日期:2016-05-08 10:16


Trust your gut. In art, as in life,thinking is overrated. These are the unexpected messages vibrating from thesurface of a painting that has sparked considerable debate this week: a canvassalvaged from the damp rafters of a house near Toulouse in southwestern France.Sophisticated examinations are being carried out to determine whether thecontroversial painting – which depicts a gruesome scene of decapitation fromthe apocryphal Book of Judith – is likely a lost work by the Italian masterCaravaggio, and therefore worthy of a price tag north of $136million(?96million).Some specialists believe it to be authentic, and an export ban hasbeen placed on the painting to ensure it remains in France.

相信你的直觉。如同在生活中一样,思考在艺术上是被高估的。这些令人意想不到的信息从本周引发相当大争议的一幅画的画面中散发出来,该画是从法国西南部图卢兹(Toulouse)附近一所房子里潮湿的椽子之间抢救出来的。该画正被复杂严谨地鉴定,以确定这幅描绘了次经《犹滴书》(Book of Judith)中可怕的斩首场面是否真是意大利大师卡拉瓦乔(Caravaggio)的轶作,进而令其身价超过1亿3千6百万美元(合9千6百万英镑)。一些专家相信它是真迹,并且该画被设了出口禁令,以确保它留在法国。

The rift that the so-called “Caravaggio inthe attic” is creating among experts coincides with the 30-year anniversary ofa dust-up that rocked the art world in 1986, when the J Paul Getty Museum inLos Angeles, California provocatively unveiled a statue that was either atwo-and-a-half millennia-old masterwork or just a fake a few months’ old,depending on whom you believed. Placed side-by-side with the recentlydiscovered Judith Beheading Holofernes, the infamous marble sculpture known asthe Getty kouros offers a timely reminder of the power of instinct over eventhe most gritty and granular of scientific analyses.

这幅所谓“阁楼上的卡拉瓦乔”在专家间引起的分歧与三十年前的1986年轰动艺术界的一件事非常类似,当时位于加州洛杉矶的保罗盖蒂博物馆(J Paul Getty Museum)为一座雕像揭幕引发了争论,这座雕像要么是两千五百年前的真迹,要么是几个月前伪造的赝品,其真实年代完全取决于你到底相信谁的话。与最近发现的《犹滴割下何乐弗尼的头颅》放在一起,这座称为“盖蒂雕像”的声名狼藉的大理石像,及时提醒我们直觉的力量甚至比最细致入微的科学分析更胜一筹。

Without lifting the crudest magnifyingglass and without plugging in a single piece of cutting-edge reflectographyequipment, one can immediately detect the shared problem with both the Gettyforgery and the attribution to Caravaggio of the recovered canvas fromToulouse: they’re not beautiful. Those who initially defended dating the Gettystatue to “around 530 BC” (thus making the work one of only a dozen suchtreasures to have survived), pointed to the discovery of a calcite crust thathad formed on the marble – a patina that only great age could have wrought.Doubters, meanwhile, admitted into evidence the clumsy counterfeiting ofdocuments (some bearing impossible addresses) that accompanied the purchase ofthe statue for $9million (?6.3million) in 1985 and to the bizarre mish-mash ofstyles that appear to pit the braids of the subject’s hairagainst the contours of his hands and thighs, as if the confused work had beencarved by a tag-team of artists across different eras and regions.


But such deep analyses on both sidesoverlook the obvious: the statue lacks what the Romantic writers John Keats andWilliam Hazlitt called “gusto”: a chameleon power that no gizmo can empiricallymeasure and no amount of research can adequately plumb. A work of art eitherhas it or it doesn’t. The Getty kouros doesn’t. Nor, in my opinion, does theToulouse Judith – at least not to anything like the degree necessary to believethat the painting is by the same brush that slanted the shadows and ignitedwith soulful fire the expressions depicted in the scenes from the life ofMatthew in the Contarelli Chapel in Rome.

但是双方的这种深入分析忽略了显而易见的一点:这座雕像缺少浪漫主义作家约翰.济慈(John Keats)和威廉.赫兹里特(William Hazlitt)所说的“品味”(gusto):这种变幻莫测的力量,没有哪个发明能够凭着经验把它找出,也没有大量研究能够一探究竟,一件作品要么有品味要么没有。而盖蒂雕像没有。在我看来,图卢兹的犹滴也没有–至少没有达到让我有必要去相信该画与罗马肯塔瑞里小教堂(Contarelli Chapel)里描绘圣马太生平的画作来自同一画笔的程度,这支画笔令阴影倾斜,并且以灵魂之火点燃了这些场景中蕴涵的感情。

The figure of Judith is strangelynonplussed given the unpleasantness of the messy task at hand: the splurtybusiness of sawing through the neck of the drunk Assyrian general Holofernes,whom the widow suspects is plotting to destroy her home. Unlike a known versionof the same scene by Caravaggio in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, the compositionof the newly discovered canvas is disjointed and casts its awkward actors outof sync. Might it, I hear you ask, just be the work of Caravaggio on an offday? Now that didn’t feel right, did it?

不同于已知由卡拉瓦乔在罗马的巴贝里尼宫(Palazzo Barberini)绘制的同一场面,新发现作品的构图有些脱节,形象之间并不协调。你也许会问,是不是卡拉瓦乔不在状态?现在你会觉得有点不对劲,不是吗?从画面来看,考虑到行径的血腥场面,犹滴露出奇怪的茫然表情– 旁边的寡妇怀疑亚述将军何乐弗尼正密谋摧毁她的家,而她割进喝醉了的将军的脖子、鲜血喷溅而出。

  • scenen. 场,景,情景
  • sculpturen. 雕塑 vt. 雕刻,雕塑 vi. 当雕刻师
  • attributionn. 归因,归属,属性,特质
  • clumsyadj. 笨拙的,笨重的,不得体的
  • romanticadj. 浪漫的 n. 浪漫的人
  • sophisticatedadj. 诡辩的,久经世故的,精密的,老练的,尖端的
  • riftn. 裂口,隙缝,切口 v. 裂开,割开,渗入
  • confusedadj. 困惑的;混乱的;糊涂的 v. 困惑(confu
  • bizarreadj. 奇异的,怪诞的 n. 奇异花
  • marblen. 大理石 vt. 使有大理石的花纹