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7 November 1991
The Golden Age of Painting in Spain 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 330 pp., £39.95, January 1991, 0 300 04760 6
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Spanish Paintings of the 15th through 19th Centuries 
by Jonathan Brown and Richard Mann.
National Gallery of Art, Washington/Cambridge, 165 pp., £50, April 1991, 0 521 40107 0
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... on the theme of the prophet without honour in his own country will doubtless strike a chord for many writers and artists today, from Australia to Brazil. It also sums up the central argument of JonathanBrown’s new book The Golden Age of Painting in Spain, which emphasises Spain’s cultural dependence on foreigners. The author claims that even in its so-called ‘Golden Age’, here defined as ...


Peter Burke

20 March 1986
Velazquez: Painter and Courtier 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 322 pp., £35, March 1986, 0 300 03466 0
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El Greco and his Patrons: Three Major Projects 
by Richard Mann.
Cambridge, 164 pp., £35, February 1986, 0 521 30392 3
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... Antal, Arnold Hauser and Francis Klingender. Yet it takes time for a new style of art history to spread from the centre to the periphery. It is only in the last few years, thanks to scholars such as JonathanBrown and some of his Spanish colleagues, such as Julian Gallego, that the art of 17th-century Spain is beginning to be seen again in its intellectual, social and political context. JonathanBrown is ...

Owning Art

Arthur C. Danto

7 March 1996
Kings and Connoisseurs: Collecting Art in 17th-Century Europe 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 264 pp., £35, September 1995, 0 300 06437 3
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Art & Money 
by Marc Shell.
Chicago, 230 pp., £27.95, June 1995, 0 226 75213 5
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... and it has never been exactly cheap. Paintings in the 17th century were, to be sure, ‘inexpensive compared to other items of luxury consumption such as jewellery or silver-plate’, according to JonathanBrown in Kings and Connoisseurs, who makes the comparison vivid by observing that the cost of lace on a gown worn in 1613 by the daughter of James I was, at £1700, ‘more valuable than all but a ...

Under the Brush

Peter Campbell: Ingres-flesh

4 March 1999
Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch 
edited by Gary Tinterow and Philip Conisbee.
Abrams, 500 pp., £55, January 1999, 0 300 08653 9
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Velázquez: The Technique of Genius 
by Jonathan Brown and Carmen Garrido.
Yale, 213 pp., £29.95, November 1998, 0 300 07293 7
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... modern fashion. His wife had been a dressmaker. He records the progress of fashion: from the pretty, high-waisted Empire styles of the Roman portraits to Mme Marcotte’s rather horrid, mid-century, brown dress, from styles which cover bodies to styles which shape them. His profligacy with information helps to explain the inordinate length of time some pictures took to complete – Mme Moitessier was ...


Peter Burke

21 May 1987
The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline 
by J.H. Elliott.
Yale, 733 pp., £19.95, August 1986, 0 300 03390 7
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Philip IV and the Decoration of the Alcazar of Madrid 
by Steven Orso.
Princeton, 227 pp., £36.70, July 1986, 0 691 04036 2
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... of royal palaces, notably the Alcazar of Madrid and the Buen Retiro on the outskirts of the city. In 1980, Elliott published a study of the latter palace in partnership with the art historian JonathanBrown, reconstructing its appearance from literary sources (since the palace itself was destroyed by the British during the Peninsular War), and paying particular attention to the programme of the ...
6 March 1997
A Life of Picasso. Vol. II: 1907-1917 
by John Richardson and Marilyn McCully.
Cape, 500 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 224 03120 1
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Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 398 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 316 88173 2
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Picasso and the Spanish Tradition 
edited by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 208 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 300 06475 6
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... with his subject. A more radical alternative to biography is Picasso and the Spanish Tradition, a collection of scholarly essays by a group of academic authors, edited by the Velázquez specialist, JonathanBrown. These authors each focus on a single issue, approached from a wide variety of vantage-points. The most interesting chapter is by Robert Lubar: ‘Narrating the Nation: Picasso and the Myth of ...

‘We wrapped the guns in plastic bags’

Piero Gleijeses: Revolutionaries at Large

2 November 2017
Cuba’s Revolutionary World 
by Jonathan Brown.
Harvard, 600 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 674 97198 1
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... out policies – in Africa and then in Bolivia – that had Fidel’s imprimatur. Yet I have no conclusive evidence: once again the absence of Cuban documents rules out certainty. I was hoping that JonathanBrown’s study would fill in some frustrating blanks. Cuba’s Revolutionary World is divided into two parts. The first examines the insurgency against Castro that developed in the early 1960s ...


Stephen Smith: A 17-year-old murder victim

5 February 1998
... there have been in Blackpool: eight since last September, six of them chalked up as murder. ‘One reaction to this case has been “Just another death, just another murder in Blackpool,” ’ said JonathanBrown, news editor of the Gazette. ‘I’m afraid it’s a very common phenomenon here.’ Young people turn up at the start of the season looking for work, just as Christopher had done, and are ...

Cover Stories

Patrick Parrinder

4 April 1985
Lives of the Poets: A Novella and Six Stories 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Joseph, 145 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 7181 2529 0
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The Pork Butcher 
by David Hughes.
Constable, 123 pp., £5.95, April 1984, 0 09 465510 3
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Out of the Blue 
by John Milne.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 241 11489 6
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... of the Poets’, the novella which takes up nearly half of Doctorow’s new book, is full of tales of men trying to escape from the institution of marriage. (Every middle-aged man his own Houdini?) Jonathan, the narrator of ‘Lives of the Poets’, has gone to earth in a pied-à-terre in Greenwich Village, leaving his wife stranded in upstate New York. Jonathan’s solitude is supposedly for writing in ...

Under the Staircase

Karl Whitney: Hans Jonathan, Runaway Slave

18 October 2017
The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan 
by Gisli Palsson, translated by Anna Yates.
Chicago, 288 pp., £19, October 2016, 978 0 226 31328 3
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... In the spring​ of 1801 a young man called Hans Jonathan left the mansion in Copenhagen where he worked as a slave. Going for a walk was allowed: despite his status, he had a degree of autonomy within the walls of the city, then a thriving port with around ...

Playboy’s Paperwork

Patrick Collinson: Historiography and Elizabethan politics

11 November 1999
The World of the Favourite 
edited by J.H. Elliott and L.W.B. Brockliss.
Yale, 320 pp., £35, June 1999, 0 300 07644 4
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The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-97 
by Paul Hammer.
Cambridge, 468 pp., £45, June 1999, 0 521 43485 8
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... stretched so far that it turns into fairly useless elastic. It was also a cultural construct as much as a simple fact. So much is apparent from the portraits of the favourites, here investigated by JonathanBrown, icons of self-projection which may be indicative of insecurity and precariousness of defined status as much as of power. For the nominalist, it will be significant that the very word ...

Looking for Augustine

James Francken: Jonathan​ Safran Froer

25 July 2002
Everything Is Illuminated 
by Jonathan​ Safran Foer.
Hamish Hamilton, 276 pp., £14.99, June 2002, 0 241 14166 4
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... on strong. She has installed a web-cam in her office at home: ‘Lisa Cam’ provides a live picture every day from nine until noon so that curious fans can ‘watch her creative juices flow’. At Jonathan Safran Foer’s website – – the interactive pages are more high-minded. The site makes brief mention of Everything Is Illuminated – the American writer’s first novel ...

Sydney’s Inferno

Jonathan​ Coe

24 September 1992
The Last Magician 
by Janette Turner Hospital et al.
Virago, 352 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 1 85381 325 7
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by George Mackay Brown.
Murray, 232 pp., £14.95, July 1992, 0 7195 5149 8
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... such vigorous disdain for ‘modest late 20th-century social realism’. If you want to consider the struggle of the individual in the face of supernatural forces, to address what George Mackay Brown calls ‘the riddle of fate and freedom’, then you are best-off retreating into the distant past, as he has done in his fifth novel, Vinland. Here Brown has returned to the world of his beloved ...
23 April 1992
Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault 
by Jonathan​ Dollimore.
Oxford, 388 pp., £35, August 1991, 0 19 811225 4
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Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories 
by Diana Fuss.
Routledge, 432 pp., £40, March 1992, 0 415 90236 3
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... art’s public self. As Wilde brilliantly remarked to Gide at their final meeting in Paris, one must never ‘write “I” any more,’ for ‘in art, don’t you see, there is no first person.’ Jonathan Dollimore sees in the conflict between Gide’s courageous ‘essentialist ethic’ and Wilde’s uncompromising ‘transgressive aesthetic’ a paradigm of the internal contradictions of homosexual ...


Jonathan​ Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin

12 December 2002
... a Mexican, and then set up as a folk artist in Arizona. Even the Midwestern Lethems were obsessed with their purported trace of Native American blood – my legendary great-great-grandfather, named Brown, is said to have taken an Oglala Sioux bride. Also, I grew up in a Brooklyn neighbourhood with more brown faces than white. So it was thrilling and consoling – not only righteous but intuitively ...

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