You’d never guess from her art how passionate Gwen John was

‘Dearest Gwen,’ writes Celia Paul, born 1959, to Gwen John, died 1939, ‘I know this letter to you is an artifice. I know you are dead and that I’m alive… But I do feel mysteriously connected to you.’ And well she might, because the parallels between the lives of the two painters are legion. To take the most obvious: both were students at the Slade, both had relationships with much older artists and both came to be seen, for a time at least, through the prism of their association with men. Gwen John was the older sister of the once more famous Augustus and model and lover of the French

The first-century saint who went viral

Earlier this year, Saint Veronica went viral. A tweet observing that every painting of the saint made her look like a merchandise seller at the Crucifixion was liked more than 35,000 times and retweeted more than 6,700 times. Not bad for a first-century saint. I disagree slightly. Veronica doesn’t strike me so much as a proto T-shirt tout, more as an early Christian super-fan. ‘I touched the hem of his garment.’ ‘Yeah? Well, I literally mopped the sweat from his brow.’ The Sudarium of Saint Veronica is one of art history’s more peculiar subjects. While some saints and their attributes are easy to confuse (Tau? Sword? Saw? Tongs?), if there’s