The British woodcarver Grinling Gibbons is known as the “Michelangelo of Wood.” He was born in 1648, to British parents in Rotterdam, and made his way across the Channel at age 19. In Southeast London he found work as a decorator in a Naval shipyard, but his skills soon attracted the attention of fellow artists. Before long, he was noticed by Charles II, and in 1693 he was appointed a master carver of the king. Today, those who behold his work are still awed and beguiled by its intricacy and lightness. His carved peaches seem to have fuzz. This exhibition looks at the influences that shaped Gibbons’s vision, while sculpture and carvings, drawings, sketches, and portraits cast new light on his art. —E.C.
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