Tag Archives: defining beauty

Wolfgang Tillmans and his Fragile alter ego

Though reviewers speak blithely of its beauty and the curators wax lyrical over the artist’s sense of the social and the communal, none of these qualities appear to the fore in Wolfgang Tillmans’s 2017 exhibition at Tate Modern. It’s not … Continue reading

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‘Mozart and Salieri’ from Alexander Pushkin to Peter Shaffer

When Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature and still its greatest figure, mooted a tragedy called ‘Mozart and Salieri’ an article had recently appeared in the German music press. The rumour was that Antonio Salieri, a minor composer dead … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Literature in Translation, Music, Pushkin, Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jocelyn Brooke’s ‘Drawn Sword’ — An English ‘Death in Venice’?

I was reading Jocelyn Brooke during a period of thinking again about an old love, the German genius Thomas Mann. Brooke is a serious-minded English writer from the mid twentieth century. He was a fine stylist, and with that went … Continue reading

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Siegfried Kracauer’s idea of ‘Mass Ornament’

Mass society as its own ornament was how the German social critic Siegfried Kracauer understood the street life of the dying years of the Weimar Republic. You can find this clever idea which brings us right to the present day … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Current Affairs, Things German, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Conservative British Childhood Two Hundred Years Ago John Ruskin and his Parents

Ruskin born in February 1819 was five years old when his parents took him to visit the field of Waterloo. It was a moment in an heroic Tory childhood he might like to have remembered better. His autobiography Praeterita records his … Continue reading

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The German 1930s and the Future of Art: more from A Shoe Story

When Heidegger commented on van Gogh’s painting ‘The Shoes’ (aka ‘Boots with Laces’) fifty years, from 1886 to 1936, had passed, and what fifty years, in Europe! Van Gogh himself had expected the nineteenth century to go out with a … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nietzsche on Brahms plus Hegel looks forward to A German Requiem

It’s odd to look into a book on Brahms and the German Spirit and not find either Nietzsche or Hegel represented there. I like much of what Daniel Beller-McKenna has to say and his careful examination  of Wilhelm Furtwängler’s 1933 … Continue reading

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