Imaginationist Manifesto – Then and Now

Imaginationist Manifesto (2011) So fragile is the reality of life, that it is not real at all. Man is increasingly discontent with his destiny, for he makes himself more aware of it daily. A destiny he sees to be one of disquietude, disappointments and failures – and yet he does not know what his destiny…

Renaissance or Dark Ages – How Do We Decide?

When Vasari described the Middle Ages as being in a ‘state of darkness,’ he reflected a confidence in his age that was rare in preceding centuries. Without entering into the snobbery of his claim – not only him, of course; Petrarch described the medieval era as being ‘surrounded by darkness’ – and the nobility of…

Art as a Revelation of Human Nature

What is the currency, the ultimate goal of the art historian when he looks back at the art of the past? Is it simply to explain art, to engage with beauty, to come to a definition of beauty? I don’t think art history as a discipline has one unifying aim, but rather it is split…

The Destruction of Art

I have just finished watching Mary Beard’s new series Forbidden Art and my mind whirls with new insights into the nature and power of art. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last few days. Yesterday, as I read for my Zuloaga assignment over a beer at a dive bar, I thought…

A Manifesto for Existential History

I feel the same wonder towards the Parthenon that a Catholic must feel for the Virgin. My atheistic sense of reason has not dulled my sense of the sublime. I seek it not in the supernatural but in the historic, in the artistic, in my fellow man.             During a lecture on Paleochristian art this…

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…