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Lucian Freud, cubism and the visualisation of art

Last Monday there was a fascinating programme on Sky Arts on the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Lucian Freud’s portraits. Like Rembrandt he was a prolific self portraitist. To do this you need a mirror which immediately creates a distorted image. Martin Gayford the art historian wrote an [...]

November 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

Degas and Velazquez

Last week in our art course we studied Edgar Degas and Diego Velazquez. The current trend in art is to look at the personal life of an artist. Paul Gauguin, for example, came in for severe criticism prior to his recent exhibition at the Royal Academy for leaving his family to marry a young Tahitian [...]

November 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

Mr Wilder & Me/Jonathan Coe

You do not have to read a biography by a film critic to appreciate a legendary director as this novel which I finished yesterday by audio book confirms. Jonathan Coe The narrator is a Greek girl called Calista who when she first meets Billy Wilder in the late 1970s has never heard of him. Later she [...]

November 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

An exasperating morning

I was commissioned by their old boy’s magazine to do an article on Duncan Grant and Paul Nash who both attended St Paul’s School. I was Head Girl of St Girl’s School, Harriet Harman was a schoolmate, and possibly I am the only arty journo who would do this for free. Truth be told I rather [...]

November 12, 2020 // 0 Comments

British Art of the Seventeenth Century

One of the best features of our art course is the ability of our tutor to place a period in art in context, be that social, philosophical or in the case of the Stuarts political. Charles I was unrivalled as as an art collector whatever his failings that led to the loss of his head. Whatever [...]

November 6, 2020 // 0 Comments

Morozov/Natalya Semenova

Generally there are two types of reviewers: those that use a book review to illustrate their own knowledge of the subject and those that seek to show why said book might be of interest or enrichment to the reader. Most of the reviews of this biography of the Morozovs I read fall into the first [...]

October 28, 2020 // 0 Comments

Billion Dollar Heist/BBC 4

The difficulty with this BBC4 Programme broadcast on Monday is that at the end of it you had no clear idea as to the whereabouts of the Vermeer and Rembrandt paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart  Gardner museum in Boston or who committed the theft. The FBI agent believed them to be in [...]

October 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

Zoom or bust

I suspect a year ago few had head heard of Zoom, now it is an indispensable communication tool. It may be indispensable but it is not enjoyable. I do not pretend to be any sort of art expert but perhaps its the mercantile in me that makes Dutch art in its  golden age in the sixteenth century my [...]

October 9, 2020 // 0 Comments

Will the real Impressionists stand up?

Yesterday in our art course we studied the remaining two impressionists – Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. The feminists argue the inclusion of Berthe Morisot and Mary Kassatt and, though we did not study her, Eva Gonzales. Pissarro is my favourite. I have seen so much of Claude [...]

October 7, 2020 // 0 Comments

Manet and Degas

Our art course resumed for its autumn term yesterday on Zoom. We studied Edouard Manet and Edgar  Degas. Both came from wealthy families. Manet’s father was a lawyer and judge who – it is said – was reluctant for his son to be an artist until he married his father’s mistress [...]

September 23, 2020 // 0 Comments

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