Paglia breathes new life into an overexposed, coffee-mugged work like Van Gogh’s “Irises”:
If “Irises” has any theme, it is the beauty and fertility of nature. Monet’s trees seem packed with orange fruit, but those bursts are simply green leaves touched by solar fire. The thronging irises, with their personalized heads, are as lively and sociable as the bustling pedestrians of Monet’s early Paris scenes. The blossoms have a spirit of their own — like the host of dancing daffodils that enraptured the Romantic poet William Wordsworth on a lakeside walk.