The exhibition “Dosso Dossi, Court Painter in Renaissance Ferrara” comes as a delightful surprise.[1] It is delightful in showing for the first time a marvelous and somewhat eccentric painter. It is a surprise because he has never been on the roster of artists famous enough to be exhibited. To be sure, we do not limit exhibitions to the Picassos, but also do them for the Delaunays, not only for the mass audience of van Gogh but also for the somewhat fewer connoisseurs of Bonnard, who then surprises and pleases a large audience. Yet we rarely extend our appreciation of a Renaissance artist like Titian to the next level of Dosso, whom the Metropolitan’s director describes as among the “slightly lesser geniuses.” (It’s an odd phrase, but we know what he means.) A note on his name: the artist’s given name was Giovanni Luteri, but he was known by the nickname Dosso, derived from his...


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