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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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... question and her grace is hardly compatible with so low and ludicrous a subject. In Only Connect John Shearman also objects to this theory, not for prudish reasons but on technical grounds: Velásquez ‘has not given us the geometrical information that would allow such a calculation to be made’. However, ...

Everybody wants a Rembrandt

Nicholas Penny, 17 March 1983

The Rare Art Traditions 
by Joseph Alsop.
Thames and Hudson, 691 pp., £30, November 1982, 0 500 23359 4
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... of the picture’s export from Italy was raised. Meanwhile, the attribution to Raphael made by John Shearman, the prominent Raphael scholar who was then at the Courtauld Institute, was widely challenged, sometimes in very strong terms. And then the picture had to be returned to Italy. It must have seemed as if the Museum of Fine Arts had been copped ...

Mantegna’s Revenge

Nicholas Penny, 3 September 1987

by Ronald Lightbown.
Phaidon/Christie’s, 512 pp., £60, July 1986, 0 7148 8031 0
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The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo Rediscovered 
edited by Massimo Giacometti, translated by Paul Holberton.
Muller, Blond and White, 271 pp., £40, September 1986, 0 584 11140 1
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... consumption in eight different countries. In particular, there is a very full and clear account by John Shearman of the complex building history of the chapel, its liturgical function, the programme of the 15th-century decorations, and of Raphael’s tapestries. There is also an article by Michael Hirst which subjects to scrutiny the fragile sheets from ...

Signs of spring

Anthony Grafton, 10 June 1993

The Portrayal of Love: Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ and Humanist Culture at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent 
by Charles Dempsey.
Princeton, 173 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 691 03207 6
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... social life. The major single piece of progress has consisted in a documentary discovery made by John Shearman and Webster Smith. They showed that the painting originally hung not in the villa of Castello, which belonged after 1477 or 1478 to Lorenzo’s cousin, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, but in Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco’s city house – a ...

Scrum down

Paul Smith, 14 November 1996

Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity 
edited by John Nauright and Timothy Chandler.
Cass, 260 pp., £35, April 1996, 0 7146 4637 7
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... citing the suggestion that for South Africans ‘the rugby scrum was symbolic of the laager,’ John Nauright and Timothy Chandler enter the reservation that ‘such notions can be taken too far.’ Indeed they can. An inward-facing huddle of wagons, their occupants locked in some obscure struggle of their own, would have presented little problem to a ...

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