head around and exploded it as if it were trapped in a Cubist painting. The boldness and brightness of his mind captured me immediately, but it was his felicitous writing style full of verve and joy that made me want to be a better writer and a writer about art as something that was truly a life and death matter. Although Steinberg (shown above) wrote about the Renaissance, his knowledge of art reached beyond into the distant past and the near future—making him a true Renaissance man and his passing a true loss, and a moment for reflection. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Renaissance Man."

[A REQUEST AND A CONTEST: Please consider making a donation to help the people of Japan. Some of the organizations doing good in that terrible situation are Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross. Please consider helping in some way. And if you do send a donation, mention it in the comments to this or any other post and I’ll put your name in a contest to win a copy of See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now by Ivan Vartanian and Kyoko Wada (my review here). Honor rules apply, so you do not need to send “proof” of a donation. Also, the contest is open only to U.S. residents (but anyone can donate, of course). Contest ends at midnight EDT on April 1, 2011 and a name will be pulled from a hat the next day.]

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