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Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... their personal lives. ‘Though Judge Mellon had rebelled decisively against his own father,’ David Cannadine writes in his new biography of the judge’s son Andrew, ‘he had no intention of tolerating any such conduct in the next generation … The judge regarded his sons as essentially extensions of himself.’ When Andrew Mellon was in his teens, his ...

Why Christ is playing with the Magdalene’s Hair

Nicholas Penny: Correggio, 2 July 1998

by David Ekserdjian.
Yale, 334 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 300 07299 6
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The ‘Divine’ Guido 
by Richard Spear.
Yale, 436 pp., £40, January 1997, 0 300 07035 7
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... with angelic grace and with a formal complexity which is delightfully difficult to disentangle. David Ekserdjian’s book illustrates all of Correggio’s paintings, great and small, superbly well, together with many of his drawings. In the latter we can watch him weaving his compositions with a nervous pen line; giving them more unity, more softness and ...

Out of this World

David Armitage, 16 November 1995

by Thomas More, edited by George Logan, Robert M. Adams and Clarence Miller.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £55, February 1995, 0 521 40318 9
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Utopias of the British Enlightenment 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Cambridge, 305 pp., £35, July 1994, 0 521 43084 4
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... laws, a Christian, yet they had no revelation. Should we then agree with Utopia’s discoverer, Raphael Hythlodaeus (the ‘speaker of nonsense’), that ‘there is not a more excellent people or a happier commonwealth anywhere in the whole world,’ or with the figure of ‘More’, who closes the work with the observation that ‘in the Utopian ...

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny, 23 January 2020

... It’s​ not hard to think of painters who took up sculpture: Raphael (probably), Guido Reni (at least once), Frederic Leighton, Degas, Renoir (unfortunately), Picasso. But sculptors have less frequently turned to painting, which may explain why many art historians have found it so difficult to believe that the Florentine sculptor and goldsmith Andrea Verrocchio (1435-88) took up painting relatively late in his career and then abandoned it on recognising the extraordinary ability of his pupil Leonardo ...

Middle Way

Jon Whiteley, 2 April 1981

Thomas Couture and the Eclectic Vision 
by Albert Boime.
Yale, 683 pp., £35, June 1980, 0 300 02158 5
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... the art of the 19th century to the society that created it. Boime’s belief that painting between David and the Impressionists reflected the political and social problems of a century divided between liberty and constraint leads him to describe a large part of French art (and music, literature and philosophy) as the product of a juste-milieu, stuck like ...

Mayhem at Millbank

David Sylvester: The new hang at the Tate Britain (2000), 18 May 2000

... at their ease; it’s argumentative. Here and there the argument is illuminating, as when David Bomberg’s In the Hold (c.1913-14) is hung next to Leon Kossoff’s Children’s Swimming Pool, Autumn Afternoon (1971). Both are busy compositions, with a mass of vigorous figures squeezed closely into a space. But the Bomberg is pretty abstract and is ...

The Guru of Suburbia

Elaine Showalter, 16 December 1993

My Father’s Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusionment 
by Jeffrey Masson.
HarperCollins, 174 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 00 255126 8
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... cult of the Bhagwan Rajneesh. Returning to New Jersey in orange garments after a summer in India, David announced that he wanted to change his title in the university catalogue from ‘professor’ to ‘swami’; teach ‘The Wisdom of the East’ instead of ‘Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner’; and replace the furniture in his office with a simple ...

As if standing before Julius

Nicholas Penny, 7 April 1994

Only Connect: Art and the Spectator in the Italian Renaissance 
by John Shearman.
Princeton, 281 pp., £35, October 1992, 0 691 09972 3
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... and erudite exposition of the evolving ideas for dome decoration, which culminated in the works of Raphael and Correggio, he observes how the establishment of a ‘perspectival or visually logical continuum between the real world and the pictorial space’ permits us to conceive of the action depicted moving out of our world and into the painted scene and vice ...


Christopher Hitchens: In Washington, 7 February 1991

... sitting next to Iraq. Then came the grim day when O’Brien and his Israeli counterpart, Gideon Raphael, watched their mutual friend Adlai Stevenson trudge through a mendacious speech about that same Bay of Pigs. He knew he was lying, they knew he was lying, he knew they knew that he knew. As a consequence, he would sometimes lift his eyes to where they ...

At the National Gallery

Charles Hope: Veronese, 8 May 2014

... Supper at Emmaus’ (1555) ‘The Conversion of Mary Magdalene’ (1548) ‘The Anointing of David’ (1550) ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ (1573) ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ (1573-4) ‘Lucretia’ (1585) ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ (1576-78) ‘The Rape of Europa’ (1575)PreviousNext That having been said, the exhibition does contain some ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason, 5 October 1995

The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... That study of the heritage industry and associated questions (‘heritage-baiting’, Raphael Samuel has called it) seems to be widely admired, but I am relieved Wright has not followed up its example. Aware that he then had a reputation for both ‘anecdotalism’ and ‘excessively abstract generalisation’, he apparently tried to redress the ...

What the children saw

Marina Warner, 7 April 1994

Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bismarckian Germany 
by David Blackhourn.
Oxford, 463 pp., £40, December 1993, 0 19 821783 8
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... near the shrine of Padre Pio, revealed the face of the Madonna looking very like the pictures Raphael or Perugino painted of her. David Blackhourn has produced an exhaustive study of the apparitions of the Madonna in July 1876 in Marpingen, and the turbulent aftermath which embroiled the Army, the Berlin secret ...


Peter Campbell, 4 July 1985

Degas: His Life, Times and Work 
by Roy McMullen.
Secker, 517 pp., £18.50, March 1985, 9780436276477
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Degas: The Dancers 
by George Shackelford.
Norton, 151 pp., £22.95, March 1985, 0 393 01975 6
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Degas Pastels, Oil Sketches, Drawings 
by Götz Adriani.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 500 09168 4
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Bricabracomania: The Bourgeois and the Bibelot 
by Rémy de Saisselin.
Thames and Hudson, 189 pp., £12.50, February 1985, 0 500 23424 8
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... work which can be seen as the culmination of a tradition of figure-painting which includes Raphael and Ingres. It can also be seen as radical: the beginning of a change which would finally see the notion, implied in most European art of the previous few centuries, that beauty is the end of art discarded. One of the pleasures of looking at his work is ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
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... the BBC when Alan Yentob insisted that an aristocratic ex-Battle of Britain pilot be played by David Jason; ITV loved it, but made similar demands. Eventually, back at the BBC, the play got its perfect casting – Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Joanna Lumley – and was ‘bought’ in 1998 by the then BBC2 controller Mark Thompson for broadcast at ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... person within.’ (Hoyer is the editor of Elbe’s own notes and diaries, not to be confused with David Ebershoff, on whose ghastly novel The Danish Girl is based.) Jan Morris defines her transition as a journey on the path to identity: ‘I had reached Identity’; Ashley speaks of her desire ‘to be whole’, and her ‘great sense of purpose to make ...

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