Ariane Bankes

An Artist for All Seasons

The Art of John Piper

By

Unicorn 472pp £45 order from our bookshop

This monumental tribute to the art of John Piper (1903–92) may look daunting at first glance, despite its powerfully attractive cover, but it quickly becomes clear that nothing less could do proper justice to an artist so protean in his work. Piper’s life spanned almost a century and his creativity took such numerous forms – from painting, collage and lithography to the design of stained glass, tapestries, book jackets and opera and ballet sets; from photography to art and architectural criticism – that even this exhaustive survey can barely keep up with each new development. Indeed, David Fraser Jenkins and Hugh Fowler-Wright make the point that while most of Piper’s contemporaries would refine and develop what they did best, ‘as soon as he was able to do something well, which was often quite quickly, Piper would abandon it to do it in a different way, or to do something else’. His sheer artistic facility, allied with an insatiable interest in architecture, created an extraordinarily diverse artistic output.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,