The Easel

Through a Glass Darkly

A revisiting of last year’s furor over a Balthus painting. Can we be sure the work is voyeuristic? Balthus dwelt on “private ambiguities … the unsettling space between reality and dream. The power of Balthus’s paintings of girls … [is] they show us childhood anew … the dreamy eroticism of adolescence in all its enigmatic and arresting contradictoriness.”