Category Archives: Art criticism

Leonardo da Vinci: Philosopher and scientist? #2, People in landscapes

What does ‘philosophy’ mean when we look at paintings? Perhaps it’s a way of making sense of our place in the world – I’m thinking about places and worlds as painters might, specifically as landscapes. I’ve assumed painters see (literally) … Continue reading

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Leonardo da Vinci: Philosopher and scientist? #1

Benvenuto Cellini was a virtuoso Renaissance goldsmith, sculptor and wildly indiscreet autobiographer. Yet he soberly recorded King François I of France as saying ‘there had never been born another man in the world who knew as much as Leonardo, not so … Continue reading

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Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist (exhibition review) #2

This excellent exhibition (in the Queen’s Gallery, London) has some fascinatingly different stories to tell of Leonardo’s extraordinary anatomical sketches. We can have our interpretations on the surface or we can dig for them, depending on whether we like our versions … Continue reading

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Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist (exhibition review) #1

This is an unusual start to any review, but the gallery’s beautifully panelled and French-polished rosewood doors and postmodern urinal dividers in the spotless toilets were so unusual in their generosity to the possibility of civilized public behaviour that I … Continue reading

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The pleasures of fine lettercutting in stone

Here’s a lovely thing I was very lucky to be given a few weeks ago. I hope anyone with an interest in words, writing and lettering will enjoy it here too. What is it? It’s a Clipsham limestone square pillar with … Continue reading

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Tales from synaesthetic oceans: shampoo, Rimbaud and the cult of the LP sleeve

What do you think about this? [Product name] has fresh notes of bergamot and lime, a spicy sensual heart of poivre, beechwood and oakmoss, enhanced with base notes of sandalwood, amber and vetiver. It’s on a bottle of shampoo. For … Continue reading

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Bicycles, beds, chairs, doors – the use of modern art

‘Mr. Beckett’s patient concern with bicycles, amputees, battered hats, and the letter M’ starts Hugh Kenner’s still impressive Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study (New York: Grove Press, 1961, p. 1). My previous post tried to talk about the same things, respectively a … Continue reading

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