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Mantegna’s Revenge

Nicholas Penny, 3 September 1987

Mantegna 
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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... Lightbown describes. A bolder hypothesis is needed. As it happens, one such was advanced by David Landau in the catalogue of the exhibition at the Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford, organised in 1979. It is almost impossible to get hold of a copy of this catalogue and I wonder whether Lightbown has done so (although he does list the publication in ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: Alexander McQueen, 4 June 2015

... of high status all over the world look out from magnificent portraits, defying all encumbrances. David Cannadine’s study Ornamentalism wittily captures the ways the governors and viceroys of the British Empire vied with Indian rajahs and African kings in their spectacular apparel, all of them arrayed in plumes, festoons and baubles. Something about ...

Not in a Box

Julian Barnes: Mary Cassatt as Herself, 26 April 2018

Mary Cassatt, une impressioniste americaine a Paris 
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, until 23 July 2018Show More
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... seek personal validation through contact with a different Big Four – Warhol, Basquiat, Koons and Hirst – their eye chaperoned not by a practitioner like Cassatt but by sleek art advisers who can run the numbers, and often take a startling cut on deals. You almost feel nostalgic for Sinclair Lewis’s Dodsworth, whose industrial riches allowed him the ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World, 14 December 2017

The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... the slightest doubt that ‘contemporary art’ is ‘the New Old Masters’. When, in 2015, Hirst and Koons arrived in the Gulf at the behest of Sheikha Al-Mayassa, it was ‘like putting Michelangelo and da Vinci in the same room’.De Pury offers one explanation for the huge market that has grown up for contemporary art. ‘There aren’t any more Old ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... associated. The purge of 1519, for instance, which has so engrossed Gwyn’s bête noire David Starkey, was ‘a storm in a tea-cup’. The truth, pronounces Gwyn, is that the political world of Wolsey’s ascendancy was ‘not an environment where faction flourished’. It was nevertheless an environment where the Duke of Buckingham got his head ...

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