Art Quarterly summer 2017 out now

  • 1 June 2017
  • By Helen Sumpter
  • Editor, Art Quarterly

In the new issue of our magazine, Marcia Pointon looks at the iconography of The Monarch of the Glen, Martin Coomer profiles the artists representing the UK at this year's Venice Biennale, Ivo Blom looks at Alma-Tadema's influence on Hollywood, Rachel Spence evaluates the history and immediacy of drawing, and Isaac Julien and Peter Doig meet to discuss art, friendship, collaboration and the late St Lucian poet Derek Walcott.

Attributed to Lagneauor Lanneau, Old Man, undated

Attributed to Lagneauor Lanneau, Old Man, undated

Welcome to Art Quarterly summer 2017. In times of uncertainty it’s all the more important to appreciate and champion the people, places, works of art and materials that have made, and are continuing to make, a positive impact on the world.

That’s why in our summer features section you’ll find a focus on celebration and second lives. Marcia Pointon commends the successful appeal by the National Galleries of Scotland to buy Landseer’s stately painting of a stag, The Monarch of the Glen. Pointon not only delves into the history of the painting as art, and as an example of how we view human-animal relationships, but also explores its ongoing inspiration for contemporary artists and advertisers.

Contemporary art’s most high-profile international showcase, the Venice Biennale, is now open. Martin Coomer profiles the three artists representing Britain, Wales and Scotland, highlights where to see their work nearer to home and looks back over the past 10 years of artists showing in the British Pavilion. Taking up that challenge for this 57th edition of the Biennale is sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who, as an artist in her seventies, is quite rightly now being properly recognised for her work.

Our Face to Face discussion this issue is an acknowledgement of three great artists. Artist-filmmaker Isaac Julien and painter Peter Doig have been friends for more than 35 years but seldom get the opportunity to meet in the UK due to their busy international schedules. We found a rare window in both their diaries to get them together at Julien’s London studio to discuss their own work in relation to Nobel Laureate-winning poet and artist Derek Walcott, with whom both artists had independently collaborated, and who died earlier this year. 

Second lives is more directly the focus of Ivo Blom’s essay on the influence of the paintings of Lawrence Alma-Tadema on Hollywood. With an exhibition of more than 130 works by Alma-Tadema coming to Leighton House in July, Blom highlights how the artist’s images of classical antiquity became the go-to visual references for film directors and costume designers. 

As an industrial product, the subject of the V&A’s new Plywood exhibition has, in the past, suffered from a lack of appreciation. Chris Mugan talks to the exhibition’s co-curator Christopher Wilk, whose enthusiasm for the versatile, hard-wearing, layered material, aims to put that record straight. We also ask another plywood fan, designer Michael Marriott, to pick his top six objects from the show.

European Old Master drawings are the focus of two exhibitions this summer, with drawings by Raphael at the Ashmolean in Oxford and a show of 50 works, from Leonardo to Rembrandt, focused on the relationship between artist and sitter, at the National Portrait Gallery. Rachel Spence looks at the history of drawing as the most powerful and immediate response an artist can make to their world. That this immediacy can be communicated to us, centuries later in drawings like these, is something to celebrate indeed.

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