By now you've read about the unfortunate death of Dash Snow, the art world's most prodigal son, from a drug overdose. He rests in a long line of dangerous, self-destructive artists who've captured the public imagination, Caravaggio and Van Gogh being the most prominent. He, too, shocked with his work and his behavior. Or, in his case, "shocked." I suspect Snow's work will have a considerably shorter shelf life than either of those two historical figures — indeed, that his relevance is now past, if it ever existed in the first place. Rubens — because I must connect everything back to him — was a polar opposite in terms of temperament: cool, calm, a model bourgeois. The worst thing one could do, he wrote, was squander one's own talent. Though he could be critical of the behavior of his fellow artists, he was not dismissive of their work. He was an early proponent of Caravaggio, and advocated on his behalf when it was not fashionable to do so — in part because the Italian was on the run from a murder charge. Rubens was a painter of great dramas, but he tried to keep those to his canvasses. Snow, it would seem, couldn't keep his art and his life separate. A shame.
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