I’ve been a big fan of Roberto Calasso ever since one of my students introduced me to The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, and I once had the pleasure of hearing him speak at the Italian Cultural Institute in London. On that occasion his love of literature (he is the Chair of the Italian publisher Adelphi), his extraordinary learning, and his powers of communication were all evident. During lockdown I had the chance to read his Tiepolo Pink, and it was an enthralling experience, especially for someone who admires that great Venetian painter and has long been intrigued by Tiepolo’s curious and beautiful etchings. Calasso interprets these as esoteric explorations, and his poetic prose convinces…
I’ve also enjoyed reading Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, another book worth picking up purely for the quality of the prose (I wish I could write this well!). A series of lovingly chronicled walks take Macfarlane along numerous historical and cultural trajectories, circling around his fascination with the poet Edward Thomas and his relationship with the English landscape. I particularly enjoyed the encounter with the artist Steve Dilworth in the Highlands of Scotland. Reading this you will also learn a great deal about trees and rocks!
For those who want to keep up with all of the latest news from the Art World I can recommend Bendor Grosvenor’s extremely well-informed blog Art History News.
Ben Thomas, Reader in History of Art