As in sport the way the subject in art is presented is all. Too highbrow and technical, you lose your audience – too low-brow and you have not added value. I believe that enthusiasm is key and being over opinionated off-limits.
I have already commented that I believe Mary Beard to be a poor presenter as it’s too much about her and not enough about the subject before her. She is not so much a filter as a block.
That is why I liked Sister Wendy and before her Jacob Bronowski: Wendy was enthusiastic and appreciative and – in the same way as families gather round the box to watch Strictly – ours would watch Sister Wendy together.
My Dad was an above-average water-colourist, my mother a part-time curator of the Wallace Collection.
We would convene in awe as Sister Wendy drooled over a high renaissance masterpiece.
Kenneth Clark and Andrew Graham Dixon could be too “viewy”.
On Sunday David Dibosa delved in the archives on Picasso.
As it’s fashionable now to attack Picasso over his cruelty to his women, he did do, but he did not say anything that surprised or informed lovers of the greatest artist of the twentieth century.
He had an irritating twisted facial expression too.
He did identify archive interviews with John Richardson – the best biographer of Picasso – and partner of Douglas Cooper, but this was a long way short on detail of his masterful three-book biography.
Michael Stuart said to me that he was disappointed by the reaction of the music tutor in his adult learning centre when Michael suggested a course on film scores, commenting on Eric Korngold “I can’t stand Eric Korngold”.
Richard Strauss regarded him as a classical composer of eminence who cleared off because of the Nazis to write many a famous score.
The response was too dismissive and unworthy. By contrast our art tutor Jackie is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.
On Hockney, a popular and often criticised painter, she said he did drawing lessons at Hornsey when it was not compulsory and spent his lunch hours appreciating classical art at the National Gallery.