Encountering the Past

In a chapter of Cynthia Freedland’s book, Portraits & Persons, the philosopher proposes that portraits are images of persons that fulfil one or more of the following features: Likenesses Psychological characterisations Proofs of presence or ‘contact’ Manifestations of a person’s ‘essence’ or ‘air’ Such criteria may seem obvious but, in practice, they are particularly difficult…

‘My dearest compare’: Michelangelo & Sebastiano

‘All the discords that arose between Pope Julius and me were owing to the envy of Bramante and Raphael of Urbino […] And Raphael had good reason to be envious, since what he knew of art he learnt from me.’ (Michelangelo from Rome to an unknown addressee, October-November 1542) What do you get when you…

3-2-C: The National Gallery, London

3-2-C is a new series of blog posts devoted to presenting an alternative selection of ‘must-see’ exhibits from museums and galleries in the UK and around the world. Everyone thinks they know the National Gallery, especially art historians and enthusiasts. They look at Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors (1533), Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait…

The Return of Flaming June

Among an unfettered mass of dark crimson and pale olive draperies a young woman dressed in radiant orange sleeps peacefully. In the distance lies endless Mediterranean waters, shimmering in the gleaming sun; a mountainous island appears beyond the afternoon haze. She sleeps against a marble bench and parapet, her head leaning into her bent arm…

Picasso Portraits – friendships immortalised

Picasso. One mention of this elusive name sparks headlines of paintings selling for millions. But who was he? Beneath the external skin of artistic genius, who exactly was the painter of the enormous Guernica (1937) or the earlier, highly controversial Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)? Who was Pablo Picasso? The National Portrait Gallery’s latest Picasso Portraits…

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian Drawings from the Lanigan Collection – Leighton House Museum

This article was first published (without images) in The Courtauldian. Leighton House Museum’s latest exhibition is a commemoration of a promised gift to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, from one of the most significant private collections in North America. The group of eighty drawings was collected by Dr Dennis T. Lanigan, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon whose fascination…

Greek art manifested! – Defining Beauty at the British Museum

Greco-Roman sculpture has always been a source of intrigue for generations of artists, collectors, connoisseurs, and even tourists. The Venus de Milo in the Museé du Louvre is one of the most popular exhibits and has been a symbol of ideal female beauty and sophisticated taste for many art critics over the years. When the…

MADDER – it’s all in the preparation

Two years ago the Griffin Gallery in West London launched its first Griffin Art Prize competition for UK-based artists who graduated within the past five years. The winner of the prize is awarded a six-month residency at the Griffin Gallery and Studios, resulting in a solo exhibition at the gallery with a published catalogue. They…

Deloitte Ignite 14 – Myth comes to the Royal Opera House

Over the weekend the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden launched its annual contemporary arts festival Deloitte Ignite, now in its seventh year, with a series of free public events. The month-long festival (5th-28th September 2014) brings together dance and the visual arts, leading to a collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery’s…

A stimulator of the human soul – 512 Hours of Marina Abramović

It has been roughly 3 hours since I left Marina Abramović’s 512 Hours show at the Serpentine Gallery in London and I am still out of breath. The experience was incredibly surreal and everyone will have varying responses, evidenced by the exhibition’s Participant Chronicles on Tumblr. I went with a friend from university, Maria, and…

The Shires build Nashville in London!

I recently attended a concert at the Water Rats in London headlined by UK country-duo The Shires. This was the penultimate leg of their UK tour. Supporting them on tour was Jersey-based Frankie Davies. To my surprise, Gary Quinn from Ireland was also performing at that particular concert. It was fun-filled night of promoting British country…