Lucian Freud and Celia Paul

January 25, 2020 0 Comments
Lucian Freud and Celia Paul

Lucian Freud isn’t one of those big artists whose star quickly fades after death.  To judge by a visit to the Royal Academy exhibition of his self-portraits (it finishes tomorrow), his work still attracts plenty of public interest. The paintings were arranged chronologically, so you could follow easily the track of Freud’s development, and how […]

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A fruit bat, displayed

January 18, 2020 0 Comments
A fruit bat, displayed

This is one of those important, but well-concealed exhibitions that attracts large numbers of visitors mainly by word of mouth.  When I was there, in the cramped basement of the Wallace Collection last weekend, I was surprised to be sharing the space with many others.  Most of them seemed as smitten as I was by […]

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At Strata Florida: Gerald’s vision of male beauty

January 10, 2020 0 Comments
At Strata Florida: Gerald’s vision of male beauty

I’ve been reading the account written by Gerald of Wales of the tour he made, on horseback and on foot, around the perimeter of Wales in the year 1188.  The manuscript – there are actually three versions – is usually called the Itinerary through Wales, and it’s the earliest account of a long journey in […]

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Writing as self-torture

January 3, 2020 0 Comments
Writing as self-torture

In Prague Franz Kafka, then 28 years old, wrote this paragraph in his diary on 12 October 1911: Yesterday at Max’s [Max Brod, K’s close friend] wrote in the Paris diary [K visited Paris in September 1911].  In the half-darkness of Rittergasse, in her autumn outfit, fat, warm R. whom we have known only in […]

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A reader walks out

December 27, 2019 0 Comments
A reader walks out

In the huge and magnificent William Blake exhibition now on in Tate Britain there are many images that were new to me, even though I’d seen the earlier big Tate shows of his artistic work, in 1978 and 2000.  One of them comes from a series Blake produced during the last three years of his […]

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A Czech refugee artist in Mumbles

December 20, 2019 5 Comments
A Czech refugee artist in Mumbles

In the big show of Swansea-themed art currently on in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery are three paintings from the permanent collection I’d not seen before.  They’re by a Czech artist called Ernst (later Ernest) Neuschul.  What intrigued me was a note in the caption for one of them to say that he’d found refuge […]

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Gwirionedd

December 15, 2019 0 Comments
Gwirionedd

Ffordd ddigon cyffredin o ganmol llyfr yw dweud pethau fel ‘allwn i ddim ei roi i lawr tan y diwedd’, neu ‘darllenais i’r nofel hon mewn prynhawn, roedd hi mor afaelgar’.  Nid felly y darllenais i Gwirionedd, nofel gyntaf Elinor Wyn Reynolds.  Ar ôl cwpwl o dudalennau doedd dim dewis ‘da fi ond rhoi’r llyfr […]

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More poetry is needed

December 6, 2019 2 Comments
More poetry is needed

These are dark times.  Walking through the streets of central Swansea, it can seem that the dark is rising.  More shops close with every month, leaving empty and boarded windows.  In some parts only charity, pawn and vape shops appear to be in business.  Never-ending cuts have reduced what were once thriving public and third […]

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On Winchester College

November 29, 2019 0 Comments
On Winchester College

At the weekend we crossed the border to stay with friends in Winchester for a couple of days.  Winchester has a good claim to be called the heart of England.  It was the capital of Alfred the Great, and remained a capital city of some sort until London usurped its title at the end of […]

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August Sander and his Germans

November 23, 2019 0 Comments
August Sander and his Germans

The National Museum in Cardiff is currently showing a generous selection of the portraits of August Sander, possibly the best-known large series of photographs produced in the first half of the twentieth century.  It’s hard to explain how it feels to walk slowly along the gallery of figures Sander captured.  Admiration at the brilliance of […]

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