FRA ANGELICO: NOT A BASEBALL
New York City
In the rush to get my review of Fra Angelico out before the show closed, an embarrassing error crept in [“Soul Eyes,” Feb. 6]. During the editing process, the expression “autograph work” was replaced with “autographed work.” In the vocabulary of connoisseurship, an autograph work is one from the artist’s hand–an original. All the works in the show were auto graph, presumably. No one would speak of a signed work as “autographed,” as if it were a baseball. In any case, Fra Angelico did not sign his work, though there is a signature on the bridle of a horse in the early Christ of the Cross that may be his. If you find a Renaissance panel signed “Fra Angelico,” it has to be a fake. He did not acquire that name until after his death, as a way of putting him on the same level as his fellow Dominican Thomas Aquinas, “The Angelic Doctor.”
ARTHUR C. DANTO
We believe the editors of The Nation are quite justified in publishing an explanation as to why they run our (FLAME’s) messages in their publication [“In Fact…,” Jan. 23]. But we don’t believe it is correct to describe us as an anti-Palestinian group. We are not that. We are “Israel advocatory” and are distressed that despite the many attempts made over the dec ades it has been so far impossible for Israel to come to peace terms with the Palestinians. The only agreement they seem to be willing to enter would be one that would involve the disappearance of the state of Israel. Also, we must reject being classified as “mendacious.” And, of course, we deplore that our views are “repugnant” to Nation editors.
What is a source of never-ending puzzlement to us is why “liberals,” such as the readers of The Nation, seem to feel so hostile toward the state of Israel, the only democratic state, mirroring American values, in the Middle East and a steadfast friend of our country. The Muslims/Arabs, including the Palestinians, on the other hand, seem to violate personally and in their governance everything that we hold dear. Conservatives, prominently including evangelical Christians, are staunch supporters of the Jewish state. It’s really difficult to understand.
We publish our hasbarah (educating and clarifying) messages monthly in more than a dozen major magazines, in about the same number of metropolitan newspapers and in small newspapers all across the country. The response we get is overwhelmingly supportive and positive. We are glad to be able to publish our messages in The Nation and hope that we shall, in time, be able to persuade at least some readers of the righteousness of Israel’s cause.