It has been obligatory for some time now, in reviewing ambitious art exhibitions, to deplore the blockbuster. Now it seems almost as much a cliché to praise those exhibitions that tend the other way by giving us intimate displays of less famous works. A case where such praise is genuinely due is the recent exhibition of the Neapolitan painter Bernardo Cavallino (1616-1656) at the Cleveland Museum of Art.[1]

The Italian Baroque, which Cavallino exemplifies, is in fashion, especially among the buyers for museums. It is the usual story of an art that has long been overlooked or rejected as dull being revived—and then bought and sold at steeply rising prices. So perhaps it should not have seemed surprising that the symposium which the Cleveland Museum arranged to mark the Cavallino exhibition was attended by scholar-dealers from several countries and even some...


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