Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: arts

Spare time

Starting from August this year I have watched some remarkably good documentaries that are freely available online – for now. You can also download them on your laptop/pc using this website, so that you can watch these documentaries without an internet connection. These are three documentaries I selected. Unfortunately, all of them are in English with no possibility of using subtitles.

BBC: The Banker’s Guide to Art

The Banker’s Guide To The Art Market is a revealing, wry and ironic look behind the forces that move the market of fine arts. Propelled by the newly rich of the financial world, London’s art market has soared to historic highs. But is it all good to put a price tag on art? And is this really a recent phenomenon, anyway?


BBC: Niccolò Machiavelli

 A Florentine historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer, who is recognized as one of the pioneers of modern political science and much of contemporary political ethics.


National Geographic: Before the flood

This documentary has been shared on their social networks by a very large part of my friends. It conveys the urgency of something that all the sensitive readers of this blog already now. It is followed by an invitation to join a movement on beforetheflood.com/act.


Bonus: movie

This a movie I wanted to watch for a long time. Last week I finally did, courtesy of Niels. And what a better moment could I pick? The movie is an intimate diary of Mitt Romney’s primary campaign (2008) and presidential campaign (2012). Watching the documentary today, shortly after the G.O.P.’s landslide victory in November elections, feels a little bit surreal. 


Unfortunately I can only display the trailer here. Those of you with a Netflix account will be able to watch the full movie there.

On the fraught relationship between the arts and politics

Last December saw the publication of a collection of essays on independence by a number of well-known Scottish writers. The writer and artist Alasdair Gray was the subject of a great controversy, as he was accused of promoting nationalism alongside hostility and anti-English sentiment.

A recent article on openDemocracy argues that much of this was hostile, premature and gave the impression not only of certain critics’ ignorance of Scottish culture, but of the actual content of Gray’s essay. The most brilliant point of the article, however, is about the fraught and false relationship between the arts and politics. The authors makes the argument that political and cultural feeling may be important to the impetus driving artistic production, but they are arguably subservient to more aesthetic imperatives. In their discussions of literature and art, inevitably predicated on the ultimate political results of such discourse, politicians tend to forget this. One of the functions of art would seem to be the broadening of meaning, or the multiplication of potential narratives, to add cultural or emotional significance to material arguments. Deployed politically, much of this is lost.