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May 15, 2008|Christopher Knight | Times Art Critic

When warriors from the famous Chinese terra cotta army buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC) came to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1987, they numbered three. When they came to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1998, they numbered a dozen. And when they arrive in Santa Ana at the Bowers Museum on Sunday in "Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China's First Emperor," the troops will have grown to about 20. More than 1,000 of the life-size sculptures are still back in Xi'an, but the Bowers plans to provide context with an additional 100 ancient Chinese works from the period (bowers.org).

Speaking of armies, the many epic subjects looked at by Peter Saul -- the twisted painter of raucous, trenchant satires whose work has been an underground staple for more than 40 years -- include World War II, Vietnam and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Saul, 74, arguably American art's most famous under-known painter, will be the subject of a 50-work survey of work from the early 1960s to the present, at the Orange County Museum of Art (ocma.net; June 22-Sept. 21).

By stark contrast, South African-born, Amsterdam-based painter Marlene Dumas, 54, rocketed to art-world superstardom in the wake of the jaw-dropping $3.34 million paid at a 2005 London auction for a work by the hitherto modestly regarded artist. Sixty paintings and 25 drawings in her first large-scale retrospective, "Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave," will provide a welcome chance to survey her development outside the market glare. The show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (moca.org; June 22-Sept. 22) travels to New York's Museum of Modern Art in the fall.

Another first arrives at the Getty Museum in "Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture" (getty. edu; Aug. 5-Oct. 26), an unprecedented exhibition of the 17th century Roman sculptor. There has never been a major Bernini show in the United States before now. Popes, princes and assorted Barberinis were among his patrons and subjects. But one of the show's most anticipated works is his celebrated portrait of the lovely Costanza Bonarelli -- the married mistress whose face he slashed with a knife in a jealous rage. Pope Urban VIII stepped in and forgave him.

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