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"Pompeo Batoni: Prince of Painters in Eighteenth-Century Rome"

Travel back in time with Pompeo Batoni's tourist portraits

Richard Miles's velvet cape was, no doubt, an Italian purchase.
Courtesy of MFAH
Richard Miles's velvet cape was, no doubt, an Italian purchase.

Details

Through January 27.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300.

Batoni's careful compositions, appropriately symbolic objects, detailed renderings of his subject's fashionable dress and tactful likenesses remind us of the time when craft dominated painting. The advent of photography rendered painted portraits superfluous, and today's version of the "Grand Tour" is much more democratic, involving backpacks and Eurail passes. But some things don't change — tourists still like to have their pictures taken...

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