Top 5 Desert Island Images

If I were imprisoned in a comfy little five-sided tower, away from the crush of humanity, and if I were to be kept there for the rest of my life, and if I could choose five pictures to hang on my five little walls, these are what I would choose. 1. Workshop of Raphael, St Margaret

This is not the usual St. Margaret that we see from Raphael. In fact, the authorship of this piece is disputed. (The best guess by a professor of mine was Giulio Romano.) The loops and folds compel me. Margaret's stance demonstrates the central impulse of Mannerism as described by Peter Schjeldahl -- when primary content is set aside in favor of secondary pleasures.

2. Workshop of Botticelli, Simonetta Vespucci

Again, this piece is not one of Botticelli's canonical works, and the authorship (as well as the sitter's identity) is disputed. For me, it's all about the hair. I've copied it several times.

3. Joe Sorren, Portrait of Roger Meanie

Have you seen what Joe Sorren is doing lately? His paintings are so beautiful they hurt. The one pictured here never fails to make me smile. It's gotten me through some tough times.

4. Bob Dorsey, 55

Bob Dorsey is a former professor of mine from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He taught me that it's not onl viable but a pretty good idea to try and make a living as an artist. Who knew? Bob's painting technique is alarmingly proficient. He's a consummate craftsman, making it appear as though the brush knows where it wants to be set down before each stroke takes place. And yet he retains an aesthetic freedom that shows up in his choices of tone, color, and texture. (Maybe someday he'll sell me this painting.)

5. Wild Card. I'd take anything from Saul Steinberg, Maira Kalman, Gustav Klimt, Wayne Thiebaud, Diane Arbus, or August Sander.