Kandinsky and Keats: Brilliant Painter, Bright Star

This week in the Culture section, Leo O'Donovan, SJ, our go-to guy for all things in the world of fine arts, has a marvelous reviewin our current issue on the spiritual eye of the Russian painter Vasily Kandinsky here.  Kandinsky is the focus of a new exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.  Fr. O'Donovan, in what I think is his best review for us yet, does a superb job of relating how the author's working out of spiritual questions influenced his work, and drawing out the ways that place influenced painting.  His insights will add greatly to your appreciation of this long-misunderstood artist.  Along with his piece we have a brand-new slide-show of some of the Guggenheim's Kandinsky images here. 

And don't miss our beautifully written web-only review, by Maurice Timothy Reidy, of Jane Campion's new critically lauded film, "Bright Star" on the romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne.   We hope Tim will pen more reviews for us in the future.  Here's his opener:

Advertisement

Biopics are a notoriously risky business. Too often the director feels obliged to touch upon every major moment in the life of her subject. But if the subject is well known, how do you recreate these moments in ways that are both familiar and new? In other words, how do you tell the story at hand while preserving the film itself as an original work of art?

The cleverest directors approach their subject from an angle—they seek to “tell the truth slant.” In the case of the famously slippery Bob Dylan, the director Todd Haynes cast several actors in the role of the lead in his biopic “I’m Not There,” including a black boy and a blond woman. In “Raging Bull,” Martin Scorsese avoids the pitfalls of conventional film biography by elevating the life of Jake LaMotta to something close to opera.

Jane Campion chooses a more traditional form of narrative in Bright Star, her study of the life of the poet John Keats. Yet by focusing on just two years in the poet’s life and picking an artist whose life story is only vaguely known to the public at large, she has created a truly original work of art that is worthy of her subject.

Read the rest of Tim's review here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018