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Michelangelo’s Broken Nose

by Leticia Marie Sanchez 

In light of the Getty Center‘s new exhibit, Michelangelo, Mind of the Master, an insight into the maestro that first appeared on Cultural Cocktail Hour a few years ago:

As a teenager, Michelangelo Buonarroti suffered a blow at the hands of a green-eyed bully.

Two different accounts of the story exist. In Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, Pietro Torrigiano, an artist studying with Michelangelo under the patronage of Lorenzo De ‘Medici, grew jealous of Michelangelo’s undeniable talent. Resentful of his former pal’s new status as teacher’s pet, Torrigiano delivered a blow that knocked the 15-year-old genius out cold.

In the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Torrigiano defended himself by saying that Michelangelo was teasing the other artists working in the Church of the Carmine. He admitted the viciousness of his attack: “I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave.” 

Torrigiano should have taken Anger Managment 15th Century style: I’m sorry I Baroque a Friend’s Nose.

Instead, Torrigano continued on a temper tantrum-filled path that eventually led him to prison. Not just any prison.

A Spanish holding cell established by the black-robed goons of the Inquisition. Woops. Torrigiano had become so enraged at a miserly payment for his sculpture of the Virgin that he smashed his Madonna to smithereens. Let’s just say that the fanatical judges did not crack up at the crack up.

As for Michelangelo, he carried more with him to the grave than a broken nose. He has bequeathed the world everlasting art brimming with humanity, majesty, and passion.

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Michelangelo: Mind of the Master at the Getty Center – MUST SEE Exhibit

Last judghement context

Review: Michelangelo: Mind of the Master-

 Must SEE Exhibit

February 25-June 7, 2020 

Getty Center


Leticia Marie Sanchez

What does it mean to be a genius? Artists throughout history have sought to mythologize their own personas, creating an aura of mystique around their identities as divinely inspired individuals. As part his self-created flamboyant persona, Salvador Dalí drove a cauliflower-stuffed Rolls Royce and showed up to a surrealistic exhibit dressed head-to-toe in scuba gear.

In Michelangelo’s case, the Renaissance maestro tragically destroyed the majority of his 28,000 drawings so that the public would not realize that he had struggled for his art; Michelangelo preferred that people believed that his breathtaking masterpieces, like the frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling, were works that he created spontaneously.


On several occasions, Michelangelo ordered his drawings to be burned. His biographer Giorgio Vasari noted that Michelangelo made this decision “so that no one should see the labors he endured and the ways he tested his genius, and lest he should appear less than perfect.”

Image Left: Striding Male Nude, and Anatomical Details, 1504 or 1506, Michelangelo Buonarroti, black chalk with white heightening. Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Purchased in 1790. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem EX.2020.1.3

Out of more than 28,000 drawings by Michelangelo, only 600 survived his intent to destroy them. Currently on view at the Getty are twenty-eight drawings that reveal the artistic process behind masterpieces including The Sistine Ceiling, The Last Judgement, and The Holy Family. Most of the surviving sketches hail from the collection of the 17th century monarch, Queen Christina of Sweden, an arts enthusiast who abdicated the throne and moved to Rome where she built an impressive art collection. The collection of Michelangelo’s drawings was then housed in the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands and have been there since 1791. The Michelangelo exhibit was organized by the Teylers Museum in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. At the Getty, this exhibit was curated by Julian Brooks, Senior Curator Of Drawings and Edina Adam, Assistant Curator of Drawings.

Julian Brooks

At left: Julian Brooks, Senior Curator of Drawings at the J.Paul Getty Museum

What makes this exhibit a MUST-SEE is the fact that the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s drawings is, as stated by J. Paul Getty Director Timothy Potts, “a once-in-a-lifetime experience. According to Potts, this collection is on view for the first time in the United States as many of these drawings have never left Europe. The surviving works have to be rationed in terms of their exposure to light.


Image Above:

Four Studies of a Left Leg (verso) 1515–20, Michelangelo Buonarroti, red chalk, retraced with pen and brown ink. Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Purchased in 1790. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem EX. 2020.1.23

The exhibit allows one to explore Michelangelo’s work as a painter, sculptor, and architect. One can view his detailed anatomical sketches: Michelangelo studied dissected corpses to better understand the underlying muscles.

Sistine chapel

In terms of the curatorial conception, the monumental transportive atmosphere evoked by vivid replicas on the exhibit walls makes one feel as though one has traveled to Italy to the iconic sites created by Michelangelo.

sculpture replica

Surrounded by immense replicas of The Creation Of Adam, The Last Judgement, and The Medici Chapel Tombs one can view the intricacy in the individual drawings of Michelangelo on display, tiny pieces of a massive artistic jigsaw puzzle in the context of his epic works.

Photo Left: Replica of the Medici Chapel, Florence at the Getty Center

Hand of God

For instance, on view in front of the glorious replica of The Creation of Adam is Michelangelo’s drawing of the leg of God.

Having the ability to view this micro level of detail first hand at the Getty and the labor intensive process behind such large-scale works underscores how mind-boggling it is that Michelangelo completed the entire Sistine Ceiling fresco cycle in only four years.

And let’s not forget that Michelangelo was also a master architect and took on the project of St. Peter’s Basilica when he was 72 years old. At the Getty, one can also view Michelangelo’s drawings for the cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica towards the end of the exhibit. Seeing that drawing in the context of his drawings for painting and sculpture makes one realize that we have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delving into the mind of this quintessential Renaissance Man.

CCH Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez interviewed Julian Brooks about Michelangelo’s fierce privacy when it came to protecting his drawings from the public eye. Some of Michelangelo’s drawings were stolen during his lifetime by sculptors who broke into his Florence studio. In addition to not wanting to dispel the myth of spontaneous divinely inspired genius, Brooks suggested that a second reason for Michelangelo’s burning of his own drawings had to do with intellectual property concerns; he did not want another artist to copy any of his works. Seeing the labor of love, the intense detail, and the meticulous level of anatomical study, we realize that even if a lesser artist had been able to get their hands on his drawings, they would never have been able to recreate one of his masterpieces: after all, there is only one Michelangelo.

Photo Left: Third Image, Leg of God from the Creation of Adam

[Image at Top of Article: Wall Replica of Michelangelo's The Last Judgement at the Getty Center]

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“A Winter Walk” by Henry David Thoreau

Winter Walk 2

“A Winter Walk” by Henry David Thoreau

“It is invigorating to breathe the cleansed air. Its greater fineness and purity are visible to the eye, and we would fain stay out long and late, that the gales may sigh through us, too, as through the leafless trees, and fit us for the winter,—as if we hoped so to borrow some pure and steadfast virtue, which will stead us in all seasons.”

Photo:  © 2020 Leticia Marie Sanchez 

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In the News: Missing Klimt painting discovered in the wall of Italian art gallery

In the News: Missing Klimt painting discovered in the wall of Italian art gallery


Leticia Marie Sanchez

portrait of a lady by klimt

The long-lost “Portrait of a Lady” by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt was found hidden in a wall of the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in Piacenza. The gallery announced that experts deemed the painting to be an authentic work by Klimt. Unbelievably, while gardeners were cleaning ivy off a wall, they discovered the Art Nouveau painting concealed by a trash bag. How the painting ended up in the wall remains a mystery. Presumed to have been stolen, the painting disappeared from the gallery during a building renovation in 1997. Adding to the mystery, the painting’s frame was discovered near the gallery’s skylight after the work vanished, leading some to believe that art thieves could have entered and left through the skylight.

The discovery of this painting is a major coup. This work was deemed the second most valuable art work missing in Italy, after a work by Caravaggio stolen from a church in Sicily.

For the full story, see CNN:


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Picasso and Monets– burnt to a crisp?

 Picasso and Monets—Burnt To a Crisp?

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Left:  Matisse, Reading Girl in White and Yellow(1919)

Ed. Note: This article first appeared on Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2016

Will she ever see the light of day?

Carmelized Monet. No, this is not a trendy Crème Brule whipped up by a chef obsessed with molecular gastronomy, but quite possibly one of the most heinous art crimes covered by Cultural Cocktail Hour.

Olga Dogaru, mother of art thief Radu Dogaru, confessed to using her oven to set ablaze seven masterpieces valued at between 100 and 200 million Euros including works by Picasso, Matisse, Gaugin (and two by Monet) as if they were no more than slices of pizza.

Dogaru’s son Radu was the ringleader of a group of six Romanian art thieves who broke into Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum last October with a set of pliers. After her son’s arrest, Mama Dogaru hid the pilfered artworks in a graveyard in the village of Caracliu (Talk about unresponsive audiences).Then, Ms. Dogaru essentially transformed this case from art kidnapping to outright art murder. 

What museums desire most is to retrieve their works. Ergo, most art thieves with an IQ higher than a gnat realize that keeping the works intact can be a future bargaining chip in order to reduce their sentences.

In the dim attic of Ms. Dogaru’s mind, however, the light bulb went off a bit too late.

According to an interview with People magazine, Ms. Dogaru revealed her recent epiphany, “I sense I made a big mistake.”

Alas, sense and sensibility does not seem to be her strong suit.  Moreover, with the classic Parenting 101 mistakes exhibited by Mrs. Dogaru (enabling, aiding, abetting, barbecuing Cubist works), it was inevitable that her mama’s boy would not wind up an Eagle Scout. 

Of course, now the case has its inevitable twist. According to Reuters, forensic experts linked Mama Dogaru’s humble oven to the traces of a specific Prussian Blue paint in addition to other materials corresponding with the missing paintings. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, her son now claims that his mother’s initial confession was all a lie. That if he is somehow transported away from the blasted Bucharest courtroom and allowed to be tried in the Netherlands, he will reveal the paintings’ location.

Recently, however, the trial was delayed due to offending footwear. The art thief’s defense attorney donned blue suede shoes, which sent the judge into a tizzy. The judge fined the attorney more than 1400 dollars for his bold fashion sense. Unfortunately for Radu, having an attorney who dresses like Elvis is the least of his problems.

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This weekend’s highlight- at the Colburn School: Met Opera Auditions Western Region Finals

zipper-concert-hallMetropolitan Opera National Council


Sunday, January 12, 2020 1 P.M.


200 S. Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

TICKETS – Reserve Seating — $40

To order tickets please contact Molly Siefert

email:  phone: 626.437.5944

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers.

Notable past winners include: Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Deborah Voigt, and Sondra Radvanovsky

Photography  © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez


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Review: “Egypt’s Lost Cities” at the Reagan Library- MUST-SEE exhibit

 Review: “Egypt’s Lost Cities”

Uncovering an archaeological mystery

at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

On View Until April 12, 2020


Leticia Marie Sanchez

The exhibit “Egypt’s Lost Cities” is intriguing for many reasons. Firstly, the exhibit takes the viewer on a journey to see the forgotten ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were discovered by mathematician-economist Franck Goddio and his team of underwater archaeologists. Secondly, the blockbuster exhibition at the Reagan Library contains an astonishing treasure trove of more than 200 artifacts, including gold coins, bronze vessels, jewelry, ceramics, statues of Cleopatra III, and Ptolemy XII as a Sphinx. The works are exceptionally intact, despite having been buried under the sea for more than two thousand years. Prior to the founding of Alexandria in 331 B.C. the harbor of Thonis-Heracleion controlled all the trade into Egypt and was the Venice of its time.

In addition to the abundance of objects unearthed by his team. Franck Guido’s discovery answered a question that had mystified Egyptologists for ages. What was Thonis-Heracleion? The archaeological material demonstrated that Heracleion and Thonis were in fact one and the same city, but with two different names; Heracleion being the name of the city for the Greeks and Thonis for the Egyptians. Before Guido’s work solved the mystery, the cities’ names had only been rarely seen: on inscriptions found on land by archaeologists or in ancient classic texts.  For instance, the Greek historian Herodotus (5th Century BC) mentioned the city as the spot where the famous hero Herakles once set foot. The exhibition brings to light a civilization that time forgot.

What is remarkable is that the discovery is less than five percent of the treasures pertaining to Thonis-Heracleion that remain buried in the ocean. One can only imagine the world of splendor that lies beneath the sea. The exhibit is truly a time capsule of a civilization that had long been forgotten.

Another Lost Cities Photo

Photo:  © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez 



The bust of the colossal statue of Hapy has been strapped with webbings before being cautiously raised out of the water of Aboukir bay, Egypt Photo: Christoph Gerigk

© Franck Goddio / Hilti






Heracleion Queen resaved

Cleopatra III. Bust of the black stone queen set up underwater. Heracleion. Ptolemaic Period, granodiorite, H. 220 cm. National Museum, Alexandria. SCA 283. IEASM Excavations.
Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilt Foundation


ALEX JD 049 copy 2








Ptolemy XII as a Sphinx

Archeologist eye to eye to with a sphinx

underwater. Granodiorite. H. 70, L 150 cm. 1st c. BC. National Museum, Alexandria (SCA 450) Alexandria Eastern Harbour. IEASM Excavation. The treatment of the face is characteristic of royal effigies blending the Pharaonic traditions with the Hellenistic portrait style. This Sphinx could be a portrait of the father of Cleopatra VII, the “great” Cleopatra, Ptolemy XII Auletes Neos
Dionysos. Photos: Jérôme Delafosse©Franck Goddio/Hilt



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The 120K Banana At Art Basel Miami


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Has the Contemporary Art world Gone bananas?

At Art Basel Miami this week, a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000.

Entitled “Comedian,” the piece was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

Then, someone ate the banana. Artist David Datuna devoured the banana before being escorted away by security guards.

However, according to Lucien Terras, the director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, which represented the work, Datuna’s action did not devalue the work. Teras stated. “He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea.”

 You can buy a single banana for 20 cents.

 You can buy Duct Tape for $4.99

But apparently, foolishness is priceless.

Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t get the a-peel, pun intended!

For the Full Story please read:


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The Christmas fruitcake fiasco: Puccini versus Toscanini

In the spirit of the season Cultural Cocktail Hour will share a holiday favorite!

In her revealing book, Secret Lives of the Great Composers, Elizabeth Lundy described a fruity fiasco between two rivals: opera composers, Giacomo Puccini and conductor Arturo Toscanini:

“During the years of Puccini and Toscanini’s feud, they had very little contact- except for one Christmastime incident. That year Puccini forgot to remove the conductor’s name from the list of friends to whom he sent the traditional Italian holiday gift, a pannetone cake.

When Puccini realized his error, he sent Toscanini a telegram reading:



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Review- Hope Springs Eternal: “Manet and Modern Beauty at the Getty Center”

Many more florals

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Flowers in a Crystal Vase, about 1882 Oil on canvas Unframed: 32.7 × 24.5 cm (12 7/8 × 9 5/8 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection,1970.17.37 Image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington EX.2019.3.100

 Hope Springs Eternal: 

 Manet and Modern Beauty

at the Getty Center


   Leticia Marie Sanchez


October 8, 2019 to January 12, 2020

Manet and Modern Beauty at the Getty Center is a MUST-SEE exhibit, not only due to the abundant works on view and the insight into the later style of groundbreaking artist Édouard Manet, but also due to the overwhelmingly inspiring perspective into the life of an artist who never gave up hope, painting some of his most exquisite works during his final days.

Curated by Getty curators Scott Allen and Emily Beeny and Gloria Groom, chair of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, this is the first major museum exhibition to focus on Manet’s late work. Co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago,  the large-scale exhibition features more than ninety paintings and drawings.

According to Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, “Manet is a titan of modern art, but most art historical narratives about his achievement focus on his early and mid-career work, Many of his later paintings are of extraordinary beauty, executed at the height of his artistic prowess- despite the fact that he was already afflicted with the illness that would lead to his early death.”

Here are some highlights to give you new insights into this seminal artist:

  1. Manet as Dandy:  Henri Fantin-Latour’s portrait of Édouard ManetDandy

Although Manet has been hailed by many as the Father of Modernism and his earlier avant-garde works including Olympia and  Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe sent shockwaves through the French art establishment, this portrait is a reminder that Manet did not view himself as a marginalized iconoclast. This depiction of him as a dandy and social creature illustrates the fact that Manet wanted to be accepted by prominent society and, in fact, craved the approval of the French Salon, which had rejected him for so many years. Fantin-Latour’s portrait depicts Manet as an sophisticated figure of fashion. In fact, Manet never exhibited his works with the rebellious Impressionists. The eventual acceptance of his artistic merits by the Salon in his later years was a personal coup for him.

Henri Fantin-Latour French, 1836 – 1904 Portrait of Édouard Manet, 1867 Oil on canvas Unframed: 117.5 × 90 cm (46 1/4 × 35 7/16 in.) The Art Institute of Chicago, Stickney Fund, 1905.207 EX.2019.3.58


2. Portrait of Antonin Proust

Monsieur Proust

Antonin Proust was a politically influential figure who helped Manet to garner acceptance by the art establishment of his time.  He and Manet met in art school and became friends. Proust, however, took a different career path, becoming a politician and eventually holding the position of Minister of Fine Arts. Because of Proust’s advocacy, Manet was made a member of the  prestigious Legion of Honor in 1881. Proust also wrote Manet’s memoirs so it is only fitting that Manet painted this portrait of one of his artistic champions.

Édouard Manet 2. French, 1832 – 1883 Portrait of Antonin Proust, 1880

Oil on canvas Unframed: 129.5 × 95.9 cm (51 × 37 3/4 in.) Toledo Museum of Art, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1925.108 Photo: Richard Goodbody Inc., New York EX.2019.3.98



3. Mr. Eugène Pertuiset, the Lion Hunter

Manet hunter

This painting is a Must-See for humorous purposes. Manet had been denied a medal by the Salon for so many years. It was completely ironic that it was this shocking, somewhat unpalatable image that first garnered him the respect which had eluded him for so many years.

Édouard Manet, French, 1832 – 1883 Mr. Eugène Pertuiset, the Lion Hunter, 1881 Oil on canvas Unframed: 150.5 × 171.5 cm (59 1/4 × 67 1/2 in.) Collection Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Gift Gastão Vidigal and Geremia Lunardelli, 1950 MASP.00079 Photo: João Musa EX.2019.3.6





Manet Woman Reading

4. Woman Reading

This beautiful work is a highlight of the exhibit for many reasons. Firstly, upon close observation, can see can see what curator Emily Beeny aptly described as the “peripatetic brushstrokes.” But secondly, this work appears, on first glance, to take place at an outdoor café; yet, the inexplicable winter coat in the summery outdoor garden setting is the first clue that there is artifice involved and that this scene was actually staged in Manet’s studio. Why? In his later years, Manet had difficult walking and eventually had his leg amputated, which led to his demise. This painting underscores his tenacity to continue his art, despite significant physical challenges. Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Woman Reading, about 1880-1881 Oil on canvas Unframed: 61.2 × 50.7 cm (24 1/8 × 19 15/16 in.) The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.435 EX.2019.3.55



5. Jeanne (Spring) and Autumn

Jeanne at Getty

These two companion works are a cornerstones of the exhibit. According to Scott Allan, Associate Curator of Paintings at the Getty Museum, “Jeanne was an unalloyed critical success for Manet, making it a rare exception in a career dogged by scandal, controversy, and disappointment.” This image of youthful springtime, which appears effortless was actually worked on painstakingly by Manet. The female subject has the perfect upturned nose that was idealized in fashionable French society at the time. Step closer to the painting at the exhibit, and you will see a patch of pale green in the background of the subject’s profile. This green patch illustrates that Manet meticulously worked and re-worked her profile until it attained the level of perfection that he desired.

Autumn Getty

Jeanne and Autumn ( the latter of which hails from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy ) have not been viewed together in forty years. The subject of Autumn, Méry Laurent, was a fashion maven of her era and her robe was furnished by Proust himself. Unfortunately, Manet passed away before he was able to complete all four of the seasons.

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Jeanne (Spring), 1881  Oil on canvas Unframed: 74X 51.5 cm (29 1/8 x 20 1/4 in) Framed: (8.7 X 75.9 X 9.2 cm (38 7/8 X 29 7/8 X 3 5/8 in). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Accession No. 2014.62

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Autumn (Méry Laurent), 1881 or 1882. Oil on canvas Unframed: 72 × 51.5 cm (28 3/8 × 20 1/4 in.). Musée des beaux-arts, Nancy Photo: P. Mignot EX.2019.3.18

6. Hope Springs Eternal: Bouquets painted in Manet’s last days

These effulgent bouquets were painted in the last year of Manet’s life and evince his tenacity to paint exuberant beauty despite physical suffering.  According to Emily Beeny, associate curator of drawings at the Getty Museum, these flowers were “the last fireworks of his dying days”

Moss Rose

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883

Moss Roses in a Vase, about 1882

Oil on canvas Unframed: 55.9 × 34.6 cm (22 × 13 5/8 in.) Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA EX.2019.3.102

Walking through the exhibit, I was struck by Manet’s determination in the face of intense medical challenges. When he could no longer physically walk to the café, he brought the café to his studio, staging lively works there. When he was dying, he painted the most breathtaking florals of his career. Even more than his formidable talent, I was inspired by Manet’s spirit of resilience.  We are all the better for it and fortunate to gaze upon works by an artist who never gave up.


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