More from Arts

Language of the heart

John Constable (1776–1837) is the quintessential painter of rural England. If we carry in our hearts an image of unspoilt countryside it will, more often than not, bear the lineaments of what has become known as Constable Country, that stretch of land along the river Stour in Suffolk that includes Dedham and Flatford, and the

Popular appeal

Last time it was cows, this time it’s sheep. I’m not talking about an agricultural show, but about the London Architecture Biennale, which begins today when Lord Foster will be herding sheep across the Millennium Bridge towards Smithfield Market. In 2004 it was cows approaching Smithfield from the opposite direction, down St John Street, and,

Sales hype

An ancient Roman sceptic wondered how, when two augurs passed in the street and caught one another’s eye, they managed not to burst out laughing. A Damien Hirst bisected lamb suspended in a glass tank of formaldehyde was sold for $3.37 million at Christie’s in New York early in May. Works by Donald Judd, who

Russian shenanigans

Opera Holland Park is suddenly fashionable, even people who have never been near it writing about how wonderful they hear it is and vowing to go, while as usual those of us who have been saying that since it started in 1996 ask ourselves what makes us so implausible that we aren’t taken seriously on

Smoke signals

Thank You for Smoking is a satirical comedy about the culture of spin, adapted from Christopher Buckley’s 1994 novel of the same name. Its hero is the wolfish Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), chief lobbyist employed by cigarette company ‘Big Tobacco’. It is Naylor’s job to defend the company he works for (and its right to

Courtly celebration

Homage to the Queen is one of two ballets that Frederick Ashton conceived with a special occasion in mind —the other being Birthday Offering. Created in 1953, Homage was a choreographic celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Not unlike the court masques of the 16th and 17th centuries, the ballet draws upon an

Trophy tales

The World Cup, and once again people who don’t watch football from one quadrennium to the next manifest an interest in all those surreal pairings: Ecuador v. Poland, Iran v. Mexico, Togo v. Switzerland. I (and many others) have been disobliging about John Motson in the past, but he is perfect for these events, assuming