Book review – art history

Andy Warhol would have revelled in the chaos of his legacy

Andy Warhol’s legacy has been dogged by rows over authenticity more than that of any other modern artist. Warhol might well have predicted the chaos and even delighted in it. He once signed a fake painting at Christie’s – four silkscreened Jackie Kennedys – for the hell of it. ‘I don’t know why I ever did,’ he wrote in his diary – and yet the confession makes clear that he maintained a distinction, in the end, between what was fraudulent and what was his. You can’t sign a fake if everything is real. The task of the Andy Warhol Authentication Board – established in 1995 by the foundation which handles

The splendour and squalor of Venice

Hard by the Rialto, in a densely packed and depressingly tacky quarter of Venice, the church of San Giovanni Cristosomo houses one of Giovanni Bellini’s most luminous and exquisite paintings. ‘I Santi Cristoforo, Girolamo e Ludovico di Tolosa’ is known to locals as ‘the Burger King Bellini’, after the fast food outlet opposite the church door. In any other city, the picture’s exquisite handling of light and complex mingling of Christian piety with Renaissance Neo-platonism would grant it a museum of its own, but in Venice its principal spectators are weary tourists in line for a Whopper. Martin Gayford’s paean to Venice as ‘a huge, three-dimensional repository of memory’ is