wed 21/08/2019

Visual Arts Features

theartsdesk in Treviso - cultural patronage, Italian style

David Nice

Fortunate those Italian towns and cities whose Renaissance rulers looked to the arts to enrich their domain. Now neglect of cultural heritage can be laid at the doors of successive governments, but regional enlightenment can make a difference even in the era of Salvini.

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First Person: Robert Hollingworth on I Fagiolini's 'Leonardo - Shaping the Invisible'

Robert Hollingworth

Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago on 2 May this year. We all know he was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, pioneer of flight and anatomist – yet according to Vasari, Leonardo’s first job outside Florence was as a result of his musical talents.

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h 100 Awards: Art, Design and Craft - making art public

Florence Hallett

This year’s nominees represent the wealth of innovative activity that makes British art, craft and design fresh and exciting. Artists and makers dominate the shortlist, and rightly so, but curators, an educator, and a journalist reflect the importance of public engagement with the visual arts, and the many ways in which this is achieved.

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theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

David Nice

"They incessantly break down, destroy and fragment the mistrust that exists among people," wrote a Latvian journalist of a folklore group during the start of the Baltic countries' "singing revolution" against Soviet rule in 1988.

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'That brick red frock with flowers everywhere': painting Katherine Mansfield

Roger Neill

The well-known portrait of New Zealand’s greatest writer, Katherine Mansfield, is exactly 100 years old on 17 June 2018 (main picture). It was painted by the American artist Anne Estelle Rice.

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Helaine Blumenfeld: Britain’s most successful sculptor you’ve never heard of

Rupert Edwards

Sexy is an overused word in the arts but it’s an adjective you can’t help applying to some of Helaine Blumenfeld’s voluptuous marble sculptures as you run your fingers over their surfaces. These abstract bodily forms, often in the purest icing-white crystalline stone, are so tempting that you almost want to lick them.

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'There's a poetry in painting that gives endless possibilities'

Alexandra Baraitser

It was always my dream to be an artist but I never expected to be a curator. Graduates considering vocations in critical and curatorial practice went to the Royal College of Art or studied art history at university. Not me: I trained at Chelsea College of Art and then went to the British School at Rome where I was the Abbey Scholar in Painting.

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theartsdesk in Korea: national pride and candour

Peter Quantrill

Fear not. The Arts Desk has not suddenly sprouted a Sports Desk. Heaven forfend. Korea in late February had more to offer than luge, bobsleigh, skeleton and all the other bemedalled and potentially life-threatening variants of hurling bodies down icy slopes. The host region of every Olympic Games throws open a window to the world on its culture, and PyeongChang 2018 was no different.

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Highlights from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 - raw emotion, not always human

Bill Knight

What does it take to be included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition? This year 2,423 photographers entered 5,717 images: 2,373 of those photographers are left wondering what it takes to make the grade.

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Out from the Darkness: painting out prison

Patrick Maguire

When I was sent to an adult high security prison aged 14 all the normal colour, shapes and movement that I saw around me each and every day as a child disappeared. It wasn’t there. Prison does that; it’s all straight lines, hard on the eye, hard to the touch. There are square walls or oblongs but there are no triangles, no interesting shapes.

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