By Blake Gopnik
"Couldn't a child of 6 have done that?"
"Whatever happened to skill?"
"Why can't anyone portray people anymore?"
"Does art always have to be ugly and tough?"
For anyone who has ever asked such questions (and modern art's force depends on all of us asking them, sometimes) there's guaranteed pleasure in the art of the Renaissance sculptor known as Antico. He made absolutely gorgeous bronzes that no child -- and only a genius adult – could ever match, that are the apotheosis of the craft of modeling and casting, and that capture human bodies and faces with a wonderful precision and a classical grace that, when Antico was working in about 1500, was the most avant-garde thing to be doing. A touring survey of his statues opens at the Frick Collection in New York on May 1. It will present 36 of Antico's works, which is something like three-quarters of all that survives by his hand. Antico's bronzes are tremendously intimate things, never bigger than a foot or two high, and often much smaller than that. That only concentrates their power, and forces our closest attention. A proper look at this Web gallery should leave noseprints behind on the screen.