Fans of the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday “Masterpiece: Anatomy of a Classic” column should be delighted to see the similar column begun in the Boston Globe last week: “Frame by Frame.” Each week, Sebastian Smee will examine in depth a single piece of artwork in New England.

And he began with a painting from the collection of the Clark Art Institute: Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Warrior.” Smee writes:

Who is this actor strutting his stuff, with his swept-back hair, his oversized ruff, his fashionably slashed sleeve, and his gleaming, hilted sword? He’s all dash, all bravado. And yet look at his ravaged face, his red nose, his collapsing cheeks! If this is a warrior, he has “failed exploits’’ written all over him.

Fragonard, who made the color yellow sprightlier and saucier than any other artist before or since, was a student of Chardin and then of Boucher in that most pastel-colored of centuries, the 18th. He did not live up to his potential, which is part of what we love about him.

I remember that criticism of Fragonard from the 2007 exhibition focusing on his portraits. But I hadn’t heard this before:

When it was bought, it was immediately described by art historians as “the finest single painting in the collection’’ and “the greatest acquisition that will be made by any American museum in 1964.’’

Does anyone at Williams still read The Globe, in print or online, or do people just read the New York Times? In the late 90s, when I was picking up my Globe at the Newsroom on Spring Street, I was told that Globe sales had declined by half in Williamstown over the preceding decade. And that was really before the catastrophic collapse for newspapers everywhere that has happened since.

In any case, those in Williamstown, Boston, and elsewhere in New England should follow along with Smee’s romp through the “endlessly stimulating” permanent collections of New England’s art museums. It ought to inspire some great weekend trips.

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