Art

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Stravinsky and Roerich

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) – the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, after The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911) – was written for the 1913 Paris season, and premiered just over a hundred years ago, on 29 May, in the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The centenary of this most notorious…

Three Ukiyo-e Prints: Hiroshige and Kubo Shunman

With its range of markets – particularly the Saturday and Monday markets on Noordermarkt – and its galleries and shops along Spiegelgracht, there are plenty of opportunities in Amsterdam for buying Japanese prints. Here are three I bought recently: The first two prints are by Hiroshige, from his series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Yedo Hiakkei), which he…

Van Gogh in Paris: The Radicalising of a Palette and a Brush

Van Gogh in Paris: The Radicalising of a Palette and a Brush

A few weekends ago, I began what is intended as a short series, impelled by the selection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh which have been on show at the Hermitage Amsterdam. The exhibition there, entitled Vincent, comprised a thematic arrangement of seventy-five paintings whilst the Van Gogh Museum was undergoing refurbishment. It came to a close – having run…

Mike Kelley Retrospective at the Stedelijk

Mike Kelley Retrospective at the Stedelijk

The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s home of modern and contemporary art and design since 1874, was forced to close for renovation in late 2003. Moving into the Post CS building – situated in the docklands to the north of the city centre – for four-and-a-half years, from 2008 the Stedelijk’s collection was without a home, the museum maintaining a presence through…

Peter the Great at the Hermitage Amsterdam, and Netherlands-Russia Year

Peter the Great at the Hermitage Amsterdam, and Netherlands-Russia Year

2013 is Netherlands-Russia Year, a year of bilateral events depicting and emphasising, celebrating, and perhaps even serving to enhance the relationship shared by the two countries. Whilst the official opening of this bilateral year is yet to take place – it will be marked on April 8 in the Netherlands, and a month later in Russia – an extensive events…

Pierrot Through the Arts: The Cultural History of a Sad Clown

Pierrot, the sad clown, with white face and loose white blouse, expressing slowly and subtly and in the absence of and beyond words, emerged in the nineteenth century from his roots in stock comedies and pantomimes to become the embodiment of a certain artistic type, a specific strain of artistic emotion: sensitive, melancholy and solitary, and at once playful and…

Watercolours for a Children’s Story

Watercolours for a Children’s Story

A number of years ago, with my partner and I living in Umeå in the north of Sweden, my partner was afforded the opportunity to study for six months in Istanbul. So we went and we lived in Istanbul for about six months, from the beginning of a September until the latter days of the subsequent February. My partner was…