Everyone in the Nashville area, if you haven't been down to see the Rau Collection at the State Museum, it's closing next weekend adn you should really try to get down and see it. The collection has an El Greco, a Cezanne, and multiple Monets and Pissaros, but I think the greatest pleasures are in the paintings by people you haven't heard or don't usually give much thought to. The German section of the show had a couple of those for me: a Cranach version of a round-faced Judith holding Holofernes' head with two sweet attending maidens, and Judith seems to have a hat that doubles as a red halo - not sure what that means; or a painting by someone named Jakob Strub that scatters martyred legionnaires on the throny branches of trees. I was talking to Bob Durham about the show, and he was really into a couple of the older Italian portraits, one was an anonymous painting of an old woman, with text added to the painting describing who she was (a cook and a chambermaid). Some of what got Bob about these paintings was the technical means with which the flesh of the portrait is conjured up.
I'm told that attendance has really picked up the last few weeks, which is good to hear. The paintings ought to be seen, and the people at the State Museum deserve the satisfaction of getting a good response to their efforts to bring the show here.
The show's last day is this Sunday, Jan. 15.