Laura Gascoigne rss

‘Sunrise’, 1938, by John Armstrong

The good, the polite and the ugly: British artistic responses to the Spanish civil war

22 November 2014
Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War Pallant House Gallery

The Paris World’s Fair of 1937 was more than a testing ground for artistic innovation; it was a battleground for political ideologies. The Imperial eagle spread its wings over the… Read more

‘Self-portrait’, c.1513, by Leonardo da Vinci

Pizza, choc-ice and Leonardos – the treasures of Turin

6 September 2014

To most non-Italians Turin spells Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Fiat). But this subalpine city has a longer history than the internal combustion engine. It may be twinned with Detroit, but… Read more

‘The Goldfinch’, 1654, by Carel Fabritius

The home of Holland’s celebrity paintings gets a makeover

19 July 2014

If things had turned out differently for Brazil — I don’t mean in the World Cup — Recife might now be known as Mauritsstad. But when the Portuguese expelled the… Read more

‘Brigitte Bardot in Spoleto’, 1961, by Marcello Geppetti

When Raquel Welch danced on a table at Cinecittà

17 May 2014
The Years of La Dolce Vita Estorick Collection, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1

Before there was Hello!, OK! and Closer, there was Oggi. Oggi was the magazine my Italian mother used to flick through on the long dark English winter evenings. Its celebrity… Read more

‘The Tea Table’, 1938, by Henri Le Sidaner

Henri Le Sidaner: the artist who fell between two schools

10 May 2014
Henri Le Sidaner Retrospective Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai
Maison du Port d’Étaples
Musée du Touquet-Paris-Plage
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dunkerque

Like other species, artists club together in movements not just for purposes of identification but for longevity. Individuals who don’t belong to schools take longer establishing reputations during their lifetimes,… Read more

‘Le Port au chemin de fer à Honfleur’, 1866, by Johan Barthold Jongkind

Who knew that Cézanne had a sense of humour?

1 March 2014
Impressionist Works from Private Collections, 100 Masterpieces Musée Marmottan Monet

Tourists are attracted to queues, art lovers to quietude. So while the mass of Monet fans visiting Paris line up outside the Musée d’Orsay and the Orangerie, connoisseurs head to… Read more


Do critics make good artists? Come and judge ours

1 March 2014

Artists make good critics, but do critics make good artists? It’s hard to tell, when most are too chicken to try. For over 20 years, Spectator critic Andrew Lambirth has… Read more

‘Map Reading’, by Stanley Spencer, at Sandham Memorial Chapel

When soldiers have golden helmets and the wounded have wings

14 December 2013
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War Somerset House

‘If I go to war, I go on condition I can have Giotto, the Basilica of Assisi book, Fra Angelico in one pocket, and Masaccio, Masolino and Giorgione in the… Read more

‘The Deluge’, c.1840, by Francis Danby

'Squiggle, squiggle, ooh, good...' Tate St Ives shows how sexy the octopus can be

23 November 2013
Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep Tate St Ives

One of the more exotic attractions at the 1939–40 World’s Fair in New York was Salvador Dalí’s ‘Dream of Venus Pavilion’, which behind its surreal façade — an architectural marriage… Read more

‘Path bordered with willows near Bethune’, 1874, by Camille Corot

The master of living, breathing landscapes

26 October 2013
Corot in the Light of the North Musée de la Chartreuse de Douai

One sometimes forgets when looking at French 19th-century art that the painting revolution that produced Impressionism coincided with a political one. This is because most French painters, Delacroix and Manet… Read more

St Ives School influence: ‘Paddle Steamer’, 1986, by Julian Trevelyan

Julian Trevelyan, a Jekyll and Hyde painter, at the Bohun Gallery

18 May 2013
Julian Trevelyan: Picture Language Bohun Gallery, Henley

Between 1917 and 1923, Julian Trevelyan produced a map and an illustrated guide to Hurtenham, an industrial town on the Tees between Stockton and Darlington. You’ll search in vain for… Read more


The two sides of painter Joan Eardley

4 May 2013

There were two Joan Eardleys, according to a new biography of the Scottish painter by Christopher Andreae. There was ‘the tender and gentle Joan’, as revealed by her bosom friend… Read more

Modesty intact: ‘Gypsy’, 1911, by Kees van Dongen

Free spirits

16 March 2013
Bohemian Lights: Artists, Gypsies and the Definitition of the Modern World Fundación MAPFRE Madrid

‘Gypsies seem to have been born into the world for the sole purpose of being thieves,’ Cervantes begins his story of The Little Gypsy Girl. ‘They are born of thieving… Read more

‘Plant Spirit’ by Kate Walters

New dawn for Newlyn School

29 December 2012

‘The street scenes in Newlyn lack nothing of subject for the painter,’ reported the young Frank Richards from the Cornish art colony in 1895; ‘paved with cobblestone, some of the… Read more

‘Kabakov’, 1996, by Dmitri Prigov

Imperialist ambitions

8 December 2012
State Hermitage St Petersburg

In 1997, the Russian Academy of Sciences gave the names Hermitage 4758 and Piotrovsky 4869 to two small planets discovered 500 million kilometres from earth. The signal honour paid to… Read more

‘Negative-positive’, 1950–87, by Bruno Munari

Keeping the faith

24 November 2012
Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past Estorick Collection

In 1929 the founder of Italian Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, reported from Milan that, after a wartime setback, the movement was ‘in full working order’ under the leadership of ‘the… Read more

Under construction: ‘The Tower of Babel’ by Hendrick van Cleve

Bizarre visions

20 October 2012
Flemish Landscape Fables: Bosch, Brueghel, Bles, Bril Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

If you want to see how myths arise from misunderstandings, the Tower of Babel provides a textbook example. In ancient Assyrian babilu means ‘door of God’ and thus correctly describes… Read more

Pottery musician, 2nd century BC, Western Han dynasty, unearthed from Tuoloanshan King of Chu tomb in 1989

A civilised way of death

15 September 2012
The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China Fitzwilliam Museum

‘Luxury high-rise duplex: lower floor comprising entrance hall with recessed guard posts, grand reception area, kitchen with crockery store, larders and walk-in fridge, armoury and staff WC; upper floor comprising… Read more


Madrid’s golden triangle

30 June 2012

Under the statue of Charles III in the Puerta del Sol a hellfire preacher is competing for custom with a mariachi band. ‘Porque la paga del pecado es muerte!’ he… Read more


A most eccentric master

19 May 2012

In 1895 the Spanish art collector John Charles Robinson donated a picture to the National Gallery. ‘On the whole I think it is very much above the average of this… Read more


Down but not out

3 March 2012

It’s not every J.D. Wetherspoon’s pub that has a preservation order slapped on it. In fact, I’m prepared to bet there’s only one: The Trafalgar in Portsmouth, Grade II-listed in… Read more


Adventurous rogue

26 November 2011

Historically, British artists have not been good at money management. George Morland (1762–1804) was chronically insolvent; Benjamin Haydon (1786–1846) served four jail terms for debt and eventually killed himself after… Read more


Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer

22 October 2011

Photographs of roadworks feature regularly in the Hampstead Village Voice but, even with the postmodern fashion for grungy subjects, no contemporary residents have made paintings of them. Yet that, astonishingly,… Read more


‘An obsolete romantic’

24 September 2011

In 1982 Sven Berlin placed a sealed wallet labelled ‘Testament’ on top of a rafter in his studio with instructions for it not to be opened before his 100th birthday… Read more


In Monet’s garden

6 August 2011

We owe Giverny to the generosity of Americans Whoever coined the famous aphorism ‘When good Americans die, they go to Paris’ didn’t tell the full story. For American plein-air painters,… Read more