SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Daisy Dunn

July 30, 2020
It’s hard to imagine a Roman emperor urging his people to lose weight and exercise. Augustus advocating Atkins? Caligula calorie-counting? Nero singing the praises of negative reps and bicep curls? The Romans, long idolised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were notoriously gluttonous. Their dinners ran from eggs to apples and featured such delicacies as dormice
December 30, 2020
Purists may blanch at the invented dialogue and contemporary flourishes with which Fry embellishes his narrative. But to do so is to neglect the fact that the myths have been evolving and mutating since long before they were written down.
February 07, 2019
Most of the archers in Michelangelo’s Archers Shooting at a Herm (c 1530) have forgotten their bows. They stretch as if to draw their strings, lean in towards the target, muscles taut, back feet aloft, and miss. Arrows fly through the air and rebound off the base of the statue. A couple of putti kneel
October 11, 2018
Mantegna and Bellini offer an exquisite game of spot the difference, says Daisy Dunn Mary clings to her tightly swaddled son in Mantegna’s Presentation of Christ in the Temple (c1454). As Simeon reaches out to receive him, she seems reluctant to let him go. There is little of the temple architecture in the painting. It
January 04, 2018
Impressionists in London Tate Britain, London, until May 7 My morning commute takes me across the Thames via Charing Cross Bridge and through Trafalgar Square towards St James’s. Going around Impressionists in London at Tate Britain, I might have been retracing my footsteps, only Monet and Pissarro found beauty and stillness where too often I
September 14, 2017
When you look at his watercolours you tend to picture John Singer Sargent lying on his front. Whether he was painting the prow of a ship or the columns of a tempietto, his perspective was that of a man craning his neck from his position on a picnic blanket. It takes a while to get
September 29, 2016
Abstract Expressionism Royal Academy of Art, until January 2, 2017 Last time there was an exhibition in this country dedicated to Abstract Expressionism the movement was in full swing. It was 1959, and Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still were covering their monumental canvases with colour or, as often, with darkness.
February 04, 2016
Painting the Modern Garden – Monet to Matisse Royal Academy, London, until April 20 How exhilarating it is to come in from the February cold and find gardens blossoming indoors. In this perfectly timed exhibition, poppies and chrysanthemums, fruit trees, irises, palms and water lilies threaten to push through canvases like windows in a greenhouse.
October 22, 2015
The Spanish artist, subject of a major exhibition at the National Gallery, both celebrated and satirised Catholicism. Was he the most hypocritical artist who ever lived?
June 18, 2015
It can be hard to see what the fuss about Eileen Cooper is all about
May 07, 2015
A retrospective of Mac Conner's illustrations showcases his visionary talent
March 19, 2015
The National Gallery's new show presents the Impressionists as bold heirs of Delacroix and Courbet
February 12, 2015
The first exhibition at a new drawings gallery in London is full of curious treats