Newsletters

Squaring the Circle

Waking in Camigliano I can hear buzz-saws snarling down in the valley. A team of woodcutters, probably Albanian, is at work thinning down the trees of the macchia, mostly the tough Mediterranean holm-oaks, Quercus ilex. The logs will be left to mature and then piled up in huge lorry-loads, to make perfect firewood for pizza …

Squaring the Circle Read More »

Lotto again

In a former newsletter I wrote of the particular pleasure in leaving behind rooms in an art gallery full of religious paintings, however wonderful, to come across portraits of ‘real’ people. Such an experience has been recently available at the National Gallery. The exhibition exploring the relationship between Giovanni Bellini and his brother-in-law Mantegna will …

Lotto again Read More »

Eagle Eyes

Forty or so years ago seeing a Buzzard used to be a special thrill, only to be experienced in mountainous areas of Britain, but now these birds are ubiquitous. I see them frequently flying over my home, two miles from Oxford city centre. Even more common are Red Kites from the Chilterns, and I’ve seen …

Eagle Eyes Read More »

Seeing is Believing

Sometimes I can see a picture in a gallery and make a successful guess as to who painted it. It’s not always a top-flight artist who is instantly recognisable. They often develop and change in relation to new movements and styles. The B-team are liable to be more repetitious, and therefore more easily spotted. When …

Seeing is Believing Read More »

Portraiture

I started re-reading Robert Graves’s Count Belisarius before the June trip to Ravenna, but only finished it recently. The following sentence from the Introduction (by John Julius Norwich) intrigued me: ‘The narrative is a perfect blend of scholarship and imagination, its effect rather like that produced by a brilliant portrait of an unknown sitter; the …

Portraiture Read More »