Arts feature

Museological capriccio

There are not many palazzi in Florence still occupied by their original families. There are not many palazzi in Florence still occupied by their original families. Some, like the Medici, Pitti and Corsi-Horne, have become museums, while others, like the Ciofi-Giacometti — now the five-star Relais Santa Croce — have become hotels. ‘Make do and

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Lovelorn masterclass

Werther; The Adventures of Mr Broucek Opera North The Truth about Love Linbury Studio Massenet’s Werther is a tricky opera, in fact may well not be susceptible of more than a production which leaves you feeling that you could easily live with its not very numerous highlights. One of its chief problems is highlighted in

No laughing matter

Comedians Lyric, Hammersmith Liberace, Live from Heaven Leicester Square Theatre They gushed, they cheered, they purred, they sighed. When a young Richard Eyre read Trevor Griffiths’s new play Comedians in 1975 he prounounced it ‘great’ on the spot. ‘Trev,’ said Rich, ‘you’re knocking on Chekhov’s door.’ Eyre’s production was picked up by an equally thrilled

Animal caper

Fantastic Mr Fox PG, Nationwide Fantastic Mr Fox is actually no more than So-So Mr Fox, if that, and I was pretty bored right from the get-go. The animation is beautiful, the attention to detail is a thing of wonder — with enough mise-en-scènes to keep even the most fanatical mise-en-scène-ists happy — but the

Shock and awe | 24 October 2009

In the Spirit of Diaghilev Sadler’s Wells Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company: Hydra Queen Elizabeth Hall In a dance world asphyxiated by a lack of inventiveness, it is refreshing to be confronted by creations that can still provoke, shock and amuse. This is the case with Javier De Frutos’s Eternal Damnation to Sancho

The quick and the dead

His two sons, his grandsons and a family friend all gathered at the mortuary to wash him thoroughly, before his body, simply covered in a shroud, was laid in the ground. His head was turned towards Mecca and wooden boards laid over him to protect him from the clods of earth that would be sprinkled

Crime watch

Oh. My. God. Can it really be, like, 16 years since it was 1993? I very much fear it can and the reason the thought is so bothersome is that I remember thinking, even back then, ‘Blimey, I really am getting on a bit. Can’t do pills nearly as often as I used to. The

Living in the moment

Frank Auerbach (born 1931) is flavour of the month. A museum exhibition of his early paintings has opened at the Courtauld (until 17 January 2010), a substantial monograph by William Feaver has just been published (Rizzoli, £100) and a commercial show of recent paintings at Marlborough Fine Art runs until 24 October. Meanwhile, the notoriously

The case for the defence

The past ten years have been peculiar times for the arts. Under the Labour government pots of money were thrown at culture. But strings came with this funding, requiring art to serve political ends. While there has been cash it has been less for culture and more for schemes promoting social inclusion, community issues and

The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts

Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts is the V&A’s latest exhibition (until 17 January 2010). It sets out to explore the lives of India’s princes from the 18th century to the end of British rule in 1947. In the first room, a life-sized model elephant in all

Celebrating extremes

Robert Mapplethorpe: A Season in Hell Alison Jacques Gallery, 16-18 Berners Street, London W1, until 21 November Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1985 self-portrait with little devil’s horns is one of the most instantly recognisable self-portraits in modern photography. Short-haired and cherubically handsome, his face turns back to the camera, an inappropriately appealing daemon, complete with a ‘devil-be-damned’