Q Combinations 21: The big IF of Easter (from AE Housman & Eugène Burnand)

There is an emotional complexity to this wonderful painting by Swiss artist Eugène Burnand. I know very little about him, apart from the usual resort of Wikipedia. But he manages to capture a moment of almost frantic inquisitiveness, as Peter and his young, fellow-disciple John rush in the golden sunrise light to the burial garden. Their faces seem filled with anxiety, confusion, hope, wonder, and longing all at once. Hoping against hope, but fearing a con, or something worse? Could Mary Magdalene, first to visit the tomb, possibly have been right...?

Continue Reading Q Combinations 21: The big IF of Easter (from AE Housman & Eugène Burnand)

Q Combinations 20: The right and wrong ways to make us feel small (with Heaney & Gursky)

It's a standard question for writers (or indeed any type of artist), so E. M. Forster would often be asked who or what had influenced him. In response, he would question, perhaps surprisingly, whether 'influence' was an important category in…

Continue Reading Q Combinations 20: The right and wrong ways to make us feel small (with Heaney & Gursky)

Q Combinations 16: Brassaï’s Grand Central and Emily Pfeiffer’s Blind Architect

I'm haunted by contemporary city life - the millions of parallel lives occupying the same square miles. Christopher Nevinson entitled one of his most striking paintings, The Soul of The Soulless City, and I was thinking about this recently. But…

Continue Reading Q Combinations 16: Brassaï’s Grand Central and Emily Pfeiffer’s Blind Architect