Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews
Linnaeus Tripe? Shades of a minor character in Dickens or Trollope, but in fact the resoundingly named Tripe (1822-1902) was an army officer and photographer, the sixth son and ninth child of a professional middle-class family from Devonport, his father a surgeon in the Royal Navy. He joined, as so many of his background did – younger son, but of a certain social status – the East India Company’s army (the 12th Madras Native Infantry) aged only 17, the third Tripe son to do so. The Company was...
Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa feeeelings. Just like that Morris Albert hit of the Seventies for star-crossed lovers everywhere, I lost count of the number of times I heard that word in this Alan Yentob meets Jeff Koons love-in. Or, more precisely, “feeling” singular, since Koons, one of the most bankable artists in the world, was talking about the “feeeeling” aroused when you looked at one of his art works. The engendered feeling was, we learned, a cross between sex-lust, consumer-lust and...
The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.
Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.
British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.
In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
latest in today
Frank McGuinness' adaptation of bereaved vicar's memoir says a lo...
How heavy is the official hand bearing down on Russian culture today?
Masterful blend of ancient and modern Greek sounds
Another outing for the seminal ‘Spunk’ bootleg
Folk-rock master on Kanye, songwriting, vagrants, cricket and much besides
A bit of everything in theartsdesk's stage tips
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
The story of popular music's ground zero had Little Richard and a big...
Baroque electronics, concert music from a film composer and a multinational...
Schwarzenegger grins through a grim resurrection for the franchise
A tough challenge that rewards strategic play
Best of Britain's young choristers and jazz musicians in fabulous Shak...
First for 14 years from punk original Mark Perry and band
A joyous and brilliantly funny take on Britten's comic opera
Young Brahms and old Dvořák in tragic vein
Dromgoole lets the light into Shakespeare's darkest comedy in this new...