The Easel

19th March 2019

You’ll Never Know Yourself: Bonnard and the Color of Memory

A very different view of Tate Modern’s show. Bonnard’s multiple portraits of his wife show that he constantly fiddled and changed his mind. Picasso diagnosed indecision. “Wrong … Bonnard, like many artists, was working to find himself and sort through his past … a form of therapy. [His wife] was Bonnard’s shifting projection of himself [and] color was Bonnard’s arbitrator of emotion.”

Only Human – Martin Parr review: Britain in focus, with a new Brexit twist

How timely – a show about Britishness, just as the Brexit debate peaks. The linked piece airs criticisms of Parr; a lover of kitch, satire lacking in compassion. Fellow artist Grayson Perry disagrees: this work “hovers uncomfortably between comedy and tragedy … humour bleeds through all these photographs, but also compassion … one of the foremost chroniclers of our times.”

12th March 2019

The Helmet Heads review – Henry Moore should never have gone near a chisel

An excoriating review. Moore’s fascination with armour led to a decades-long series of modernist heads. “The Helmet Heads are Moore’s answer to Bacon’s screaming popes. The trouble is, they have none of Bacon’s cruel genius. [They have] neither the immediacy of a photograph nor the imaginative impact of truly original art. Moore is always a few miles from life.”

Is the Renaissance nude religious or erotic?

Nudes in the early Renaissance were most common in religious art, their realism serving to portray Christ’s sacrifice. New humanist ideas about beauty led to a sly eroticism. Male nudes particularly showed this, reflecting a society where same sex male relationships were common. The Reformation tried to re-establish modesty but “after the Sistine Chapel, “everyone wanted their artists to paint nudes.”