‘Medieval Bodies’ by Jack Hartnell

‘Medieval Bodies’ by Jack Hartnell

I was lured into reading this book by the extraordinary cover art: a giant monochrome human figure raises their head to reveal the anatomical structure beneath their skin. These scientifically rendered innards have been overlaid with brightly coloured demons, angels, strange creatures and abstract forms from the margins of manuscripts. The cover art encompasses the [...]

Last Supper in Pompeii

Last Supper in Pompeii

Pompeii is a vibrant presence in our cultural imagination. Many of us will have learned about it at primary school: how the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE froze a moment of historical time, preserving forever the objects of daily life under the Roman Empire. Life and death are deeply intertwined here: it [...]

Van Gogh and Britain

Van Gogh and Britain

Van Gogh’s art is so multi-dimensional, so broad in its influences, that there are countless different “Van Gogh and…” exhibitions just waiting to be curated. We could have exhibitions on his relationship to Japan, France and the Low Countries, or his reception in the USA after his death. Like Picasso after him, Van Gogh was [...]

Pig Earth

Pig Earth

Two fraud inspectors find 63 year old Marcel illegally distilling gnȏle and tax him 206,400 francs. The next day Marcel forces the inspectors into a windowless barn at gunpoint. He locks them inside -  with a bottle of gnȏle to comfort them. There is a tax to pay on pain, he tells them. The inspectors, dazed [...]