Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) - Adoration of the Magi (c.1480-82)

Myth and Mysticism: Christian depictions of the Nativity

To assess the issues raised by Barthes’ Mythologies (highlighting the tendency of socially constructed narratives, and assumptions to become “naturalised” i.e. taken unquestioningly as given within cultures), first consider his discussion of wine. Barthes notes its adoption as a French national drink…

From Degas to Picasso (or, Revolutions and Institutions)

The Ashmolean’s latest exhibition Degas to Picasso seeks to tell ‘one of the most compelling stories in the history of art – the rise of modernism’. Self-styled as a ‘ground-breaking’ narrative through this truly creative epoch, epitomised by the bohemian atmosphere of twentieth century Paris – it does indeed tell a truly compelling tale. As…

New Landscapes and Old Masters

Last weekend, I visited Liu Dan’s New Landscapes and Old Masters exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. It was one of the most beautiful and most intellectually exciting shows that I have seen for a very long time – and spoke not only to the nature of aesthetic appreciation and presentation, but also the processes…

Short Circuit

Last weekend I was lucky enough to catch ‘Short Circuit’ on the very last day of the exhibition. Short Circuit is a reassessment of the archetypal touring show – currently based at Stryx’s studios at Grand Union, Birmingham.