Someday you might make it to Paris and feast your eyes on the great works of the Louvre. Or you could just go to Minneapolis. Beginning in October, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will exhibit "The Louvre and the Masterpiece," 62 works of art from the world's greatest museum, spanning 4,000 years of human culture, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to paintings by da Vinci and Vermeer. The exhibit isn't just a grab bag of greatest hits, it's also a thoughtful seminar on the concept of a "masterpiece." The paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and drawings are meant to illustrate three broad themes: what makes a masterpiece, the art of connoisseurship, and how tastes have changed throughout history, with examples of artists, like Vermeer, who were once obscure but are now revered. If that all sounds a bit too much like college art-history class, just stop reading the wall text and look.
Oct. 18-Jan. 10, 2009