“Masterworks from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
October 27, 1992—January 17, 1993

On a recent Saturday, the line for the Magritte show at the Metropolitan stretched from the exhibition’s entrance through the Michael Rockefeller Wing and down the full length of the corridor with the Cypriot sculptures and Pompeiian frescos. There was no line to enter “Masterworks from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille.” Admittedly, it was the last weekend of the Magritte exhibit, while the works from Lille remain on view through mid-January, but if the aim of those patiently queuing had been aesthetic experience, they could have saved themselves a long wait. Admirers of Magritte’s technique would have found real standards for bravura paint handling in Rubens’s dazzling Descent from the Cross (1616-17). Enthusiasts for the psychological implications...

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