THE Yale Art Gallery was the nation's first college art museum, founded in 1832 by Patriot-Painter John Trumbull to house his own canvases. Since then the gallery has grown steadily bigger and richer, and last year it added a strikingly modern, $1,500,000 wing. But for generations the student favorite at the gallery has been a thoughtful, kind-looking lady who clutches a rabbit to her velvet bosom. The painting is attributed to Piero di Cosimo, and beautifully combines Piero's relaxed good cheer with the dressy formalism of his native Florence.

The rabbit in the picture accords with Piero's deep feeling for nature. Like...

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