Zurbarán's Jacob and His Twelve Sons

Surveying Francisco de Zurbarán's (1598-1664) oeuvre, one can observe many paintings of Catholic saints: Saint Dominic, Saint Bonaventura, Saint Thomas Aquinas (all painted in 1626), Saint Serapion (1628), Saint Margaret (1631), Saint Luke, Saint Isabel of Portugal (both painted ca. 1635), Saint Rufina (ca. 1635-40), Saint Francis (1632 and 1658-64), and most famously Saint Francis in Meditation (1631-40 and 1639), suffering unto death as suggested by the skull he clutches.

Serious Fun at Grand Central Atelier's 2016 Figure Drawing Competition

When I walked into the unassuming entrance of the Eleventh Street Arts gallery in Long Island City, Queens, I was expecting a tense scene: competitors sitting in dead silence around a table, wringing their hands and anxiously awaiting their fate; the judges downstairs furiously debating the merits and faults of stunningly realistic drawings—all of which look nearly identical to the untrained eye.