April 7th, 2007


I was a bit hard on Grunewald. And the Church. So I thought maybe I'd make amends by posting a picture of the Crucifixion that I like.


Perhaps the truth is I don't like any pictures of the Crucifixion.

They're all trying to manipulate me. 

Besides, naked blokes with beards don't do it for me.....

And then I thought of this one.


The Jesus is the least thing about it. 

The people you remember are God the Father and Mary the Mother- figures of immemorial dignity. 

This isn't the picture of a guy being tortured to death. It's the picture of a Mystery.

Masaccio was the first painter to master the third dimension. And it's not just about trompe l'oeil.  

It's about creating a doorway, a gateway, a portal .

Image:Masaccio 003.jpg


If It's The 1930s It Must Be Germany

I'm reading Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper ( which is brilliant, by the way) and I'm struck by how pally the English and the Germans were in the 1930s, always popping in and out of one another's countries on holiday and business as if the little unpleasantness of 1914-18 had been quite forgotten. Stevie is writing (or publishing) in '36 and is very good on the nazis -

Oh how deeply neurotic the German people is, oh how it goes right through and isn't just the leaders, like they pretend in The Times. Oh they are so strained and stretched and all the time they are wanting something so yearningly, it is something they don't quite know, like a dream or something that is out of focus. Oh they are wanting it all the time and stretching out their hands, oh you feel you must cover you face, it is not decent to look at that.

My own mother was in Germany in the '30s and has the albums to prove it - full of pictures of dreamy Rhineland castles and  men in swastika armbands. What was the attraction? Today's mutually peaceful Germans and Brits are much less interested in one another than their grandparents were.