Ilya Repin

Over at Book Drum I’m busy working on my entry to the second annual Book Drum Tournament, compiling a profile of War and Peace. I’ve found I’ve been using a lot of paintings by Ilya Yefimovich¬†Repin to illustrate things. He was painting after the time W&P is set, but not long after it was written,…

On Beauty, and On Impostors

As I mentioned in my last post, I read On Beauty, edited by Umberto Eco, a while ago. It’s a heavily illustrated, glossy, ordinary-sized book that wants¬†to be a coffee-table-sized one; a brief history of the concept of beauty in Western civilisation, accompanied by well chosen pictures and sections of quotes by various thinkers. Although…

Mouthing the Words

The other day – by which I mean last December – I was on the tube, sitting opposite a woman of about twenty or so. My strongest memory of her is of an overriding sense of marshmallow pinkishness. Everything she was wearing seems, at the distance of a couple of months, to have been this…