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At the White Cube

Peter Campbell: Anselm Kiefer, 22 February 2007

... attacked them with plaster and paint and labelled them in big writing in crayon or charcoal. Some read ‘Palm Sunday’ in various languages. The simplest, most direct interpretation takes one to the Passion, Christ’s entry into Jerusalem with the crowd scattering flowers and palm leaves before him. In the lower gallery there are three very large canvases ...

How We Got to Where We Are

Peter Ghosh, 28 November 1996

Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 454 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 7139 9071 6
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... of England (1949-55) – we see the first fruits of the appointment. It goes without saying that Peter Clarke’s volume is all his own, but it stands nonetheless in the shadow of the General Editor. Not only has Cannadine issued a prospectus to go with the new series, re-stating those views which supply the criteria by which it is to be measured, but ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell, 1 December 2011

... of refugees from Germany that did much to transform intellectual life in New Zealand. Her husband, Peter, worked as a statistician in the Education Department. There were also the Dronkes, the Steiners, the people who founded the chamber music society. There was Karl Popper. Mostly they were reduced to doing jobs nothing like as responsible as those they had ...

On the way to Maidenhead

Peter Campbell: Deep holes and narrow tracks at Paddington, 3 June 2004

... of building. For example, the Victorian building at St Pancras has Gothic overtones and can be read in the way you read a cathedral vault: the eye follows ribs and feels the stress as the weight the ribs support is brought safely to the ground. The new train shed, now open though not yet complete, is a large, flat-roofed ...

In the Turner Gallery

Peter Campbell: Coleridge’s Note-Taking, 26 February 2009

... Writing about nature went along with the intention, at least, of understanding it. Coleridge read Goethe’s scientific writings, Turner was much engaged with his theories of colour. But Turner was himself a reader and writer. When Ruskin devotes several pages in Modern Painters to The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of ...

On Radio 4

Peter Campbell: ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’, 18 November 2010

... clockwork ship that tells the time and fires cannons) and a fair number of great works of art to read about. At roughly one page of illustration to four and a half of text there is no question of treating it as a picture book. The text is what draws you on. And, of course, you dwell less on the illustrations than you might partly because you know that all ...

At the Hayward

Peter Campbell: Paul Klee, 21 March 2002

... like pieces of frayed thread. In Dance of the Moth (1923) and Mountain Formation (1924) these are read over a background of watercolour in rectangles which pale from a dark green border to a cream centre. In these drawings, and others in which perspectives of box-like structures run off into the distance, transparent watercolour builds up overlapping ...

Poor Devils

Peter France, 2 December 1982

The Literary Underground of the Old Regime 
by Robert Darnton.
Harvard, 258 pp., £11.55, November 1982, 0 674 53656 8
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... conjure up voices which had been silent for two centuries, to resurrect what he calls (modifying Peter Laslett’s famous phrase) ‘a world that we had lost’. And how? Not by ‘contemplating philosophical treatises’, but by ‘grubbing in archives’: in particular, the rich store of papers from a Swiss publishing house, the Société Typographique de ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: Barnett Newman, 3 October 2002

... a notice tacked to the entrance of his 1951 exhibition in the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, read: ‘There is a tendency to look at large pictures from a distance. The large pictures in this exhibition are intended to be seen from a short distance.’ Then, with your visual field filled to overflowing, see what happens, attending in particular to the ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Gerrit Dou, 5 October 2000

... eye is unwilling to leave the still lifes. Given that, sometimes at least, they are there to be read emblematically, this is not exactly a criticism. Pleasure in searching out meanings and wonder at Dou’s skill do not come as easily as they must have done in the past. Modern eyes, trained to distrust photographic images in advertisements – which ...

At the British Library

Peter Campbell: ‘Magnificent Maps’, 8 July 2010

... an elaborate cartouche that fills another. They are showy pieces of engraving: things to be read in quite a different way from the precise and comprehensive array of symbols (‘over 50 signs for human settlements, physical relief, military installations and so on’) that fill the topographic map that lies between them. The divisions of the exhibition ...

At the Gagosian

Peter Campbell: James Turrell, 16 December 2010

... conurbation is Flagstaff) were taken with the kind of large-format camera used for aerial mapping (read-outs of time and other data appear in the margins). Turrell made long flights over the desert before he found what he needed – a regular cone of modest size, not too close to horizon-occluding features. The observatory has been long in the making – a ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... is telling. In both in the engraving and Lewis’s portraits cheeks, nose, chin and eyelids read as sculpted volumes rather than soft, mobile flesh. You wouldn’t have got much help if you were trying to imagine what Shakespeare or Lewis might have looked like had they walked into the room. On the other hand, the engraving has only to appear on the ...

In a Bookshop

Peter Campbell: Penguin by Illustrators, 10 September 2009

... who don’t already know the book they came to shop for. If they pause and look, pick up and read, they may also buy. The product and the advertisement are bound up together. Berthold Wolpe’s 1950s Faber cover design for Le Corbusier’s ‘Modulor 2’ Two books are just out which chart the transition from essentially utilitarian, intermittently ...

Gold out of Straw

Peter Mandler: Samuel Smiles, 19 February 2004

Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct and Perseverance 
by Samuel Smiles, edited by Peter Sinnema.
Oxford, 387 pp., £7.99, October 2002, 0 19 280176 7
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... of Böttgher and Palissy make clear, Smiles’s heroes are not all Englishmen (though they are, as Peter Sinnema says, almost all male and European). Napoleon I does not always come out poorly from the frequent comparisons with the Duke of Wellington, and Smiles pointedly praises la carrière ouverte aux talents characteristic of the French but not of the ...

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