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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Edinburgh National Museum

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

(2013) In sweet, windy Edinburgh, a revelation was the new National Museum, beautifully done, no expense spared by the look of it. An old fashioned Anglophile collection, all over the shop, with a refreshing lack of ‘unifying themes’ so one could enjoy the diversity. Dolly the Sheep, Lewis chessmen, the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots, a fractured Meisson lion, Ching Ching the Panda (a childhood friend) a pavilion packed to high rafters with enough stuffed animals for an ark. And a corker of a restaurant on the 5th floor*. A nice way to keep out of the paint-stripping breeze….

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Bluesfest

(2014) Touted as Australia’s premier blues and roots festival, Bluesfest is really an eclectic gathering of the available great and good. The Varnished Culture only made Monday’s gig and a list of acts enjoyed will give you an inkling of the variety: Joss Stone, Michael Franti & Spearhead, War, KC & the Sunshine Band, Booker T Jones, the Beards, Chain and climactically, Elvis Costello & the Imposters. When Booker T recalled how young he was in 1962 when he wrote ‘Green Onions’, it occurred to the V.C. that he was not only older than most of the crowd but most…

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The Big Air Package

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

(by Christo) (2013) We all went to the gasometer near Duisberg to check out Christo’s installation, ‘Big Air Package’. We were sceptical about this Bulgarian wrapper but it was wonderful, a 90m high white balloon that cast an eerie, snow-like glow inside. Afterwards, we had German super-hospitality at dinner and beyond, salted with pessimism about Ms Merkel and the future of the Euro.

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