The thing about designating something the best,/ placing it well ahead of the rest,/ though others are bound to contest/ while alternative choices are pressed,/ is that value judgments can often score/ and stock up our mind’s aesthetic store. Discussing Piero della Francesca the other day with a friend, I referred to a Piero in the Malatesta Temple in Rimini, identifying it as the one with the hound. My friend responded that she loved that dog. Canine portraiture is something of a joke for the current art world and I am not a dog lover myself, but I have to admit that they feature repeatedly in great works of art, coming second as an animal presence only to the horse. The best painter of dog portraits is certainly Stubbs. His painting, Poodle on a Punt, would certainly be on my short list of the best dogs in visual art. But first prize would go to the hounds in the Unicorn Tapestries at The Cloisters in Manhattan which is an outpost of the Metropolitan Museum. The subject of art bests is something that I will return to in future. I am always interested in other people's choices so I give a little round up of a few here. Netherlandish painters in the 17th century began to put great effort into facial expression. Frans Hal’s so called Laughing Cavalier is only really a smiling gentleman but more extreme and momentary face movement can be found in his work, also in the paintings of Adrien Brouwer e.g. The Bitter Draught, and Rembrandt. For my best facial expression in art, though, I would return to the Unicorn Tapestries. The suggestive look on the face of the ‘ treacherous young woman’, sometimes identified as Eve, from the right-hand fragment of the lost Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn, is unbeatable. Matisse is the first painter that comes to mind when thinking of the best dancing figures in art. There is the great blue and red canvas from the Hermitage and the Paris Dance Mural, which with all its sketches and versions, has a position in the master’s oeuvre equivalent to Guernica in Picasso’s output. Yet it is to another craft rather than painting that I go for my award. My winner in the best dancer section goes to two small Roman, mosaic figures in the Vatican, Pio-Clementine Museum. The best of all is the woman who skips away from a musician with a double pipe and some sort of foot organ. The captions on the reproductions in the little Scala publication, Ancient Rome, Life and Art, that I have before me, suggests that they are clothed in transparent veils. Given the Roman taste for orgy and spectacle, that is possible but I suspect the artist was just showing the movement of the limbs under the dresses and he does it wonderfully.