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Chopped Masterworks Reassembled in London Show: Martin Gayford

Is an art gallery the right place to look at old pictures?

“Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500,” an exhibition at the National Gallery in London, raises that question. Museums are full of objects that some people would say are in the wrong context. They are no more natural a habitat for many of their exhibits than zoos are for tigers.