Renovating Rome

Anthony Grafton, 25 November 2019

One of the chief mysteries of late Renaissance Rome is that beauty and order emerged from the chaos and incompetence of planning.

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At the Movies: ‘The Irishman’

Michael Wood, 25 November 2019

The​ camera proceeds down a corridor in a nursing home. It isn’t in a hurry but it is looking for someone. It veers slightly to the right towards an alcove, decides it doesn’t need...

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A Key to Brando

David Thomson, 25 November 2019

It’s a regret that no one ever found a way to harness his wild comic impulse. He was taken so seriously. He became a Hollywood actor, without ever trusting that system, or forgiving it for his weakness...

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At Tate Modern: Nam June Paik

Eleanor Nairne, 19 November 2019

In​ the first room of the Nam June Paik retrospective at Tate Modern (until 9 February), an 18th-century carved wooden Buddha sits on an oblong plinth. Facing him is an image of his own face,...

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Cole Porter’s secret songs

John Lahr, 19 November 2019

Of​ the many remedies Cole Porter used to kill pain – boys, drink, luxury – the most powerful was song. In October 1937, at the age of 46, out for an early morning canter at the...

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John Lanchester, 19 November 2019

The modern mode​ of watching television, largely uncoupled from broadcast schedules, makes a programme’s transition from critical acclaim to audience approval to mass adoption more...

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J. Hoberman, 19 November 2019

To leaf through NeoRealismo feels a bit like being inside a Neorealist movie.

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Gwydir Street​ in Cambridge, just off the appealingly scruffy Mill Road, is a narrow street of Victorian terraced houses. In the 1980s my secondary school English teacher lived there: he would...

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At the Movies: ‘Non-Fiction’

Michael Wood, 7 November 2019

The film​ begins with some anxious jokes about the changing times. The ancien régime is mentioned, meaning both the political order before the Revolution and yesterday’s state of...

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Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

All the change is good, but not if we lose the plot altogether; there is no need for MoMA to mix and match to the extent that Tate Modern does.

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Amalia Pica​’s installation Semaphores, currently on display behind King’s Cross Station, consists of three brightly coloured signalling devices, one on the ground, next to the...

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Richard Hamilton on Richard Hamilton

Hal Foster, 24 October 2019

Biographies​ of artists often read like legends of heroes. Vasari preferred his Renaissance masters to be precocious in talent, humble in origin and, if possible, anointed by a predecessor...

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Debussy’s Mission

Nicholas Spice, 24 October 2019

One way to think about Debussy’s music is as an invitation to attention: at its most rapt, his music seems itself to listen, and the act of listening to which it draws us becomes the value of which...

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In​ 1979 the makers of Alien, Stalker and, it might also be said, Apocalypse Now invented worlds we thought we wanted to know about but couldn’t inhabit. Domestic quarrels and the musical...

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The catacombs​ under the Left Bank were originally part of a complex of stone quarries, built over as Paris spread during the 13th century. By the 16th century subsidence had become a serious...

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Disunity in Delacroix

T.J. Clark, 10 October 2019

It must​ have been some time in 1966 that I bought a French travel poster of a detail from Delacroix’s Lion Hunt (1855) – the lion triumphant for a moment, claws ripping a fallen...

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Lucian Freud’s Outer Being

Colm Tóibín, 10 October 2019

After he left school, his father took a piece of sculpture – a sandstone horse, almost two feet high, ‘three legs serving convincingly as four’ – that Lucian had made, to show...

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At the Royal Academy: Félix Vallotton

Bridget Alsdorf, 26 September 2019

In​ 1897 or 1898, Edouard Vuillard gave Félix Vallotton one of his most important paintings. Vuillard’s Large Interior with Six Figures appears in two of Vallotton’s...

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