The Easel

Archives: Michael Prodger

22nd September 2020

The greats outdoors: Michael Andrews’ valedictory Thames paintings

Andrews was somewhat famous – he had famous pals (Freud, Bacon and others) and the works he laboriously produced were of the highest quality, “only masterpieces”. Mid-career, he switched from group interiors to landscapes. His last two paintings of the Thames river are “grave and mysterious”. He was dying and, as one writer puts it, “the water becomes a thing of unknowable beauty, halfway between this world and another.”

15th September 2020

Commoner with the divine touch

Raphael was a terrifyingly brilliant teenager. In Florence fame came quickly and, moving on to Rome, a certain reverence. For centuries he was seen as the pinnacle of the High Renaissance, combining da Vinci’s emotion and Michelangelo’s buff bodies. Impressionism diminished his allure somewhat by showing that representation is not the only thing in art. Still, a huge show in Rome reminds us that Raphael was “a genius beyond all measure”.