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…

A Sense of Rembrandt

Leiden, 1624. After a six-month apprenticeship with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, a young, 18-year-old Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn moved back to his native city of Leiden and opened his own studio in 1624 or 1625. Sometime within this period of artistic development, Rembrandt painted an elusive set of five paintings, The Five Senses…

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…

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…

Louvre Abu Dhabi – a new collection awaits

The art world is about to get a little bit more exciting as the Louvre opens the doors to a new museum in Abu Dhabi in December 2015. The Louvre Abu Dhabi seeks to be a universal museum, embracing cross-cultural similarities instead of differences with its newly-bought collection. The Musée du Louvre’s Louvre Abu Dhabi:…

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…

Mapplethorpe in Paris

For the first time in the history of France, a major retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe has landed in the Grand Palais in Paris. The show features 250 works by the American photographer ranging from his highly sculptural nudes to his controversial images of sexuality and eroticism, BDSM and sadomasochism. Robert Mapplethorpe, Sonia Resika, 1988.

UNDEREXPOSED – a tribute to female artists

A version of this article also appears on the Studio 3 Gallery blog. In the space of ten seconds, how many female artists can you think of? Now repeat the same exercise but with male artists… Off the top of my head I counted four female artists – Artemisia Gentileschi, Barbara Hepworth, Marina Abramović and…

Philosophising ‘painting’ – TAINT at GRAD

What is ‘painting’? A general dictionary definition of the term might be along the lines of “a process of applying paint to a surface for artistic effect”. In the world of contemporary art, this term has gained a significant amount of leeway, substituting paint for alternative media. The GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design…