Robert Hughes

TIME's eloquent, merciless art critic

At some early point in his long career, more than three decades of it spent at TIME, Robert Hughes became the most famous art critic in the English-speaking world. This happened because he was also the best--the most eloquent, the most sharp-eyed and incisive, the most truculent and certainly the most robust. He was 74 when he died on Aug. 6. As Auden put it after the death of Yeats: "Earth, receive an honoured guest."

Very simply, Hughes was better than anyone else of his generation in deciphering and explaining art's great paradox and its fundamental enchantment: that a mute object,...

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