Saturday, 27 January 2018

Of Charles I, Will Gompertz, this fella, and Andrew Marr


Top part of a Titian

A BBC programme I particularly enjoyed this week was Monday's Start the Week

It looked at King Charles I and his art collection, plus the contemporary art scene.

It was pleasingly rude about contemporary conceptual art and all the "really bad artists" who have made millions over the past few decades. Andrew Marr joined in, though I laughed when Prof. Don Thompson condemned the "dreadful sculptures" of Anish Kapoor and Andrew replied ruefully that he likes Anish Kapoor, only to be told "You're wrong!" by Andrew Graham-Dixon. 

I was particularly struck by Andrew Graham-Dixon's depiction of England over the near century from Henry VII and Edward VI's initial waves of iconoclasm to the beginning of Charles's fascination with art as being pretty much 'a land without art'. He compared their supporters' iconoclasm to that of Maoist China, saying that nearly all art in Britain was destroyed, with estimates ranging from 90% to nigh on 100%. Some 100,000 wooden sculptures alone, he said, were taken to Smithfield and destroyed. Now, it did strike me that the absence of art couldn't have been total given there were portraits, such as those of Elizabeth I and many another Elizabethan notable, but still...Thank goodness we're beyond that way of thinking these days and that no-one but no-one is thinking of tearing down and destroying works of art like statues or stained glass windows

Self-effacing Will Gompertz 

Later in the week shy, retiring BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz did a piece on the News at Six and News at Ten about a new exhibition on Charles's art collection at the Royal Academy, London. Where there's a Will there's bound to be a bit of Gompertzery. Here we had Charles I's wife Henrietta Maria called "his missus" and Anthony van Dyck called "this fella", plus a reference to "this wonderwall of Hans Holbein portraits".

There's an image of a lovely-looking Titian that appeared in his report on his blog - The Supper at Emmaus (which the BBC caption writers managed to misspell). For anyone who likes dogs, it features a dog underneath Christ's table.

A bit from the bottom of the same Titian

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