The Easel

12th March 2024

The meteoric rise of Angelica Kauffman RA

Arriving in London in 1766, Kauffman quickly became famous; ambitious, skilled at using “women’s power” while remaining “brilliantly unthreatening”. Such was her eminence that she was one of just two female founders of the Royal Academy. Admirable, but what about her art? It noticeably gets little coverage in a number of reviews, and one critic explains why. “[Her style] was theatricality … her figures pose with all the subtlety of street signs. [Her art] is frictionlessly fashionable”.

How Peter Blake makes his sculptures Pop

Years before Warhol, Pop had emerged (in name and form) in Britain. Blake was an early figure, notable for his record album sleeves and his sculpture. He “slyly” juxtaposes high and low culture – Beethoven standing next to Elvis, or Hogarth prints next to comics. These works don’t cluster around a single narrative but rather “a proliferation of speculative anecdotes [such as] where are the Disney princesses going?” His work may not be heavily intellectual but is “as delightful as an anecdote can be.”