Swagger

L. Paul Bremer III, who spent the Bush administration bringing disaster to Iraq, is now self-employed as a landscape painter in Vermont. At

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/02/the_watercolor_paintings_of_paul_bremer

you can find an illustrated article about his oeuvre. The man is every bit as good at being an artist as he was at being a proconsul. But he’s confident enough nevertheless to bring his work before the public.

Here, in front of the cathedral in Padua, is the first Renaissance equestrian statue, Donatello’s image of the condottiere Gattamelata. In their own right, the armored image and the cathedral come to us massively, in the final rightness that history bestows on its darlings. But click the photograph anyway if you wish to enlarge it.

Sometimes confidence does bring forth works with the power to outlive. For them, “outlive” is an intransitive verb. It survives their makers, burning away all the evil of their beginning. They can kill, but the deaths they impose aren’t just blundering Bremerian Fingerfehler. We love them for the reason Rilke loved his angels: because they serenely disdain to destroy us.

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