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Balls in Aquaria

Thomas Crow: Joseph Rykwert

23 October 2008
The Judicious Eye: Architecture against the Other Arts 
by Joseph Rykwert.
Reaktion, 496 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 86189 358 1
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... entrusted the design of the chapel to Johnson as part of his master plan for the University of St Thomas. The original design featured a square-plan lower storey surmounted by a tall pyramid, which provided a narrow tunnel for light to reach the ground floor. That design clashed with Rothko’s vision, which required an octagonal structure (analogous, he ...
19 March 1987
The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt: ‘The Body of the Public’ 
by John Barrell.
Yale, 366 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 300 03720 1
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... the Academy and very often from a position of opposition to the alliance between Academy and Crown. What these unofficial and dissident writers possessed, and what the French Academicians largely lacked, was a new conception of the audience for art that was fundamentally republican in character. It is one of Barrell’s central arguments that official ...


P.N. Furbank

3 August 1995
Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France 
by Thomas Crow.
Yale, 288 pp., £29.95, January 1995, 0 300 06093 9
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... From one point of view, Thomas Crow’s remarkable pair of books, Painters and Public Life in 18th-Century Paris (1985) and Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995), can be described as a history of the decline and fall, and amazing final reprieve, of history-painting in France. Long cherished by the Academy of Painting and Sculpture as the highest and ‘noblest’ genre and the summit of a painter’s ambition, by the middle of the 18th century the theme of critics and philosophers was that, in the France of Louis XV, history-painting was simply impossible ...

Sans Sunflowers

David Solkin

7 July 1994
Nineteenth-Century Art: A Critical History 
by Stephen Eisenman, Thomas Crow, Brian Lukacher, Linda Nochlin and Frances Pohl.
Thames and Hudson, 376 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 500 23675 5
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... of form and content. Pohl’s approach stands in particularly dramatic contrast to that taken by Thomas Crow, in the opening two-chapter survey of French painting from David to Delacroix. To a much greater extent than any of his collaborators, Crow demands that we look closely and anew at a sequence of major ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’

1 November 2007
... interrogate – and how much more so is it for us today. As art historians such as T.J. Clark and Thomas Crow have helped us to see, the great painters of modern life – from Manet to Hamilton – are also its great dialecticians; they are able to celebrate and interrogate it by turns. Hamilton uses the Duchampian phrase ‘ironism of affirmation’ to ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?

5 October 2006
On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... on the subject. It is too simple to begin by listing artists whose late great achievements crowned a lifetime of ‘aesthetic endeavour’ – Rembrandt, Matisse, Bach, Wagner and Verdi, for instance. Said prefers to contemplate instances of lateness that speak less of achievement than of ‘intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction ...

What’s the problem with critical art?

Hal Foster: Rancière’s Aesthetics

9 October 2013
Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art 
by Jacques Rancière, translated by Zakir Paul.
Verso, 272 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 1 78168 089 6
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... regarded as the foundational act of the 19th-century avant-garde, and art historians like Thomas Crow alerted us long ago to the turn to common culture in elite art of the 18th century. That Rancière brings together the imperatives of purity and worldliness might be an advance in aesthetic philosophy, but it is one already achieved in modernist ...

The Medium is the Market

Hal Foster: Business Art

9 October 2008
... million, the top seller at Sotheby’s was The Golden Calf, a white bullock in formaldehyde, with crown, horns and hoofs made of 18-carat gold: dance on, idolaters! Yet how singular is the Hirst phenomenon, by which I mean not only the recent auction, but an entire career strung together by shock and scandal and a body of work whose medium is a compound of ...


Peter Campbell

5 January 1989
The Letter of Marque 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins, 284 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780241125434
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by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 347 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 241 12527 8
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From Rockaway 
by Jill Eisenstadt.
Penguin, 214 pp., £3.99, September 1988, 0 14 010347 3
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The High Road 
by Edna O’Brien.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 297 79493 0
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Loving and Giving 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 226 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 223 98346 2
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by Louise Erdrich.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9780241125434
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... she grew up in. Patrick O’Brian’s stories of Napoleonic sea war have a vivacity which Hugh Thomas’s more fitfully imaginative book lacks, but both have virtues which come directly from the fact that the substantial historical scaffolds which they have erected give their players room to move. The Letter of Marque opens with Jack Aubrey dismissed the ...

Fox and Crow

David Craig: The Moors

30 July 2014
The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature 
by William Atkins.
Faber, 371 pp., £18.99, May 2014, 978 0 571 29004 8
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... sterility’ (though he at least had the hardihood to go and see them for himself); in 1826 Noel Thomas Carrington accused them of ‘shaming the map of England’ with their barrenness. Such was the outsider’s or townsperson’s notion of the moors, expanded to a visionary plane by Shakespeare in Macbeth and King Lear. The weather on the heath ...

Weasel, Magpie, Crow

Mark Ford: Edward Thomas

1 January 2009
Edward ThomasThe Annotated Collected Poems 
edited by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 335 pp., £12, June 2008, 978 1 85224 746 1
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... and eloquently, declared in his ‘Art poétique’ of 1874. The line must have lodged in Edward Thomas’s mind: in May 1914, some six months before his late efflorescence into verse at the age of 36, he wrote to Robert Frost of his longing to ‘wring all the necks of my rhetoric – the geese’. He was referring to the over-elaborate style of some of his ...


Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power

5 October 2006
Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... America. The classic narrative begins with the court battles and grassroots protests against Jim Crow. By the end of the 19th century, the Southern states had implemented a system of nearly complete racial separation in the public sphere. Blacks and whites attended segregated schools. On streetcars, buses and trains, ‘coloured’ travellers sat separately ...
4 December 1986
... cards for the captain’s soul. The temples at Luxor stood under a full moon, lightly boiled. Sir Thomas got off to try and bag a crocodile. The route up from Marseille went as the crow flies – precipitately, a dash from ear to ear. A fellow-traveller let him play with his collar and tie, until he pulled out ‘an ...

Nude Horses

Jerrold Seigel

3 April 1997
The Plight of Emulation: Ernest Meissonier and French Salon Painting 
by Marc Gotlieb.
Princeton, 264 pp., £33.50, May 1996, 0 691 04374 4
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... Baudelaire had no hesitation in calling for the individualism of the few over that of the many. As Thomas Crow has recently shown, all kinds of reciprocal rivalries and tensions could contaminate the relations between master artist and disciples: thinking that 19th-century artists looked to such arrangements to diminish emulative conflict requires seeing ...


Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes

29 August 2013
Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... delights to be found in Roger Lonsdale’s New Oxford Book of 18th-Century Verse is a squib by Thomas Holcroft, provoked by some disparaging remarks Voltaire made about Shakespeare. In fact, Voltaire was perfectly ready to concede that Shakespeare was possessed of real genius, though of a rough and ready kind, but in denying that he had ‘so much as a ...

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