The National Gallery at 200


Today is the bicentennary of the National Gallery in London. As my former workplace, and a constant in my professional life for more than a decade, this resonates for me. The Gallery’s collection of old master and early modern Western painting in the world, perhaps the finest if measured by overall quality — it is truly a rarefied selection. It is also one of the UK’s great public institutions, founded by and for the people, it has remained open daily throughout most of its existence (with the exception of the Covid-19 lockdown periods) and provided free access to the public for most of that time.

To paraphrase one of its former director, Kenneth Clark, it has been, and remains, one of the civilising forces of the Western imagination.”

I believe this light show is happening more or less as I write this from my home in Copenhagen, Denmark, to where I’ve happily — but also a little mournfully — returned on a permanent basis.

Radio Rackham: Sarah Andersen


Den her var virkelig en fornøjelse. Vi interviewede tegneren Sarah Andersen står som en af sagsøgerne i et søgsmål mod techgiganterne bag de store AI-drevne billedgeneratorer: Stable Diffusion, MidJourney, DeviantArt og Runway AI. Det blev en tankevækkende samtale om kunstens møde med kunstig intelligens og en tegnerhverdag med 4,3 millioner følgere. Andersen har en dansk far og har dansk pas parallelt med sit amerikanske, så hun kom forbi vores “studie” på Kong Georgs kontor.

Lyt her og læs mere på Nummer9.

Radio Rackham: Rabbinerens kat

Vi er i fuld opstilling denne gang og Henry og jeg kører løs med det jødiske mens de andre prøver at følge med. Det var sjovt at indspille denne episode om en rigtig god tegneserie, Joann Sfars Rabbinerens kat, broderparten af hvilken for nyligt blev udgivet på dansk af Fahrenheit. Der bliver derved også anledning til at snakke den franske nybølge fra halvfemserne og nullerne og Sfars rolle i den dengang der var optimisme og i dag, hvor hans streg er blevet sløv og antisemitisme og anti-muslimsk racisme desværre er støt stigende og et samfundsproblem, Sfar har engageret sig i.

Titian’s Drawings revisited

Titian, Angel, c. 1559-65, Florence, Uffizi

I have a new article out, on Titian’s use of drawing for his narrative works. It attempts to reassess what we know in light especially of a series of new and eye-opening technical discoveries regarding the underdrawing and revisions to his paintings made over recent decades. The volume it’s in, Venetian Disegno. out from Paul Holberton, is really excellent in my opinion, with many interesting contributions. Kudos to editors Maria Aresin, Thomas Dalla Costa, as well as Genevieve Verdigel who co-organised the online conference that started it all, back when we were all locked down.

Maria Aresin and Thomas Dalla Costa, eds., Venetian Disegno – New Frontiers c. 1420-1620, London, Paul Holberton Publishing 2024. It retails at a somewhat reasonable price — more here!

Radio Rackham: Autofiktion


Denne gang snakker vi med Charlotte Fabricius, PhD, om dagsbogstegninger og tegneserier på sociale medier, et vaskeægte massefænomen indenfor tidens  mangfoldige, for ikke at sige fragmenterede, tegneseriekultur. Det er en opdatering både at den klassiske vittighedstegning og af 70ernes selvbiografiske og autofiktive innovationer, primært praktiseret af kvinder.

Radio Rackham: Hayao Miyazaki

Vi tegner et portræt af sensei Miyazaki i anledning af Drengen og hejren, perfekt timet på dagen hvor den modtog en Oscar for bedste Animationsfilm. Jeg kunne desværre ikke være med denne gang, og det ørgrer mig virkelig, for jeg elsker Miyazaki ligeså meget som den næste, men sådan er det og vores gæster Mårdøn Smet og Christoffer Zieler leverer sammen med Thomas (og en tavs, tømmermændsopkogt Frederik på knapperne!) virkelig varen.

Radio Rackham: Jens Peder Agger del 2

Det er en stor fornøjelse af kunne præsentere anden og sidste del af vores store interview med Jens Peder Agger, ft. Carsten Søndergaard. Det er virkelig sprængladt med kontante holdninger, råt for usødet, og tegner et usædvanligt livligt portræt af den danske tegneseriebranche i særligt 80erne og 90erne. Lyt dog først til del 1, hvis ikke du allerede har gjort det. Der er mere på Nummer9, men her er de begge to:

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:

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.