John-Paul Stonard

John-Paul Stonard’s Creation, a history of art since ancient times, was published in 2021. He is writing a book about images of animals.

On Jan Lievens

John-Paul Stonard, 23 May 2024

Tronies​ were character studies, popular among 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painters: useful images, painted from life and often recycled in larger works. They weren’t portrait commissions, and as tools for artists they were less bound by convention and the need for flattery. The tronie face might be laughing, crying, whistling, shouting, grinning, gurning. But they were sometimes...

At Piano Nobile: On R.B. Kitaj

John-Paul Stonard, 14 December 2023

In​ ‘Confessions of an Old Jewish Painter’, the unfinished typescript for which was discovered among his papers after his death in 2007, R.B. Kitaj describes the origins of his bookish approach to painting. As a student at the Ruskin School of Drawing in the late 1950s, he attended lectures by the German art historian Edgar Wind, so popular that they were held at the Oxford...

At the Whitechapel: On Nicole Eisenman

John-Paul Stonard, 2 November 2023

The Abolitionists in the Park​ (2020-21), a large oil painting by the American artist Nicole Eisenman, shows a group of figures sitting in City Hall Park in New York. They are part of the 2020 protest to defund the New York Police Department in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Eisenman herself appears twice in the scene – as a sleeping form on the left of the picture and on the...

At Thaddaeus Ropac: Joseph Beuys

John-Paul Stonard, 16 March 2023

Drawing was never just drawing: Joseph Beuys was already thinking, it seems, in terms of an expanded notion of what art might be; a drawing might show nature, but also itself appear as a fragment of the natural world. To contribute to art, Beuys held, you had to go beyond art.

At the Barbican: ‘Postwar Modern’

John-Paul Stonard, 23 June 2022

In July​ 2007 I drove west from New Haven for eight hours to Getzville, north of Buffalo, to meet Magda Cordell. She was then in her eighties; I wanted to ask her about life as an artist in London in the 1950s. Born in Hungary, Cordell had arrived in Britain after the war with her husband, the composer Frank Cordell, and soon became part of the London scene. She was the only female painter...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences