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January 2019

Vol. 161 | No. 1390

Westminster Abbey and its collections


The year of Leonardo

Five hundred years have passed since the death of Leonardo da Vinci at Amboise on 2nd May 1519. His reputation, which has never stood higher, might be summed up in the judgment of one famous critic: he is ranked with Phidias among artists ‘incapable in their way, of any improvement conceivable by human mind’.1 These are the words of John Ruskin, whose birth in London on 8th February 1819 is another major anniversary being celebrated this year, with a programme of exhibitions, conferences and other events scarcely smaller than that devoted to Leonardo, albeit more confined geographically.2

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Free review

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue. Whitechapel Gallery, London

Elmgreen & Dragset’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, plunges visitors into an empty swimming pool. By way of an anticlimactic centrepiece, the duo have transformed the main gallery into a derelict municipal space titled The Whitechapel pool (Fig.28). The turquoise basin is scattered with rubble and bordered by tiled walkways. The surrounding walls are coated with flaking, filthy paintwork; there are railings, a lifebuoy and a faint whiff of chlorine in the air. And yet none of it feels quite real.

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  • MARKS_Westminster_Fig02

    The medieval glazing of Westminster Abbey: new discoveries

    By Richard Marks
  • Litlyngton

    Royal ceremonies in the missal of Abbot Nicholas Litlyngton

    By Jayne Wackett
  • wooden-effigies

    Royal wooden funeral effigies at Westminster Abbey

    By Susan Jenkins,Krista Blessley
  • Gordon

    Bicci di Lorenzo’s altarpiece for the Compagni family chapel in S. Trinita, Florence

    By Dillian Gordon
  • Higgot

    Sir Christopher Wren’s failed project for a crossing tower and spire at Westminster Abbey, 1713–25

    By Gordon Higgott
  • Jenkins-intro

    ‘Sunbeams and shadows’: exhibiting the collection at Westminster Abbey

    By Susan Jenkins
  • Ribera: Art of Violence. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

    By Gabriele Finaldi
  • Armenia! Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    By Lynn Jones
  • Florence and its Painters: From Giotto to Leonardo da Vinci. Alte Pinakothek, Munich

    By Joost Joustra
  • Theodoor van Loon: A Caravaggist Painter Between Rome and Brussels. Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (BOZAR)

    By Gianni Papi
  • The Orléans Collection. New Orleans Museum of Art

    By Eric Zafran
  • Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome. The Frick Collection, New York

    By Reinier Baarsen
  • Edward Burne-Jones. Tate Britain, London

    By Martin Harrison
  • Anni Albers. Tate Modern, London

    By Charles Darwent
  • The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India. Asia Society, New York

    By Rebecca M. Brown
  • Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue. Whitechapel Gallery, London

    By James Cahill