Editorial

Stonehenge revisited

Disappointment has long been one of the many reactions expressed by visitors to Stonehenge over the last century or so. The monument itself was ‘too small’ to fulfil great expectations; the nearby road traffic was intrusive; the visitor facilities were banal and encroached on the site itself (the Canadian heroine of Margaret Atwood’s novel Lady Oracle (1976), for example, is ‘shocked’ by its fenced-off presentation). Running alongside this deteriorating experience, advances in knowledge, brought about mostly by new technology, have firmly established Stonehenge as one element in a constellation of monuments spread across this part of Salisbury Plain. Just two miles away, for example, ground-penetrating radar has discovered horizontally laid stones, more than fifty, which were later incorporated into the circular enclosure known as Durrington Walls. This is one of several recent finds, based on earlier observations, including henge-like Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monuments, as well as burial mounds and traces of domestic life that have led to a more bustling picture of the area. In 2008 more conventional fieldwork was carried out, especially on the avenue north of ­Stonehenge and the excavation of one of the Aubrey Holes for evidence of cremations. But for decades, Stonehenge was known to the general public as a momentarily startling, pop-up presence, instantly recognisable, seen against the sky from the main A303 road running across Salisbury Plain. While such a view is still attainable, a good deal else has changed for the visitor who goes close to the site.

Read full article
Free review

Late Turner

Having the ability to soar to new heights of creativity in old age is perhaps a key qualification for greatness as an artist. J.M.W. Turner finds a strong place in any list of painters that could be drawn up to whom this applies, as his work became more personal, expressive and experimental late in his career. As such, it was a cause of incomprehension to contemporaries such as Ruskin, although later it became justly celebrated. The reasons for its mature evolution are complex to tease out and include an intensification of earlier pre-occupations and perhaps the sense that as the time left to paint shrank, the desire to achieve more quickened; this was especially acute for Turner as he had an incredibly powerful work ethic. A new sense of liberation also emerged which meant that he was increasingly able to paint for himself rather than the market, as his career had proved so lucrative. Nonetheless, the artist continued to employ strategies that had served him well, travelling across the Continent and gathering material in his sketchbooks until 1845, while also exhibiting at the Royal Academy until 1850. Late Turner: Painting Set Free, seen by this reviewer at Tate Britain, London (to 25th January; then at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, from 24th February to 24th May 2015, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, from 20th June to 20th ­September 2015) explores these themes among others and, perhaps most importantly, sets out to measure Turner’s achievement on its own terms, rather than viewing it as prophetic of later developments in abstraction or modernism – which has been one of the recurring and distracting motifs in Turner studies since the 1960s.

Read full article
  • Image alt

    The Este and the East: unpublished Chinese and Mughal objects from the Wunderkammer in Modena

    By Francesco Morena
    Buy PDF
  • Image alt

    The Linck Hours: a forgotten Paris Book of Hours by the workshop of the Bedford Master

    By Karl-Georg Pfändtner
    Buy PDF
  • A new document concerning Artemisia Gentileschi’s ­marriage

    By Sheila Barker
    Buy PDF
  • The marriage contract of Bernardo Cavallino

    By Francesco Lofano
    Buy PDF
  • Image alt

    The beginnings of the Real Academia de España in Rome: Felipe de Castro and other eighteenth-century pioneers

    By Pilar Diez del Corral
    Buy PDF
  • Image alt

    William Dyce’s ‘Lamentation over the dead Christ’ — a new discovery

    By Carly Collier
    Buy PDF
  • Sicily. Art and Invention between Greece and Rome, C.L. Lyons, M. Bennett and C. Marconi, eds., with A. Sofroniew

    By Julian Treuherz
    Buy PDF
  • Giotto and the Flood of Florence in 1333. A Study in ­Catastrophism, Guild Organisation and Art Technology, E.S. Skaug

    By Victor M. Schmidt
    Buy PDF
  • Giovanni Bellini. La nascita della pittura devozionale ­umanistica, Gli studi, E. Daffra, ed.

    By William L. Barcham
    Buy PDF
  • Piero della Francesca: Artist and Man, J.R. Banker

    By Caroline Campbell
    Buy PDF
  • À la mode italienne. Commerce du luxe et diplomatie dans les Pays-Bas meridionaux, 1477–1530, F. Veratelli

    By Paula Nuttall
    Buy PDF
  • The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings, S.R. Canby

    By Robert Erskine
    Buy PDF
  • Grazia e tenerezza ‘in posa’. Bernardo Cavallino e il suo tempo, 1616–1656, N. Spinosa

    By Stéphane Loire
    Buy PDF
  • The Sheldonian Theatre: Architecture and Learning in ­Seventeenth-Century Oxford, A. Geraghty

    By Richard Hewlings
    Buy PDF
  • Warm Flesh, Cold Marble. Canova, Thorvaldsen and their Critics, D. Bindman

    By Marjorie Trusted
    Buy PDF
  • Ludwig Meidner: Werkverzeichnis der Skizzenbücher/Catalogue Raisonné of his Sketchbooks, G. Presler and E. Riedel, eds.

    By Shulamith Behr
    Buy PDF
  • Matisse – Rouault Correspondance 1906–1953, presented and annotated by J. Munck

    By Nicholas Watkins
    Buy PDF
  • The Myth of Nouveau Réalisme: Art and the Performative in Postwar France, K.M. Cabañas

    By Fiontán Moran
    Buy PDF
  • Late Turner

    By Christopher Baker
  • Anselm Kiefer

    By David Anfam
    Buy PDF
  • Richard Tuttle

    By Martha Barratt
    Buy PDF
  • Autumn contemporary exhibitions

    By Celia White
    Buy PDF
  • The photography of Edwin Smith

    By Owen Hopkins
    Buy PDF
  • Horst

    By Marina Vaizey
    Buy PDF
  • Artists’ mannequins

    By James Ayres
    Buy PDF
  • Veronese in the Veneto

    By Xavier F. Salomon
    Buy PDF
  • Rubens’s ‘Triumph of the Eucharist’

    By Elizabeth Alice Honig,Helen Wyld
    Buy PDF
  • Spanish drawings from Hamburg

    By Zahira Veliz
    Buy PDF
  • Unsettled landscapes

    By Robert Silberman
    Buy PDF
  • Pieter Coecke van Aelst

    By Elizabeth Alice Honig
    Buy PDF