An artist imagines a kingdom, builds it from the ground up, and invites us to explore the sights, take in the view. There have been times when artists formed alliances with real princes and kings, and imaginary kingdoms came close to being realities—Bernini’s Rome is perhaps the most famous example. More often, however, the most that even a great artist can hope for is to present us with the pieces of that imaginary kingdom: paintings, sculptures, drawings that represent partial views, particular sights. Since the beginning of the Romantic Age, all the artist’s kingdoms have been shattered and fragmentary, and the fascination of the artist’s studio has been that it has seemed to be not only a workplace but also a place where lucky visitors could get a glimpse of the kingdom to come. Who doesn’t enjoy looking at photographs of artists’ studios? The details that a photographer picks out—arrangements of brushes and...


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