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A Welcome for Foreigners

Peter Burke, 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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... many writers and artists today, from Australia to Brazil. It also sums up the central argument of Jonathan Brown’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 the period 1480-1700, Spain remained ‘on the ...


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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... from the centre to the periphery. It is only in the last few years, thanks to scholars such as Jonathan Brown 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. Jonathan Brown is the ...

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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... compared to other items of luxury consumption such as jewellery or silver-plate’, according to Jonathan Brown 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 few paintings in the famous collection of his ...

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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... 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 12 years under the brush. There is more there to be seen ...


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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... In 1980, Elliott published a study of the latter palace in partnership with the art historian Jonathan Brown, 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 paintings by Velazquez, Zurbaran and others in the ...

At Auckland Castle

Nicola Jennings: Francisco de Zurbarán, 4 June 2020

... attracted little attention. In 2012, the castle and its paintings were bought for £15 million by Jonathan Ruffer, a banker; he has since spent nearly ten times that much on restoration and redevelopment in the neighbouring town of Bishop Auckland. Over the past three years, while the building works were ongoing, the paintings have been on tour to New ...

The Vanishing Brothel

Linda Nochlin, 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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... of scholarly essays by a group of academic authors, edited by the Velázquez specialist, Jonathan Brown. 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 El Greco’. Starting out with a complex and ...


Stephen Smith: A 17-year-old murder victim, 5 February 1998

... to this case has been “Just another death, just another murder in Blackpool,” ’ said Jonathan Brown, 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 left high and dry when the tourist trade ebbs away in ...

‘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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... evidence: once again the absence of Cuban documents rules out certainty. I was hoping that Jonathan Brown’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. Armed and abetted by the CIA, anti-Castro rebels ...

Hatpin through the Brain

Jonathan Meades: Closing Time for the Firm, 9 June 2022

The Palace Papers 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 571 pp., £20, April, 978 1 5291 2470 5
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... is in someone’s long lens and for whom blood is everything: the Windsors, aka the Firm. Tina Brown, a smart ethnographer bearing a scalpel, engages with this dispiriting bunch as though they, like the Rooneys of that photograph, have yet to evolve.The slice of world that is vouchsafed to the queen and her many dependants, to whom she doles out annual ...

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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... as a simple fact. So much is apparent from the portraits of the favourites, here investigated by Jonathan Brown, 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 ‘favourite’ originated in this period. Blair Worden’s ...

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 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, though what he ...


Jonathan Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin, 12 December 2002

... 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 right – that splashing ...

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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... 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 Orkneyinga Saga, that ...

Angelic Porcupine

Jonathan Parry: Adams’s Education, 3 June 2021

The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams 
by David S. Brown.
Scribner, 464 pp., £21.20, November 2020, 978 1 9821 2823 4
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... a fleet of biographies, editions and collections of his letters over the last century. David Brown’s fine Life is the latest to grapple with Adams’s paradoxes and limitations: his inconsistent ego, his contradictions, his Waspy waspishness. It deals with his reserve and self-consciousness, his reluctance to risk failure, his unconvincing indifference ...

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