Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2017

5 (Long) Reasons Why You Should Come to the USA

I try not to write politically charged posts on this blog, preferring instead to keep the focus on art and creativity. But it's been pretty hard to ignore the news lately, and as every day passes I feel more impelled to say something that speaks to the moment.

If you love Donald Trump, you might believe that there is a media conspiracy dedicated to preventing him doing what he was elected to do. If you loathe Donald Trump, you might already think he's done enough to be impeached. Instead of stepping into that minefield, I've just been trying to think of what I would say to a foreigner if they asked me the question: Why should I come to the United States?

It's been almost exactly fifteen years since I moved here from England, so this is partly for my own benefit, too, to enumerate some of the good things I continue to see in my adopted country:

The landscape: the variety of the landscape in the US is incomparable. Things that stand out in my mind after travelling to 36 …

Masterpieces Restored

When you enter the church of St. Sulpice in Paris, there is a small side chapel immediately on the right decorated with murals painted by Eugene Delacroix. Regular readers might know that Delacroix is a particular favourite of mine, and I've always wanted to look at these works, but they've been covered for renovations during my last few visits to Paris. To my delight, they were finally back on display when I went to the church n the middle of January.

On the left of the chapel as you face it, you see Jacob Wrestling with the Angel. Looking up, you see St Michael and the Dragon. On the right, you see Heliodorus Driven From the Temple.



It's always a good question to ask why a public painter chose certain subjects, and these seem at first curious choices. In the story of Jacob, it's possible that Delacroix saw a metaphor for his own struggle with painting. This interpretation is reinforced by clues Delacroix painted into the pile of clothing lying in the foreground: the…

From the Journal of the Society of Arts, February 1864

While researching a new blog post about seeing Eugene Delacroix's murals in the church of St. Sulpice, Paris, I came across this announcement from the Journal of the Society of Arts, 1864:


It's a report of the sale of the entire contents of his studio, which is on the Rue Furstenberg in the St Germain des Pres district -- and which I wrote about visiting two years ago. Certain details indicate the excitement of the writer, even in what is otherwise a report of objects and prices: "contains no less than 858 lots," "numerous and remarkable decorative works of art." It goes on to describe the sketchbooks and watercolours:


The final part of the notice talks about the success of the sale, and the large sums of money being paid for the works:


The final total is between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds, which would be roughly 600,000 pounds at the current exchange (I used a chart from the Bank of England's website to do the conversion). A later notice, at the completio…