Posterity remembers Emma Hamilton as the mistress of Nelson. The reality is her achievements in the society salon were in their way as brave and out of the ordinary as his naval exploits.
From stylised art nouveau temptresses to giant Tintin cartoons, Brussels has an established tradition of putting art on the outside of its buildings as well as inside. The capital’s newest gallery in a former brewery in Molenbeek – the neighbourhood notorious as a breeding ground of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks – captures that spirit.
As if an extraordinary imagination for fantastic, unsettling monsters and a genius ahead of his time for sensitive, naturalistic depictions of ordinary people weren’t enough, Hieronymous Bosch also had a modern knack for successful branding.
An exhibition of the extraordinary output of France’s Henri Cartier-Bresson, hailed as the founder of photojournalism and “the eye of the century”. That is true in the fullest sense of the words, given his exceptional ability to see the telling detail, or, in his own words, to seize the fact related to “the deep reality”.
What exactly is the essence of Belgium? Far harder to pin down than French chic or English sang-froid, the nation’s uneasy mix of Walloon and Flemish, surreal and down-to-earth, all miraculously held together, is perfectly encapsulated by the Atomium – a giant, futuristic structure on the northern edge of Brussels.
Matisse’s Startling Late Works: The Cut-Outs. Tate Modern, 17 April – 7 September 2014 No wonder Henri Matisse is well loved. His works are sensuous, jubilant, gorgeous: they envelop and immerse the viewer in voluptuousness, in light that finds itself materialised as coloured form, coloured space.
A fascination with ruins has not always been with us. It presumes, for one, a linear notion of time, in other words the idea that the past is irrevocably lost. It is also born of a forensic – or archaeological – interest in history, one that sees in broken remains the traces of past acts and endeavours.