The Easel

2nd March 2021

The Grand Tour and the Global Landscape

Wealthy young Britons in the 18th century were sent on the fabled Grand Tour of Italy to study ancient art and literature. They learned an idealized landscape – picturesque scenes that expressed “pleasure, power, ownership, and the extraction of value”. The British Empire took these ideas global and, well into the 20th century, landscape painting remained a “contest between the everyday and the ideal, of observed detail versus inherited form”.

A fresh vision for Pompeii as new director is appointed

In 2015, Italy hired a slew of foreigners to improve management of key cultural institutions. One of those appointees, a German archeologist, has now been promoted to manage the Pompeii archaeological site. Traditionalists are (again) affronted, protesting inexperience and the prospect of on-site digital displays, concerts and exhibitions. Meanwhile, the recent discovery of a ceremonial chariot at Pompeii is being called “unprecedented”.

23rd February 2021

The typographic utopia of Tallone Editore

Catnip for bibliophiles. Letterpress printing is now an artisanal process, affordable only for limited editions. Typeface characters, hand carved, are “little sculptures of thought”, their imperfections making the text “warmer”. Rare paper may be French (“Canson, the sublime one”), Italian or Japanese, while the ink should be “bright”, not “mournful”. Pages are cut and bound by hand. The end result – “small conquests of our civilization”. Videos are here.