Attribution ‘official’ but not clear

Re: “Gallery says Velazquez attribution is official” (Sept. 9): The article chronicling the process attributing “The Education of the Virgin” to Diego Velazquez omitted important information. I studied the painting in the presence of Yale University Art Gallery curator of European Art Laurence Kanter, on Aug. 5 of this year, and subsequently published my opinion that the painting was not a Velazquez in Madrid’s ABC newspaper.

As far as I know, no other authoritative Velazquez specialist has made public his or her opinion. Kanter’s assertion that no incontrovertible evidence against the attribution has been found or could “possibly be forthcoming” does not leave much room for discussion about this or the thousands of other undocumented paintings, including many masterpieces, which are in existence. Furthermore, his stance negates the practice of informed connoisseurship, of which he himself is a frequent practitioner.

I would welcome a meeting at Yale with other Velazquez specialists to discuss the attribution. From what I’ve heard, I would not predict a positive outcome, but I am willing to be proved wrong.

Jonathan Brown

Sept. 9

New York

The writer is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts at New York University.

Unfit for debate

Re: “The Unasked Question” (Sept. 9): In his piece on the Yale Political Union debate, Edward Ball says he would have asked Karl Rove a “not-quite-question.” The fact that Ball’s “question” was much more a diatribe than a question illustrates how senseless it was for the YPU to invite Rove in the first place.

There would have been no point in asking Rove a real question. He is a political operative who does not and has never addressed issues intellectually. Ad hominem is his game; he makes money not by providing a perspective but by being offensive and provocative. The members of the YPU should be ashamed of their decision to invite someone who is the antithesis of a debater. And those who laughed at Rove’s weak humor should be ashamed of falling for his ruse and furthering his career.

Hamp Watson

Sept. 9

The writer is a junior in Pierson College.

Talking energy

Re: “Malloy talks job creation, housing” (Sept. 9): In an interview filled to the brim with banal platitudes and vague promises, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy made precisely one unequivocal remark: He noted that Connecticut’s energy costs were unusually high and that energy costs had to be brought down if industries and jobs were to return to Connecticut. On his campaign website, Malloy notes that industries must pay more than double the national average in energy costs to operate in Connecticut, and that the high cost of energy was likely driving countless jobs out of the state.

His basic analysis of the problem is sound, which is why I am disappointed that the News failed to ask Malloy why his energy plan for the state prioritizes expensive “alternative energy,” like solar power, rather than cheap, clean sources like natural gas that can reduce traditional and carbon emissions, as well as cost to consumers. Indeed, his only policy idea that will actually reduce costs is an arbitrary utility rate decrease, which cannot be enforced if he plans to force utilities to supply 20 percent of their energy from extremely expensive sources. Forcing utilities to provide consumers with expensive solar power while mandating rate cuts is a recipe for California-style utility collapses.

Malloy pretends that Connecticut can “have it all” — cheap energy and renewable energy — but he admits Connecticut’s energy prices are already so high that they drive jobs out of the state. Does he really think he can order energy prices cut by fiat while increasing utility costs without putting the energy companies-and their jobs-out of business?

Trevor Wagener

Sept. 9

The writer is a senior in Pierson College and the president of the Yale College Republicans.