Where is the Art of the Environmental Age?

Nature has long been man’s primary source of beauty and wonder. Ever since our minds were forged in the savannahs of our species’ youth we have sought out landscapes, seascapes, the shade of trees, the touch of fresh water, with the same instinctive lust as we sought out the beauteous in our own species.            …

The Reconversion of the Hagia Sophia

Heaven on Earth “And we went into the Greek lands, and we were led into a place where they serve their God, and we did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth; and do not know how to tell about this. All we know is that God lives there with people and…

Piety and Humanity: The Last Years of Caravaggio

As a Maltese man writing about Caravaggio I feel a sense of privileged connection that I am deprived with so many a great artist. Growing up I always remember Sunday visits to the St. John’s Co-Cathedral. A masterpiece which, even without its Caravaggios, ranks, personally, as one of the most awe-inspiring church in Christendom.            …

Historical Impressions II

History as Religion In a secular age that is bereft of the overwhelming, sweeping influence of religion, a gap is left behind that needs filling. Whilst the overthrow of religion is a necessary evil for the sake of a liberal, scientific, democratic society, it nonetheless deprives us of a many numinous needs. And I’m not…

Misogyny Is Winning the Art War

This morning, like most people, I woke up with headlines of the news of Sarah Everard’s tragedy, which I don’t need to delve into as most of you already know the story.             What struck me most – apart from the obvious horrors of it – is the photograph that is doing the rounds (gone…

The Classic and the Contemporary II

Fatima, Jordan Casteel, 2018 Is it possible to be a successful, mainstream artist in the 21st century without being socially engaged? Has art moved on from being a source of pleasure and become an act of social engagement? Is this a good thing?             These are some of the thoughts that came to my mind…

The Fallen Warriors of Aphaia

There is no greater holy grail for a natural scientist than capturing evidence of evolution happening before his very eyes, a moment that freezes the metamorphosis between one species into another, or merely a new mutation.             Art historians are also sometimes let in on such a rare, wondrous moment. I can think of no…

Bull-Leaping Minoans

What was the first European civilisation? How do we know they were truly European? And ought we be proud of the legacy these forefathers unwittingly initiated?             These are the kinds of questions that sail round one’s mind when reading about the Minoan civilisation.             Despite the beauty of the ruins found in Crete, the…

The Fayum Portraits

The Fayum Portraits How do civilisations die out? Are they wiped out by conquerors, decimated by natural disasters, emaciated by ongoing famine? Is it really that straightforward a question to answer?             Art has always been a marker for civilisations, a culture’s own self-made DNA. Archeologists and historians can date artifacts by their artistic styles,…