The decadence and darkness of Symbolism

Caresses, by Fernand Khnopff Decadence and Dark Dreams: Belgian Symbolism Ralph Geis (ed.), Hirmer, 2020, hardback, 336pp, fully illus., €45/£42/$50 ALEXANDER ADAMS immerses himself in disquiet and dreamscapes Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie exhibition of Belgian Symbolists, Decadence and Dark Dreams: Belgian Symbolism, closed last month. As few were able to attend, for obvious reasons, this article…

From iconoclasm to ruins

All paintings by the author ALEXANDER ADAMS surveys the story of deliberate destruction We are familiar with the folly and – from the Baroque period onward – the purposefully constructed ruin used to enhance the pathos of a place, most especially a view of a country estate. This would be a view that could be…

Auntie’s anti-conservatism

ALEX PUGH suggests some reasons why the BBC is so leftwing I first worked in the BBC in 1981 in its Birmingham Pebble Mill studio. I well recall its large bar, where I sometimes drank with a middle-aged producer. One day, a Cheltenham MP named Charles Irving was in the news. This producer said to…

English impressions

The Wilton Diptych SELBY WHITTINGHAM looks back on a life in the arts, from the New Elizabethans to Generation Z The latest bout of iconoclasm has produced renewed demands for a statue of Cecil Rhodes to be removed from a building built with his money at his and my alma mater, Oriel College, Oxford. The…