He Knew What He Liked

Posted on by David Gelber

By the time I registered as a postgraduate student at the Warburg Institute in 1977, its former Director, Sir Ernst Gombrich, had already retired some years before and was a slightly mysterious figure, occasionally to be spotted shuffling through the bookstacks, and rumoured to be working on a history of attitudes towards primitivism. In the […]


Posted on by David Gelber

In 1926 Max Beerbohm reflected that the world ‘is not likely to find caricature essential to its future happiness’. Certainly it remains an endangered graphic form. The threats come from within – from lazy second-raters who are happy to confect Harold Wilson out of a pipe and a Gannex mac – and from without. Currently […]

Art Writing as Gossip or Sociology?

Posted on by David Gelber

James Fenton is a poet and a hack – not just any hack; he was one of the valiant few who stayed on in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon – so you can be sure he will never be boring. In Borneo, he recalls, he and his party had to join their guides in […]

Three Attempts on Michelangelo’s Life

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Of all the Old Masters, Leonardo and Caravaggio are undoubtedly the media darlings, subject to a ceaseless tide of speculative claim and counter-claim (the new loo paper dispensers in my local leisure centre are made by Da Vinci Solutions: is there nothing he couldn’t turn his hand to?). But that grumpy old man-mountain Michelangelo continues […]

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Declarations of Intent

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

For Gabriele d’Annunzio the love of war was more than a literary conceit. The self-styled ‘poet of slaughter’ was also an officer who served in some of the bloodiest campaigns in the Italian offensive against the Habsburg Empire during the First World War, an offensive for which he had campaigned fiercely. Over a million soldiers […]

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