Making a Splash

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Once upon a time – thirty long years ago, even? – icons were images to be worshipped. Today ‘iconic’ is an overused word for the paradigmatically famous. Not just famous, but so famous as to cause intense feelings of love and, more rarely, hate. Prince Charles’s first wife was pretty well-known anyway, but she became […]

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The picture we have come to call the Arnolfini Portrait is one of the best known, best loved, and most reproduced, copied, satirised and speculated upon in the world. Painted in Bruges by Jan van Eyck in 1434 (the inscription on the wall above a central, round mirror is generally agreed to testify to that), […]

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Voice of Authority

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Ian Bostridge must have got distinctly fed up with the label of ‘the thinking man’s tenor’ that has been tied to his career over the last fifteen years. But what can he expect? His branch of the profession is otherwise hardly noted for its exceptional intellectual achievements, and Dr Bostridge used to be a fellow […]

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Clash of the Titans

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Peter Conrad’s book begins and ends at the edge of Venice, beyond the Arsenal, in a public park that boasts statues commemorating Verdi and Wagner. Whether by accident or design, their location makes it impossible to view both simultaneously. However, as they were born in the same year (1813) and were the pre-eminent opera composers […]

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RLF - March