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August 03, 2006

Renaissance masters

The lowdown -- Giorgio Vasari, the first art historian of the Italian Renaissance, reported that the leading artists of Florence dismissed their Venetian counterparts as mere colorists who lacked the essential skill of drawing. But oh what gorgeous hues painters such as Titian, Giorgione and Bellini managed to wring from their palettes! Bellini's sweet-faced Madonnas rivaled those of Raphael himself for purity of expression, while Titian and Giorgione's irresistibly rosy nymphs and sensual goddesses were painted with a voluptuous surrender to the pangs of love that has never been surpassed. These and other world-famous works -- including Giorgione and Titian's iconic image of poets and their muses, the enchanting Pastoral Concert -- are among about 60 paintings in the landmark exhibition Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting on view at Washington's National Gallery of Art. The show, which includes portraits, landscapes, nudes and religious subjects, is a cornucopia of sensuous delights guaranteed to make even the most jaded postmodernist long for the return of beauty in art.

If you go -- Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting runs through Sept. 17 in the West Wing of the National Gallery of Art, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest, in Washington. Call 202-737-4215, or visit


One-acts at Mobtown

The lowdown -- Sibling relationships are the shared theme of a pair of one-act plays being presented by Mobtown Players as its entry in the 25th annual Baltimore Playwrights Festival. Jointly titled, Just Outside the Garden, the playlets are directed by Ryan Whinnem and open tomorrow. Mark Squirek's SOD concerns three brothers (played by Shaun Gould, Steven Kovalic and Jacob Rothermel) who run a landscaping business. Kimberley Lynne's The Return of the 5th Sister focuses on four sisters (Nia Medina, Lydia Real, Loandra Torres and Janise Whelan) whose eldest sister shows up unexpectedly and who -- even more unexpectedly -- has grown 50 feet tall. The playwright calls it "an existential fairy tale."

If you go -- Show times at Mobtown, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, are 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Aug. 17, and 2 p.m. Aug. 13, through Aug. 19. Tickets are $12. Call 410-467-3057 or visit


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