156 – Second helpings at the Feast

Donatello, The Feast of Herod, 1423-7. Baptismal Font, Battistero di San Giovanni Battista, Siena. ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’  OK, so it seems extremely unlikely that these words, said by Oliver Twist in the eponymous novel by Charles Dickens, and so often misquoted, nor indeed anything like them, would ever have been uttered atContinue reading “156 – Second helpings at the Feast”

155 – Pre-Announced

Raphael, The Annunciation, c. 1506-7. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. I’ve said in two different lectures (to two different audiences) that I intend to write about this drawing, thus announcing the Annunciation. I’d not seen it before my first visit to the glorious Raphael exhibition at the National Gallery, but it grabbed my attention, and instantly became myContinue reading “155 – Pre-Announced”

Revisiting Raphael

Raphael Sanzio, The Crucified Christ with the Virgin Mary, Saints and Angels, about 1502-3, National Gallery, London. Happy Easter! And greetings from Vienna! I’m here with a group, and actually wrote this paragraph in London on Easter Monday: I’m sure I’ll have to do a bit of preparation before I go. However, the blog below wasContinue reading “Revisiting Raphael”

154 – A Feast for the eyes

Donatello, The Feast of Herod, 1423-7. Baptismal Font, Battistero di San Giovanni Battista, Siena. The Donatello exhibition in Florence is truly remarkable, an astonishing achievement, given that sculptures have been transported from churches and cathedrals across Italy, including several which have left their original settings for the first time since they were installed. Others haveContinue reading “154 – A Feast for the eyes”

147 – Inspiring Devotion

Marie Spartali Stillman, How the Virgin Mary Came to Brother Conrad of Offida and laid her Son in his Arms, 1892. National Trust Collections, Wightwick Manor and Gardens, Warwickshire. On Monday I will be talking about Lucy and Catherine Maddox Brown, whose work was once described as having Uncommon Power  – a description which hasContinue reading “147 – Inspiring Devotion”

144 – Make a joyful noise

Geertgen tot Sint Jans, The Glorification of the Virgin, about 1490-95. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. I have a new favourite artist (those of you who follow me on Instagram might have noticed), although sadly a dozen of his works seem to have survived, maybe a couple more or less. This does mean that IContinue reading “144 – Make a joyful noise”

142 – Getting carried away

Nicolas Poussin, The Ecstasy of St Paul, 1649-50. Musée du Louvre, Paris. On the whole I try not to get carried away by things, although, as I’m sure most of you know, my enthusiasm does mean that I rarely have the discipline to edit my presentations adequately – hence my now standard length of anContinue reading “142 – Getting carried away”

138 – Transfigured

Apse Mosaic, c. 549. Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. This coming Tuesday, at 6pm, I will be Revealing Ravenna – or at least, talking about the remarkable mosaics, putting them in their historical and religious context, and explaining why the best Byzantine art is in Italy, rather than in Istanbul. And the following week I willContinue reading “138 – Transfigured”

137 – The little Lord Jesus, Asleep…

Cosmé Tura, Virgin and Child, 1480s. Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice. Having spent a fair amount of time in my youth in Ferrara, when I was researching my PhD about the sculptures there, I grew inordinately fond of the idiosyncratic school of painting that flourished alongside my far scarcer sculptures. The paintings themselves are remarkably sculptural, weContinue reading “137 – The little Lord Jesus, Asleep…”

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”