The Easel

Mortality and the Old Masters

Once museums re-open, will we see our favourite works in the same way? Will we still resonate to the “soulful heft” of Old Masters works, made when pandemics were a constant worry? “I’m interested by an abrupt shift in my attitude toward [Velazquez’ Las Meninas. It] suddenly casts a shadow of … death and disaster. There would never be another moment in the Spanish court so radiant—or a painting, anywhere, so good”.