Carel Fabritius’s ‘A view of Delft’

May 22, 2020 0 Comments
Carel Fabritius’s ‘A view of Delft’

You can take a train to Delft – or you could, in pre-Virus times – walk to the corner of Oude Langendijk and the Oosteinde in the city centre, look to the north-west, and see what the painter Carel Fabritius saw there on a bright summer’s day in 1652.  A few things have changed, it’s […]

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On sparrows

May 15, 2020 0 Comments
On sparrows

Obituaries lift the heart.  They’re the part of any newspaper or magazine to turn to first if you want to cheer yourself up by reading about the positive side of human nature.  At the moment, when the news pages resemble an unending nightmare by Hieronymus Bosch, that’s especially true.  Last week I read on Twitter […]

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Covid-19: pam mae Prydain mor drychinebus?

May 8, 2020 0 Comments
Covid-19: pam mae Prydain mor drychinebus?

Erbyn hyn mae’n amlwg fod Prydain yn dioddef o’r pla yn waeth nag unrhyw wlad yn Ewrop.  Amlwg hefyd mai esgeulustod llywodraeth y DU yw un o’r prif resymau.  Ei methiant i ymateb i’r firws yn brydlon.  Ei methiant i ddarparu offer ar gyfer unedau triniaeth ddwys, a dillad i warchod pawb oedd mewn cyswllt […]

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Durer’s ‘A heavenly body’: painting apocalypse

May 4, 2020 0 Comments
Durer’s ‘A heavenly body’: painting apocalypse

Albrecht Durer surely had the sharpest eye of any painter.  Think of his watercolour A big piece of turf, made in 1503, half a millennium before the hyperrealist painters of our own time.  Or the astonishing sketch of his own head and hand on the reverse of the painting in Paris known as Portrait of […]

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Cefn Bryn and the painters

May 1, 2020 1 Comment
Cefn Bryn and the painters

Looking out of the window of my lockdown attic, I’ve a south-west view of south Gower.  If I stretch my neck I can see the eastern end of the ridge of Cefn Bryn, the long sandstone backbone of the peninsula.  All through the bright days of April the sun has set, often spectacularly, on one […]

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‘Reports of my death’: the many lives of Jean Rhys

April 25, 2020 1 Comment
‘Reports of my death’: the many lives of Jean Rhys

False news is now so natural a part of our world that few people are surprised to read about the deaths of people who remain stubbornly alive.  There are plenty of examples, many of them recent.  Wikipedia lists over 300 in one of its more amusing pages, List of premature obituaries. The ‘reported death’ people […]

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Circles of light

April 18, 2020 0 Comments
Circles of light

A virus, the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, is ‘an infectious, often pathogenic agent or biological entity … able to function only within the living cells of a host animal, plant, or microorganism’.  It’s a dark and invisible thing, that threatens suffering and destruction.  William Blake knew about the terrors it would bring: O Rose […]

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One hill, two painters

April 10, 2020 1 Comment
One hill, two painters

Peter Wakelin’s book Refuge and renewal: migration and British art, written to accompany his exhibition of the same name – its run in MOMA Machynlleth was sadly curtailed by coronavirus – is a rich source of information about artists who fled to Britain to escape the Nazis.  A name he mentions in passing on three […]

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Ar ôl Covid-19: beth?

April 3, 2020 0 Comments
Ar ôl Covid-19: beth?

Dyw’r firws ddim eto wedi cyrraedd ei anterth.  Ond eisoes mae llawer o sylwebwyr yn edrych ymlaen at y cyfnod ôl-Govid-19 ac yn gofyn y cwestiwn, a fydd pethau’n hollol newydd, yn ein bywyd cyhoeddus, ar ôl i’r afiechyd gilio, neu, a fydd popeth yn dychwelyd i’r patrymau a fu?  Mae’n gwestiwn da. Y man […]

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Lludd and the three plagues

March 30, 2020 2 Comments
Lludd and the three plagues

Lludd, son of Beli Mawr (‘Lud’ in English) is king of the Island of Britain, and a wise and successful ruler.  From his capital, Caer Lludd (London), he takes care of his subjects, housing them well and supplying them with ample food and drink.  One of his brothers, Llefelys, is king of France.  So begins […]

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