The Sistine Chapel

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

Image courtesy of Titimaster

Unless you have some Papal credentials, see the Vatican City with a proper guide. Not merely to jump queues but to navigate the treasures within. Giotto’s triptych; Caravaggio’s Entombment; the Laocoon; Raphael’s Transfiguration, Liberation of St Peter and School of Athens…some of the greatest mythical painting ever made and there it all is, before you, towering over the tourist hurly-burly, busy taking selfies. Blessed with a bit of height, the Varnished Culture could stake out some wall space and gaze over the sea of baseball caps. Down sparse casements and through subterranean galleries of truly hellish ‘modern’ art, up a…

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Rijksmuseum Moments

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, LIFE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

Statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam

We spent the better part of a day drinking in the marvels contained in this lovely Dutch pile of bricks. A Franz Hals portrait of a couple reminded me of Rose & Freddy West. We didn’t think much of the Night Watch, we have to admit, preferring Rembrandt’s Denial of St Peter with its third-degree searchlight from nowhere. Rembrandts in wonderful abundance, recalling Wyndham Lewis’ observation that “No serious artist thinks or propagates the notion for his own use that anything better can be done than such works as hang above Rembrandt’s name in Amsterdam or the Hermitage.” Corot never…

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Picasso Exhibition

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Sydney Art Gallery) I have to admit that the hanging I most appreciated said “EXIT” in illumined green and white… Wyndham Lewis had this to say of Picasso (1881-1973) in 1940: “Cézanne is the great influence: that, and the arts of primitive man…Picasso is parasitic…he is at the same time original.  His originality is of a technical order…And were Picasso a musician, he would be able to play a dozen instruments, and be as adept with a kettledrum as with a harp.  But he would not be a Bach or a Beethoven…He is such a great, luxuriant, voracious, plant: and he…

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The Moon and Sixpence

(by W. Somerset Maugham) W struggled to create a genuine primitive but he comes close with Charles Strickland, a nasty and tormented artist, based on Paul Gauguin (born 7 June 1848, died 8 May 1903 in Polynesia).  Strickland’s exchanges with the Maugham-like narrator are great fun.  “Don’t you care whether you paint well or badly?” “I don’t. I want only to paint what I see.”  

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Michelangelo: His Epic Life

(by Martin Gayford) Straightfoward but intelligent and informed biography of the world’s greatest visual artist, well sourced and well imagined. Even when he ran out of puff, money or interest, he still managed to do great things; e.g. his incomplete (although officially deemed finished after 45 years of tinkering) tomb of Julius II, with its magnificent centrepiece of Moses. Ridiculously prolific even though he could be a right sod in negotiating and delivering his famous services, as multi-talented as his rival Leonardo, as contradictory as all men, Michelangelo is still “the one to beat”. “And who is He that sculptured…

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