Yesterday I had one of those unexpectedly enjoyable days that start with a disappointment. Polly, Bob Tickler’s P/A was coming down for the day and we were going to meet for a coffee and walk. She felt unwell and could not travel so I had to rearrange my day.
I listened to the latest episode in the Waldy and Bendy podcast – see here for a link to it – WALDY AND BENDY
They discussed gardens in art.
I thought the obvious choice was Monet but they selected inter alia a graphic, unkempt, garden in Camden Town full of debris painted by Lucian Freud.
Art critic Waldemar Janusczak can be a tad florid for my taste but the blend of a podgy Reading lad of Polish provenance and the courteously posh art historian Bendor Grosvenor works well.
Next up was Start The Week presented by Andrew Marr.
As often as not someone is promoting a book and the programme falls fouls of the BBC ‘s inability to debate all sides of an argument other than their own e.g. on climate change.
However, Andrew Marr is an art enthusiast and though the contributors were promoting their books – Cynthia Salzman on plundering of art Napoleon’s Plunder and the The theft of Veronese’s Feast and Charles Saumarez-Smith on museums – the appropriation of art works – Napoleon more or less plundered Venice for the Louvre and Hitler wanted to build a global art museum of looted art in Linz – is a live issue with the British Museum Benin Bronzes.
Anti colonialists argue these be returned but they are in safe custody in a museum that costs nothing in entrance fees.
Saumarez -Smith added that nowadays an Madrid art institute can make almost exact replicas.
Following this, Sir Simon Beale in Book of the Week read extracts of a biography – The King’s Painter by Franny Moyle – of Hans Holbein.
My morning of art was consummated by a Sky Arts appreciation of Canaletto.
His speciality veduta (view) is one of my favourite forms of art and the programme encompassed its study of the Venetian master with some background on the Grand Tour and Sir Joseph Smith, multi-millionaire British consul in Venice who dealt in Canaletto very much to his own advantage.
Whilst concerned for Polly’s health, I had out of nowhere – on a wet and gusty Bank Holiday Monday -a most absorbing morning.