More from Arts

Power play

The distinction between operas and oratorios in Handel’s output is to a large degree an academic affair, depending on such contingencies as whether a work could be staged at a certain point in the ecclesiastical calendar. Glyndebourne showed that Theodora, an oratorio, could be staged with spectacular success, thanks to Peter Sellars’s intermittent genius. A

Miscast playboy

I walked into The Philadelphia Story with a real spring in my step. Admittedly, I’d never seen this play before, but how bad could it be given that the film — surely one of the two or three greatest romantic comedies ever to come out of Hollywood — was so closely based on Philip Barry’s

One in a million

If you took a national poll on our greatest watercolourist, Turner would win hands down, Girtin would come second and Cotman might get honourable mention behind TV artists Alwyn Crawshaw and Charles Evans. Cotman’s name means nothing to the general public, and carried so little clout in his own day that his death in 1842

Potent venom

‘Everything looks menacing,’ Edward Burra once told the Tate’s director Sir John Rothenstein. ‘I’m always expecting something calamitous to happen.’ This was late in Burra’s career, when his by then well-known and characteristic figure paintings had mostly given way to landscapes and still lifes, though without any diminution in their imaginative power or their peculiar

Cheap old art

On the evening of 4 May at Christie’s in New York, a previously unknown, seminal sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, probably the first of his admired ‘Bird in Space’ series produced around 1922–23, was expected to fetch a mighty $8 million– $12 million. In the event, there were at least six serious contenders for the piece,

A certain something

Could Caravaggio draw? That might seem a startling, even a ridiculous, question, but it expresses a doubt with which I was left by the admittedly magnificent exhibition that is about to close at the National Gallery. It is a concern that has led on to another, even more perplexing. That is, what is good drawing

Bitter truths

Tragically, I missed the recent reality TV show in which celebrity love rat (and, weirdly enough, brother of my old riding teacher) James Hewitt was filmed receiving hand relief from a young woman desperate (very, clearly) to win £10,000. Instead I’m going to talk about something if possible even more depressing: Armando Iannucci’s new sitcom

Getting to know them

I had intended to devote this article to the subject of artists on film and in particular to a newish archive, the Artists on Film Trust, which was founded seven years ago by Hannah Rothschild and Robert McNab, and affiliated this February to the newly created University of the Arts, London. Under this inelegant umbrella