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Lives of the artist

When I studied French and German literature for my A levels our teacher had a rather pedantic view that little was served in studying the life of the writer. In fact as I soon appreciated it’s crucial. Michael Stuart was complaining to me that in his music course he learned far too little [...]

July 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

Great Paintings of the World/Sunflowers

Andrew Marr continue his series with Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh, one of four of the subject the Dutch master painted. It did not really tell you too much you did not know already but I guess the series is not pitched at the connoisseur – more the interested learner. My friend Martin [...]

June 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

Great Paintings of the World/Channel 5

I was pleasantly surprised by the first programme presented by Andrew Marr on the Mona Lisa. Would it be more about Andrew Marr than Leonardo da Vinci ? What could Marr tell us about the Mona Lisa we do not already know? On both counts I  was wrong.  Marr knows and loves  his art and brought [...]

June 8, 2020 // 0 Comments


There are several notable features about the artistic work of Christo who died recently aged 85. His large scale outdoor works were not commissioned – he received nothing for them – and although they took years sometimes decades to plan with his wife Jeanne Claude they were dismantled [...]

June 2, 2020 // 0 Comments

Creative paradoxes

Donald Macleod on BBC Radio 3 has been presenting an excellent programme on the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven. Perhaps the most significant aspect of a composer widely acclaimed as the greatest of all was that from 1814 he was totally deaf. Not only could he not hear his music but it’s [...]

May 22, 2020 // 0 Comments


I  finally watched this SKY ARTS appreciation of the Venetian artist of the sixteenth century Tintoretto whose real name was Jacopo Robusto. His father was a dyer (tintoro) and, as the Italians like to add “etto” or “ino”  on a surname to denote “ little”, he acquired the moniker [...]

May 12, 2020 // 0 Comments

Becoming Matisse/BBC 2

In any art programme the presenter is all. Will he/she let the paintings speak for themselves or will they interpose themselves? In this programme it soon became obvious that the presenter Sophie Matisse was the latter. She’s the great granddaughter of Henri Matisse, the granddaughter of Pierre [...]

April 26, 2020 // 0 Comments

Virtual reality v actuality

I would like to start a new Rust debate of virtual reality, which I will call virtuality, against actuality. In a recent article in The Spectator Martin Gayford considered this as museum and art galleries shut down, then offered the possibility of viewing their art on line. He felt a photograph of [...]

April 12, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Art Mysteries (BBC4) Waldemar Januszczak

Every Wednesday evening on BBC4 Waldemar Januszczak unravels the mystery of a painting and last night it was Paul Gauguin’s Vision After the Sermon.   The picture depicts Jacob’s famous wrestle with the Devil in the bible, symbolises good and evil before a congregation in a small church. There [...]

April 1, 2020 // 0 Comments

Matisse all time favourite

Comparing artists of different eras is about as productive as comparing sports stars. The vagaries of fashion and that moveable feast that is reputation makes the whole process difficult if not unreliable. In this Me Too age female painters are generously viewed. Picasso’s reputation as the [...]

March 26, 2020 // 0 Comments

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