wed 11/12/2019

Visual Arts Features

Yuletide Scenes 4: Mystic Nativity

Sarah Kent

I’ve always loved this painting in the National Gallery by Sandro Botticelli. The jewel-like colours and exquisite clarity of detail create a consoling sense of lucidity, as though everything has been revealed to be alright.

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Yuletide Scenes 3: Snow Falling in the Lane

Mark Hudson

Christmas might not seem the most appropriate time to ask you, dear reader, if you’ve ever suffered a nervous breakdown. Yet for many this festival of conviviality amid the darkest hours of the year exacerbates a sense of loneliness and desperation. The break in routine, so welcome for most of us, can become a swift passage to the mental abyss.

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Yuletide Scenes 2: The Adoration of the Magi

Steven Gambardella

Rubens's gigantic masterpiece loudly contradicts the folkloric silent night. This typically muscular painting is deafening in its depiction of the commotion around the holy family when the Magi arrive to offer gifts to the divine king of Christian belief.

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William Burroughs: All Out Of Time and Into Space, October Gallery

Tim Cumming

October Gallery first mounted a show of William Burroughs’ paintings in 1988, soon after the writer had published The Western Lands, the last novel in his final trilogy. More books would come – on lemurs, pirates, Madagascar, cats, dreams – but no further fiction.

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A Voyage Round my Father at the Freud Museum

Markie Robson-Scott

What would Sigmund Freud say to newcomers infiltrating his priceless collection of Greek, Chinese and Egyptian antiquities?

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Opinion: Turner Prize 2012 - the year of film art

Fisun Güner

Unusually for a Turner Prize, or for contemporary art generally for that matter, it was the year that film outshone other media. Paul Noble may have initially been the popular, and the bookies' favourite, but as technically impressive as his panoramic drawings are they are also quite lifeless, made inert by the process of their meticulous execution.

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William Turnbull, 1922-2012

Mark Hudson

William Turnbull was a Dundee shipyard engineer’s son who became a highly respected fixture on the London art scene for over six decades, principally as a sculptor, but also as painter and printmaker.

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theartsdesk in Florence: Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner

william Ward

Perhaps the longest-lasting, the oddest – and almost certainly the most gratuitous – battle still busy raging with its roots in the ideological conflicts of the past century is the one regarding the artistic output of Italy’s engagement with Fascism.

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The Company of Strangers: How the Royal Academy Was Founded

Charles Saumare

Since becoming Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts almost exactly five years ago, I have become increasingly interested in why it was established. In particular, I almost inevitably got interested in the so-called Laws which govern its operation as a binding constitution.  

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Opinion: Who needs a top photography prize which champions non-photographers?

Fisun Güner

Last night, someone who’s never professionally held a camera won the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize at the Photographers’ Gallery. John Stezaker is a collagist. Since the Seventies he’s been slicing found photographic images, often of Hollywood stars, to make new composite images. His work, pleasingly old-fashioned both technically and aesthetically, harks back to the Dada/Surrealist collages and photomontages of figures such as Hannah Höch and Joseph Cornell.

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