134 – Displaced Angels

Raphael, The Sistine Madonna, 1512-14. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. I am constantly reminded of something that, when I first heard it, was attributed to Mark Twain: ‘I am sorry to have written such a long letter: I didn’t have time to write a short one’. Since then I have heard it attributed to any numberContinue reading “134 – Displaced Angels”

122 – Justice for Venice

Jacobello del Fiore, Justice enthroned between the Archangels Gabriel and Michael, 1421. Gallerie Accademia, Venice. Great news! The Accademia in Venice, which houses today’s painting, is reopening on Monday 8 February, and the Vatican museums are already open – so things are looking up. Soon we will be able to get back and see thingsContinue reading “122 – Justice for Venice”

121 – A golden girl goes missing

Duccio, The Virgin and Child with Saint Dominic and Saint Aurea, and Patriarchs and Prophets, about 1312-15 (?). National Gallery, London. First thing’s first – I’m giving my own talks! Rather than sheltering under the umbrella of another institution or organisation I’m doing my own thing. More of that after Duccio, but if you can’tContinue reading “121 – A golden girl goes missing”

120 – The Colour of Virtue

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Maestà, c. 1335. Museo di Arte Sacra, Massa Marittima. I’m giving a talk for ARTscapades on Wednesday afternoon (at 2pm) entitled Good and Bad Government, which would be fine, apart from the fact that it has a subtitle The Lorenzetti Brothers in Siena. What was I thinking? I will have plenty of timeContinue reading “120 – The Colour of Virtue”

117 – St Thomas Becket

St Thomas Becket, c. 1178-89. Monreale Cathedral, Sicily. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered on 29 December 1170 – eight hundred and fifty years ago. I wanted to mark the occasion. I’m not going to talk much about him, or about his relationship with King Henry II, the man who has always been blamedContinue reading “117 – St Thomas Becket”