Michelangelo: The British Museum drawings

Michelangelo, A study of a seated nude man for the ‘Battle of Cascina’. 1504-5, London: The British Museum

I’ve had the plesure of contributing an expansive, critical essay on Michelangelo’s life and art to a monumentally conceived, high-end compilation volume of the Michelangelo drawings at the British Museum, published by Spanish book afficionados Artika Press. It consists of two volumes, the central one of which includes high-quality, full-size reproductions of all the drawings, while a study book includes essays on the drawings by my excellent colleagues at the British Museum Hugo Chapman and Sarah Vowles, in addition to my essay. They are encased in a glriously wild case featuring a relief reproduction of Michelangelo’s David!

The essay was a thrill to write and I’m excited to be in such great company and to find publication under such fantastic conditions. Simply titled “Michelangelo: Life and Art”, my essay starts like this:

 

Michelangelo made modern art. Not alone, not

on his own, but if we were to point to a single

artist responsible for establishing in our collective

consciousness the notion of art as self-expression, it

would be he. And he did it on a scale unmatched by

his contemporaries, giving his art a heroism integral

to our narrative of his pre-eminence. Yet there are

also profound intimacies to his work, emotional

disclosures—even vulnerabilities. This dichotomy,

surely, has been crucial to his position at the centre

of the western canon.

 

Here’s an image of the product, which I believe retails at a price beyond most of our means.

 

 

 

See more on the Artika website.

 

Sebastiano del Piombo: Caricaturist?

Sebastiano del Piombo, Polyphemus, fresco, 1511-12, Rome, Villa Farnesina

I am continuing my writings about sixteenth-century caricature, grotesque (see also here) and what I’d call proto-cartooning with an article in the anthology Grotesque and Caricature: Leonardo to Bernini, ably edited by Rebecca Norris and Lucia Tantardini and just published by Brill. The article, “Sebastiano’s Caricatural Gesture and the Path to Idealism”, focuses on Sebastiano del Piombo who never actively pursued the grotesque or even the broadly caricatural, but nevertheless incorporate a certain caricatural simplification, even abstraction, in his art that among other things strengthened the spiritual message of his art.

The book has plenty of fascinating articles on the subject of early modern caricature and grotesque. Well worth seeking out for people interested in the subject.

Rebecca Norris and Lucia Tantardini, eds., Grotesque and Caricature – Leonardo to Bernini, Leiden: Brill, 2024, pp. 55-78. Find it at your local art library. See more here.

Radio Rackham: Jens Peder Agger – del 1


Det var med stor glæde, at Thomas, Frederik og jeg — hjulpet og assisteret af dansk tegneseries nestor Carsten Søndergaard — drog til Lyngby for at interviewe den 80-årige tegneserielegende Jens Peder Agger. Agger var en nøgleperson i det danske tegneserieboom i anden halvdel af 70erne og gennem 80erne, først som aktivistisk bibliotekar og kritiker dernæst, og helt afgørende, som redaktør på Carlsen, men også i en kortere periode på Borgen og fra 90erne og frem på sit eget forlag Bogfabrikken. Han introducerede danske læsere for det nybrud, den internationale tegneserie oplevede i 70erne og fastholdt et blik for det udfordrende, men også det populære. I dag er han ved at dø af kræft. Vi er derfor enormt glade for at kunne viderebringe hans eget tilbageblik, råt for usødet.

Anden del på vej. lyt her og læs mere på Nummer9.

Radio Rackham: Franquin 100!


Den her havde jeg virkelig set frem til. Vi har gerne ville lave noget om Franquin i lang tid og så fyldte han 100! Nu skulle det være. Vi mødte op i fuld opstilling hos selveste Peter “Valhalla” Madsen og det blev en både hyggelig og oplysende samtale, synes jeg. Dertil kom, at den gode Mads Stoumann, dengang vi interviewede ham i forbindelse med vores Fantask-udsendelse, havde tilbudt os et interview, han og en kammerat lavede med mesteren selv tilbage i 1985. Det fik vi også med! Jeg er biased, men det her er afsnit er pakket med godt!

Arkiv: Glemt efter 15 minutter

I dagens anledning offentligør jeg her min anmeldelse fra 2014 af Erik Svanes og Thierry Capezzones Daisy bind 1, en tegneseriebiografi over Dronning Margrethe. Den blev oprindeligt skrevet til dagbladet Information, men aldrig bragt. God fornøjelse!

Det er sjældent, at en ny tegneserieudgivelse får bred mediedækning, at den foromtales og anmeldes i de store dagblade og får plads på morgen-tv og i Smagsdommerne. Men det sker, og det sker som journalismens principper foreskriver, når der er en ’historie’ i det. Dvs. en krog at hænge skidtet op på, så sendefladen og spalterne ikke tynder ud. Det amerikanske begreb ’gimmick’ ligger lige for.

Radio Rackham: Chris Claremont


På årets sidste dag fik vi lagt et grundigt interview med selveste Chris Claremont op som både pod- og videocast. Det var en fornøjelse at møde manden bag min barndoms X-Men-læsning og interviewe ham på scenen på Bogforum, og det var intentionen at optage samtalen og lægge den op som podcast dengang, men vores udstyr fejlede. Det var derfor fantastisk at få muligheden for at lave dette interview, og ikke mindst at lave det sammen med Henry Sørensen, som skulle have været der, men ikke kunne, ude i Forum.

Claremont er meget talende og har snakket om de her ting i årtier, men jeg synes man får meget for sin tid — der er mange oplysninger at hente, han giver et interessant kig ind i sin arbejds- og tankeproces og selvom han undgår at blive for negativ, fornemmer man klart hans professionelle frustrationer og uenigheder mellem linjerne. Det kræver nok, at man interesserer sig for the X-Men og Marvel, men hvis man gør, er det virkelig et interview med vitaminer, synes jeg.

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas everyone! This one I’ve chosen to mark with a picture that’s very special to me: Baldassare Peruzzi’s Nativity, which has recently gone on view at the Ulster Musueum in Belfast. They acquired it last year after it was export stopped by DCMS and I was involved in securing it for the Nation, acting as its “champion” (ie. person in charge with finding an institution that will offer a price that matches its temporarily export-barred sale). Full credit of course goes to Anne Stewart, director of the Ulster Museum, who saw the potential of its acquisition for Belfast and raised the funds to achieve it. The picture was subsequently with our conservators at the National Gallery, cleaned and restored by Olivia Stoddart. It was a pleasure thus “living” with it for about a year.

This is not only the first Italian Renaissance painting to enter the collection, but an incredibly rare piece of the so-called Roman High Renaissance, ie. that crucial period in the first few decades of the sixteenth-century when artists, poets, humanists reshaped our culture, defining core aspects for what we call the modern era. Peruzzi was friendly with, and worked alongside such key figures as Raphael, Michelangelo, Bramante, and Sebastiano del Piombo. Primarily an architect, secondarily a freso painter, only htree or four easel paintings by him survive and this one is the finest. Before its recent sale, it belonged to the family of the great connoisseur, curator at the British Museum, Philip Pouncey who died in 1990. I hope he would have been happy with its entrance into such a fine national collection.

Check out this short video on X, featuring Anne, Olivia, Marika Spring, Head of Science at the National Gallery, and myself talking about the picture.

Radio Rackham: Strids den Fantastiske bus


Den her sneg sig ind, da vi i sidste øjeblik skulle have et cast i kassen, hvilket ofte resulterer i gode afnit. Vi byggede videre på ideen i min anmeldelse af Strids nye magnum opus om, at Den fantastiske bus‘ rejse har endestation i Elysium, de evige jagtmarker, Astrid Lindgrens Nangijala. Det var fedt, at gå på opdagelse i en af årets udgivelser med de briller på!