piranesi

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PIRANESI'S ENGRAVINGS: Exploring the dark discomforts of Roman ruins

PIRANESI'S ENGRAVINGS: Exploring the dark discomforts of Roman ruins

When the English author Thomas DeQuincey was describing nightmarish drug-induced visions in his early-19th-century autobiography Confessions of an English Opium Eater, he reflected on curious and compelling images he had never seen. They were a set of engravings by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and DeQuincey referred to...

IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE (DVD): He doth bestride the world . . .

IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE (DVD): He doth bestride the world . . .

My favourite story is the one about the guy whose wife tells him to murder his boss and grab the top job. He does, but then he’s got to kill a few others to keep it. Along the way, as the body count rises, his wife goes crazy with guilt and commits suicide. But instead of giving it all away at this point the guy decides “ah what the...

ANTOINE WIERTZ: Rape, damnation and the art of darkness

ANTOINE WIERTZ: Rape, damnation and the art of darkness

Antoine Wiertz was one pretty sick bastard all right. The gallery he demanded be built to house his gigantic paintings in his adopted hometown of Brussels is  testament to an artist obsessed by death, disembowelment, rape, damnation and a virulent sexuality. Everywhere flesh is impaled or torn, eyes glisten with horror, and spears drive...

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH  by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

If we believe that, as is commonly said, great art is born of great suffering then Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was born to make great art. He certainly exceeded his quota of great suffering. Munch's mother died of tuberculosis when he was 5 and his sister Sophie - the subject of his first major work, The Sick Child -...

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