Saturday, 31 January 2015

Geraldine McEwan RIP

British actress Geraldine McEwan passed away peacefully on Friday, aged 82. She suffered a stroke last October, was treated in Charing Cross Hospital, but never fully recovered. The length of her successful career in theatre, television and films is shown by the two photographs I selected, one when she was young and the second when she starred as Miss Marple in the ITV series from 2004 until 2009. She had an impish quality about her, except when she played the horrendous mother in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, for which she won a BAFTA (CLICK).

Waterloo at Windsor

Today Windsor Castle opened Waterloo at Windsor: 1815-2015, an exhibition to celebrate the Battle of Waterloo 200 years ago, when the Duke of Wellington trounced Napoleon Bonaparte. The exhibition boasts plunder captured after Napoleon's surrender. Shown is An assistant adjusting Napoleon's red cloak. The show costs an arm and a leg: adult £19.20, silver surfer £17.50 (CLICK). My advice is to leave this overpriced show to the tourists and visit the National Portrait Gallery's free exhibition instead (CLICK).

Friday, 30 January 2015

Raif Badawi

The next 50 lashes of blogger Raif Badawi have been postponed for the second week running. Last week a doctor decided that Raif was unfit to be flogged. Today no reason was given for the second postponement. His wife hopes that the new Saudi King Salman will pardon him. There has been international condemnation of the Saudi's implementation of brutal Sharia Law, with protests outside Saudi embassies (CLICK)

Female Artists

The next two exhibitions at the Mall Galleries promote female artists. Minerva X runs from 3 - 6 February and shows the work of 170 Japanese contemporary female artists. This is the first time Minerva has been held in London (CLICK). The second exhibition is Good Figures, which celebrates the enduring appeal of the female figure depicted by 30 contemporary female artists. It runs from 9 - 14 February (CLICK). Shown is Rachel Deacon's Before The Winged Dance (2014). Admission to both exhibitions is free.

Dippy Protests

Yesterday's news that the Natural History Museum in London is to remove "Dippy", its plaster-cast model of a Diplodocus skeleton donated by Andrew Carnegie at the request of King Edward VII, has caused a Twitter storm of protest (#SaveDippy). The furore has made ArtDaily's lead story today (CLICK). Shown is an artist's impression of how the Blue Whale Skeleton will look when installed in 2017. It will be hung in a dramatic diving posture. This whale is a real skeleton, not a cast of an exhibit in a US museum. And whales need our help. They have been brought close to extinction. Dippy's future has yet to be decided. It may go on tour (CLICK).

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Atlantis Ditched

The BBC has announced that it is ditching In The Flesh and its Greek mythology bending saga Atlantis. The last seven episodes of Atlantis 2 will air in the spring. Danny Cohen, the Beeb's controller of television, spouted the following gibberish to Newsbeat (CLICK).

"The thing about our dramas is that if you want to try new things, you have to make room for the new things and you have to stop spending money on the ones that are there already to create the space for the new things. So there was a time when we had to stop doing something in order to create the space for In The Flesh. Now we have to move on again, so that we can keep providing exciting new things for audiences ... So you have to keep creating space, you have to keep trying new things, otherwise you keep offering the audience the things they had before."

In other words: Change for the sake of change and to hell with what viewers want. Thus speaks a man who has reached his level of incompetence. What you should have said, Danny, is that so long as a series is popular and can be sold abroad and the writers haven't run out of ideas, you keep producing it and forget making space for experiments. I'm not writing this in defence of Atlantis. The start of Series 2 looked low budget, badly directed and devoid of fresh ideas. Shown is Aiysha Hart as Ariadne in Atlantis.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Pál Fried

Ever heard of Pál Fried? Neither had I until today. He was a Hungarian artist who emigrated to the United States in 1946 and worked for many years in New York City, painting dancers, nudes and portraits until his death in 1976. Shown is his Ballerina In Pose, which has an estimate of $800 – $1,200 and a starting bid of only $400. What attracts me to this oil painting is that Fried captured both her femininity and her muscles. No matter how pretty she looks, a ballerina without strong muscles won't last five minutes. The painting can be viewed at Susanin's Auctioneers in Chicago, USA. You can bid through (CLICK).

National Gallery Strike

Staff at the National Gallery in London are to go on strike from 3 to 7 February. The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said its members had voted by more than nine to one for industrial action. According to the PCS, the National Gallery has reneged on a promise to introduce the London living wage; it is the only major museum or gallery in London that refuses pay it. The more recent idiocy from the Gallery is to privatise nearly 400 of its 600 staff. This is at least the third strike over privatisation, each one longer than the last. The two strikes in 2014 caused significant room closures, but the Sainsbury Wing remained open (CLICK).

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Holocaust Day

Today is Holocaust Day. It is exactly 70 years since Russian troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp and exposed to the world the horrors within. The photo shows starving and emaciated Romani Children in Auschwitz. Not all victims were Jews, although the vast majority were. More than a million died in Auschwitz, a quarter of them children. The Nazis murdered six million Jews (CLICK). Commemorations such as this serve to rubbish Holocaust deniers, but I can't help thinking it presents a cosy picture of Man's inhumanity to Man being history. The new child killers, the new Nazis, are Islamists (CLICK).

Monday, 26 January 2015

V&A Scare

The Times has uncovered a story about the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Following the murderous attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris by Muslim nutters, the museum was asked if it held any images of Muhammad. It replied in the negative, but then some bright spark pointed out that it owned a modern Iranian poster with the inscription "Muhammad the Prophet of God". The museum swiftly removed the picture from online (CLICK). Isn't it appalling that such a wonderful institution should need to protect itself in this way? Muslims create a climate of fear, then have the cheek to complain about "Islamophobia"!

Cycles Gladiator

Here's one way to advertise bicycles, the French way. Cycles Gladiator (ca 1895) is featured in Swann Galleries' annual winter auction of Vintage Posters in New York on 12 February, estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Many of the posters promote skiing resorts. Early Olympic Games posters are also in the auction. There are Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs, including a set by Alphonse Mucha (CLICK).

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Pale Ale

Spot the mistake in Thomas Woodward's oil painting Hodgson's Brewery (1823). The horses that pull brewers' drays are massive beasts. So the man standing beside a pair of these horses is too big, perhaps because he is the brewer himself. The painting comes up for sale in Bonhams strangely named Knightsbridge auction Gentleman’s Library Sale on 27 and 28 of February with en estimated value of £6,000 - £8,000. CLICK to read an interesting write-up of East End breweries and the origins of Indian Pale Ale.

Pauline Cafferkey

It's good to know that Pauline Cafferkey, the British nurse who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone, is fully recovered, if feeling a bit weak, and was discharged from the Royal Free Hospital in London yesterday. Her condition had been critical for a few days. She gave an interview to BBC News: CLICK.

Ladybird Books

Ladybird Books is celebrating its centenary this year. The familiar ladybird was first registered as a logo in 1915. Generations of children learned to read using the Ladybird method. The books also formed an introduction to art. Shown are Two Ladybird Covers by top wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe (CLICK). As an excellent BBC video explains, a shortage of paper after World War II caused the modern size and format of the books to be created, perfect for small hands (CLICK). To mark the centenary Lawrence Zeegen - Professor of Illustration and Dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communication - has written a new book Ladybird By Design, which will be published in March. He also helped curate the free exhibition Ladybird By Design at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, showing over 200 original Ladybird illustrations from the late 1950s to the early 1970s (CLICK).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Tudor Eye

To accompany BBC Two's dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, tonight BBC Two screens Holbein: Eye of the Tudors - A Culture Show Special. As court painter to Henry VIII, Hans Holbein painted most of the major players of the age. Shown here is his portrait of one of Henry's wives: Anne of Cleves, now in the Musée du Louvre. The programme is directed and presented by that tedious know-it-all Waldemar Januszczak. Did you know that Henry VIII's codpiece was full of sawdust? Find out more tonight at 9pm (CLICK).

King Tut's Beard!

Egypt's Heritage Task Force says it will sue the antiquities minister over a botched repair to the Golden Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun (1323 BC) housed in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. During the removal of the mask from its case to repair lighting, King Tut's beard was accidentally knocked off. A hasty repair by a nervous curator left a crust of dried epoxy glue on the beard (CLICK).

Friday, 23 January 2015

Charlotte Dumas

The Photographers' Gallery in London is currently closed for refurbishment. It reopens on 6 February with Charlotte Dumas: Anima and The Widest Prairies (CLICK). The latter is a film, while Anima is a collection of her photos of horses. Shown is Untitled from the series Anima (2012).

Denial In Davos

At the start of his televised speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince Andrew repeated denials of serious sexual impropriety made on his behalf by Buckingham Palace (CLICK). The trouble with denials is that the more you make them the more people think you have something to hide. His accuser is Virginia Roberts. She released this photo, which I have cropped and refocused, showing Prince Andrew with his arm around her waist. It proves they had a friendly relationship, but is her happy grin what you would expect to see on the face of an under-age sex slave forced into orgies? As for the rest of Prince Andrew's speech, forget it.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tomb Raiders' Haul

Police in Italy and Switzerland have broken a Swiss-based trafficking ring, after a 14-year investigation, and have recovered more than 5,000 rare antiquities. These were looted by tomb raiders across southern Italy and Sicily and were smuggled to Basel, where they were tidied up, issued with forged certificates of authenticity and sold to museums around the world. The treasures include antiquities from the 8th Century BC to the 3rd Century AD, worth an estimated £38 million. Italian art dealer Gianfranco Becchina, who owns an art gallery in Switzerland, has been arrested by Italian police. His Swiss-born wife was arrested in Switzerland. The photo shows some of the haul displayed by police at the Baths of Diocletian national museum, Rome (CLICK).

Tattoo Tribute

This portrait of David Jason as Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses deserves to be in the National Portrait Gallery. Unfortunately it can't be included, because it's a tattoo on a living man. Darren Williams spent a total of 50 hours in a tattoo parlour and paid £4,000 to have characters from his favourite TV show tattooed on his body. I reckon he got his money's worth (CLICK).

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RICS Infrastructure

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced the winner of its inaugural photographic competition focusing on Infrastructure. Sounds boring, but its 10 shortlisted entries out of 300 are top flight. This isn't the winner, but my favourite: Luke Agbaimoni's photo of Poolmans St, Albion Channel, London. The winner was Rita Testa with a photo of railway trains taken from The Shard (CLICK).

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Rubens' Legacy

On Saturday 24 January the Royal Academy of Arts opens Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne in the Main Galleries of Burlington House. The exhibition brings together masterpieces made during Rubens' lifetime with major works by great artists who were influenced by him in the generations that followed. Shown is Pan and Syrinx (1617-19) a joint work by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Rubens painted the figures, Jan Brueghel the landscape. Admission costs £15 for adults, £14 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Democracy Day

Did you know that today is Democracy Day? 750 years ago Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, called the first parliament of elected representatives at Westminster. He was killed by forces loyal to King Henry III at the Battle of Evesham the following year. Shown is a bas relief of Simon de Montfort in the US House of Representatives. 2015 is also the 800th anniversary of King John's putting the royal seal on Magna Carta at the behest of his rebellious barons (CLICK). With an election looming in the UK, with dissemblers on all sides trying to hoodwink the electorate, I wonder if democracy hasn't become a farce.

Monday, 19 January 2015

FBA Futures

The next exhibition to open at the Mall Galleries is FBA Futures, which runs from 26 to 31 January. Members of the Federation of British Artists (FBA) have selected their favourites of work by art graduates of 2014 from across the country. Judging by what I have seen, I'd say 2014 was a bad year. Jessica Oliver's Skellig Isles is outstanding. Admission is free (CLICK).

Graham Little

The Alison Jacques Gallery in west London is currently showing the latest works by Graham Little, painted over the last two years. He uses gouache and coloured pencil on paper. Each painting features a woman against an unsettling background. Shown is Untitled with a suburban housewife doing her thing against a weird landscape. The exhibition is well worth visiting. It runs until 14 February (CLICK).

Sunday, 18 January 2015

In Dog We Trust

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Department in Florida, USA, must be a lot richer than police departments in the UK. This ornate rug was ordered for the sheriff's office. It had been down for a few months before some bright spark noticed a whoopsie. No, not that sort of whoopsie. The centre of the rug should have born the legend "In God We Trust" as on American banknotes and on many government seals. Instead it stated "In Dog We Trust"! The rug has been put up for auction with proceeds going to Canine Estates Incorporated, a local animal rescue centre. A replacement rug has been ordered. Fingers crossed (CLICK).

Made in China

Here's a novelty. On 10 February the Dulwich Picture Gallery opens Made in China: A Doug Fishbone Project and asks "Can you tell the difference between an Old Master painting and a contemporary replica?" Fishbone commissioned a replica of one of the Gallery's 270 Old Master paintings on display from Meisheng Oil Painting Manufacture Co Ltd, a studio in Xiamen in the Fujian province of China with 150 artists churning out replicas of famous paintings. The numerous studios in Dafen Village produce five million replicas a year for the global art market! Fishbone sent a high-resolution digital image to his chosen studio for hand-painted replication. The original painting will be removed from its frame and the replica inserted. Can visitors spot the fake? It will hang in the Gallery from 10 February until 26 April, when it will be revealed (CLICK).

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Wolf Hall

The BBC has adapted Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels about Thomas Cromwell into a six-part drama series: Wolf Hall. I read a Booker Prize-winning novel years ago. It was earnest tripe. I've never read another. The fact that the BBC has chosen BBC Two to air the series doesn't bode well; it suggests a minority interest which Auntie regards as too cerebral for the plebs who watch BBC One. Still, on the bright side Wolf Hall does have Jessica Raine, one of my favourite actresses, playing Jane Boleyn, the wife of Anne Boleyn's brother George. Jane served as one of Anne Boleyn's ladies-in-waiting. Cromwell is played by Mark Rylance, Henry VIII by Damian Lewis. Episode 1 Three Card Trick is on BBC Two on 21 January at 9pm (CLICK).

Cardsharps Update

Last October I reported on the legal kerfuffle over a copy of Caravaggio's The Cardsharps (CLICK). Bill Thwaytes, the previous owner of the disputed painting, has lost his case in the High Court in London. The judge upheld Sotherby's argument that by consulting experts it had done enough to determine whether the painting was a copy by Caravaggio or by a "follower of Caravaggio" as the painting had been described at auction (CLICK). The judge didn't have to decide whether the painting was by Caravaggio or not, merely that Sotherby's had done its job. The truth of authenticity of the painting would make a fine case for Fake Or Fortune?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Anglo-Saxon Relief

This Anglo-Saxon relief sculpture of St Peter, carved in Oolitic limestone in the 10th or 11th century, was found in a garden in Dowlish Wake, a village near Ilminster, serving as a makeshift gravestone for the owner's cat! The Museum of Somerset raised £150,000 to buy it, with the help of an Art Fund grant. Tomorrow it goes on display in the Museum (CLICK).

Guildhall Gallery

Today the Guildhall Gallery in the City of London reopened following extensive refurbishment and a re-hang of paintings. The Gallery was established in 1886 as a "Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city". Shown is a detail from one of its many treasures: Dante Gabriel Rossetti's La Ghirlandata (1873). There is also a Roman Amphitheatre on the site, discovered in 1988. Admission to the Gallery's permanent collection and the Roman Amphitheatre is free. There is a charge for special exhibitions, but they are free to Art Fund members and residents of the City (bring proof of address). CLICK for more information.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Fan Bingbing

On Tuesday I posted news of the Cleavage Furore in China and the belated censorship of the frowned-upon cleavages from historical spectacle The Empress of China, starring Fan Bingbing, who I'd never heard of. I looked her up on Google and she is the richest actress in the world, earning US$75 million last year (CLICK). She is the producer of The Empress of China. No wonder the sets and costumes are so lavish (CLICK).


I abandoned Microsoft's Internet Explorer and used Google Chrome instead.


The first of April isn't the most propitious day for opening a new exhibition, but it's difficult to forget. That's the date the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London has chosen for Ravilious, the first major exhibition of watercolours by celebrated British artist Eric Ravilious (1903-42). Over 100 paintings will be displayed. Shown is his powerful watercolour Caravans (1936). These two caravans were originally used as fever wagons in the Boer War. Ravilious bought them, had them towed to a site on the South Downs, and he and his wife lived in one caravan and used the other as a studio. He was also a war artist and painted for Wedgwood (CLICK).

Microsoft Block

Microsoft is currently blocking my attempts to upload pictures to London Art News and gives me some nonsense about MIME. My every attempt to upload a picture produces the message "Upload failed: Lost connection to server. Retry", which is also nonsense. This has been going on since yesterday afternoon. What makes it particularly annoying is that the picture for my last, unpublished post - Eric Ravilious' Caravans - was singled our for praise by Google. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Art Miles

Recent research shows that although 90% of museum visitors give to charity, only 40% give to museums and galleries. So the Art Fund has come up with the idea of Art Miles. Those who wish to join should donate £20 online to register for their local venue, then walk sponsored miles in the vicinity of that venue. To begin with the venues on offer are Chiswick House & Gardens, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the William Morris Gallery (CLICK). Shown is a public meeting outside the William Morris Gallery in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Cleavage Furore

Episode 2 of the lavish historical drama The First Empress, which serialises the rise of Wu Zetian in the Tang dynasty, was pulled at the last minute, much to the annoyance of its legion of fans. The saga is produced by and stars Fan Bingbing, who has made Hollywood movies. The BBC's John Sudworth in Shanghai found before and after footage of the censors' hatchet job. And yes, the cleavages have been edited out (CLICK). No chance of selling Strictly Come Dancing to the Chinese, Auntie. See the trailer and weep. The lavish sets and costumes put the Beeb's efforts to shame.

Brian Clemens RIP

Modern TV audiences have probably never heard of writer and producer Brian Clemens, but in the 1960s and 1970s he was Mr TV. His credits include The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Professionals, The Baron, The Persuaders, The Protectors, Danger Man, The Invisible Man and Bergerac. He also wrote for a number of US TV shows, including Perry Mason. Shown are The New Avengers: Joanna Lumley, Gareth Hunt and Patrick Macnee (1976-1977). Brian Clemens died on Saturday after watching an old episode of The Avengers. His son Samuel Clemens told the BBC his father's last words were "I did quite a good job" (CLICK).

Monday, 12 January 2015

Boyhood Winner

Richard Linklater's Boyhood, filmed over 12 years with the same cast, was the big winner at the Golden Globe Awards. It follows Ellar Coltrane as Mason Evans Jr, shown here with his "Dad", as he grows up in Texas. The film won best film drama, best director for Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette. American critics have raved about it, but I'm not sure whether it has world appeal. British actor Eddie Redmayne won best actor for playing the young Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (CLICK).

Golden Globes

The slogan Je suis Charlie made a number of appearances in the Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles. British actress Helen Mirren carried a placard. She didn't win anything, but she made her point. Congratulations to Joanne Froggatt, who won a Golden Globe as best supporting actress - series, mini-series or motion picture made for TV. She plays the unglamourous role of maid to Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey. Her character Anna Bates has gone from rape victim, through frigid and worried wife, to suspected murderess without losing credibility, a fine acting achievement. The best animated feature was won by How to Train Your Dragon 2 (CLICK).

Marche Republicaine

Yesterday's Marche Republicaine in Paris, a unity rally in tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, saw an estimated 1.6 million people march from the Place de la Republique to the Place de la Nation and back again by a different route (CLICK). What amazed me were the number of world leaders of different persuasions who saw fit to attend the rally. Shown here is Queen Rania of Jordon talking with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb at the Elysee Palace after attending the Marche Republicaine.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

London French Lit

Famous London landmarks have been illuminated in red, white and blue, the colours of the French national flag, in memory of the victims of the two murderous attacks by Muslim fanatics in Paris. Shown is The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, where a large rally is taking place (CLICK). In Paris, A huge march beginning in the Place de la Republique saw 40 world leaders linking arms, including those as far apart ideologically as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (CLICK).

Artist of 2014

The winner of Artists & Illustrators magazine Artists of the Year 2014 is Camilla Dowse for her acrylic painting Quay Hill, Lymington (2014) which isn't the one I voted for and is a poor choice. The exhibition runs at the Mall Galleries in central London until 17 January, admission free (CLICK). You can see the 50 artworks shortlisted for the exhibition (CLICK) but voting has closed.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Asterix Charlie

Earlier today I mentioned that 87-year-old Albert Uderzo had come out of retirement to pay his own tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Here is one of his new cartoons: Moi aussi je suis un Charlie (I’m Charlie too). If only Muslim crackpots could be defeated as easily as this (CLICK).

Elastic Heart

Whilst googling for something else, I chanced upon this newly released and highly controversial video by Australian pop singer/songwriter Sia. All the buzz lately is of freedom of expression. So grab this. The video for Sia's new single Elastic Heart was directed by Sia and Daniel Askill and features hairy Hollywood hunk Shia LaBeouf and 12-year-old dancing star Maddie Ziegler in a fight cage. The music is dreadful, strangely old-fashioned and lacks any choreographic link to the "dance" movements, but Maddie does an excellent job of acting aggressively. It is easy to see the fight cage as the legal barrier to men seducing young girls. Maddie can slip through the bars of the cage and escape. The man can't. So she teases him with her freedom and his imprisonment. You can see why the video has caused a storm of protest and why Sia felt the need to apologise to her fans (CLICK).

Hayat Boumeddiene

French police are still hunting Hayat Boumeddiene, the common-law wife of gunman Amedy Coulibaly who was killed yesterday when the Hyper Cachet supermarket was stormed. The loud explosions heard turn out to have been booby traps Coulibaly had set up. Hayat Boumeddiene looks as though butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, but police describe her as "armed and dangerous". She was jihadi trained and photos have emerged of her using a crossbow. Police have detained 16 people for questioning (CLICK).

Je Suis Charlie

The declaration Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie) in defiant tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre has swept across western Europe and around the civilized world. Shown is Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's sculpture Je Suis Charlie (9/1/15). Albert Uderzo has come out of retirement to pen two new Asterix cartoons in honour of the victims: Moi aussi je suis un Charlie (CLICK). Meanwhile Saudia Arabia is demonstrating where the killers' brutality and contempt for human life originated: Sharia Law. Yesterday Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the co-founder of website Liberal Saudi Network, received the first 50 lashes of 1,000 lashes outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after Friday prayers. He will receive 50 lashes every week, until the 1,000 has been reached, for insulting Islam. He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison and a substantial fine (CLICK).

Friday, 9 January 2015

Wendy And Me

The curious tale of a blue dog in a bow tie beside a blonde woman begins when a thief walks into the George Rodrigue Studios in New Orleans in broad daylight, lifts the painting from the wall and walks out with it. The painting Wendy And Me (1997) is worth $250,000 (£166,000). A few hours later punk band Stereo Fire Empire find the painting with another artwork and take them to the police (CLICK).

Fanatics Killed

Good news on the Muslim nutter front in France. Police stormed two hostage sites, probably using stun grenades, and killed brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and freed their hostage. Police also stormed the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket, outlined in white, on the corner of the Avenue se la Porte de Vincennes and killed a friend of the brothers who was trying to negotiate their freedom. His name was Amedy Coulibaly and he shot dead a policewoman yesterday. Police freed his hostages, but there were casualties (CLICK)

Gunmen Cornered

The reproduction of Michelangelo's David in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence wears a black arm band and his feet are draped with the French tricolour in memory of those Charlie Hebdo staff who were slaughtered by Muslim fanatics 48 hours ago. The latest news is that the gunmen are holed up in a small printing works in Dammartin-en-Goele, north of Charles de Gaulle Airport, surrounded by police. There has been an exchange of gunfire. The murderers are believed to hold at least one hostage (CLICK). They probably want to go out in a blaze of glory to attain Muslim Heaven. So a tricky situation for the French police.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Greek Torsoes

The Vatican is to make an unprecedented loan of two ancient Greek torsoes to the British Museum in London. They were unearthed in Rome during the Renaissance. The Belvedere Torso (left) inspired Michelangelo's sketch of Adam, a preliminary drawing for the Sistine Chapel. The sketch will be displayed with the Parthenon sculptures owned by the museum, together with a bronze sculpture found on the Croatian seabed. The exhibition Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art opens at the British Museum in March (CLICK).

Dave Brown Cartoon

Yesterday's brutal slaughter of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and staff in Paris by Muslim fruitcakes remains the big art news story of the day. British newspapers condemn this attack on democracy and freedom of expression and most showed photos of a French policeman - a Muslim himself - being killed. I thought The Independent's tribute was apt. It used its front page to display this large Cartoon of a one-finger Salute by Dave Brown (CLICK). The hunt for brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi drags on (CLICK).

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo

My condolences to the staff, relatives and friends of those cartoonists and writers of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who were gunned down by brutal Muslim nutters in Paris this morning. The thugs claimed to belong to al-Qaeda and were heard shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "Allahu Akbar" (God is great). Shown is the last tweet from the magazine just before the attack. It's an ironic New Year greeting to ISIS murderer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to which he replies "And especially good health." Muslims live in a medieval time warp in which everything has been decided till the end of days and life is cheap. Murder, torture, rape, enslavement, paedophilia; these are the actions of the ISIS heroes of Islam. The manhunt for the killers continues (CLICK).