Our State: Celebrating North Carolina

The GALLERY GUIDES of Raleigh

IN A HUSHED MUSEUM GALLERY, A squirrelly group of Orange County third graders gathers in front of an old, fancy oil painting, circa 1715-1717. It’s a portrait of France’s Louis XV, who’s shown draped in ermine, holding a scepter, and seated on a throne. One of his small satin-clad feet rests upon a velvet cushion.

“What does this man do?” asks the docent, Mina Levin.

“He’s a king,” one child replies.

“How do we know he’s a king?” Hands wave in the air; the kids talk over themselves. It’s his throne, they say. It’s his clothes. It’s the way he points. Then a boy pipes up: “And look at the frame. It’s a frame for a king, too.”

“Oh my goodness,” Levin recalls later. “I hadn’t ever really thought about it being a royal frame, but he was right, it is.”

The revelation was

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