I’m a writer, mainly about art and jazz. I am currently the art critic for The Spectator magazine, and also contribute to many other publications.
My recent books include Spring Cannot be Cancelled, Shaping the World (co-authored with the Sculptor Antony Gormley), In Pursuit of Art, Modernists & Mavericks, A History of Pictures: from Cave to Computer Screen (co-authored with David Hockney) and Rendez-vous with Art, co-written with Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My other books all scrutinize the working process of great painters: nine weeks in the life of Vincent van Gogh; seven years of John Constable’s romance with his wife-to-be; around 250 hours which I spent sitting for a portrait by Lucian Freud; a series of dialogues exploring painting, landscape, space, time and perception with David Hockney; and a biography of Michelangelo Buonarrotti.
New Book – Venice: City of Pictures!
Venice is one of the most cherished cities in the world, with a beauty and character unlike anywhere else. For centuries it was the heart of a global maritime power, and at its heyday its wealth and culture attracted artists from across Europe and the Mediterranean. Today, art lovers from all over the world are drawn to Venice by the countless paintings, drawings and films that have been created in its honour by many generations of artists, each enthralled in their turn by this magical city.
In this book I explore both the history of Venice, and the many artists who have been inspired both by the city itself – and the works it inspired – through the centuries.