ART / Artefacts

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The Independent Culture
THE LATEST work by the celebrated Glasgow painter Peter Howson, best-known for his sinewy, sinister thugs and sensitive images of the Bosnian war, is no scene of urban carnage but a nude portrait of Dawn French. Howson has caught the ample comedian reclining, Olympia-like, on a couch, wearing nothing but a smile. Such blatant nudity, however, came as something of a surprise to the sitter, who had expected to be depicted as she sat for the artist - fully clothed. Nevertheless, she is reported to be flattered rather than offended by the exaggeratedly curvilinear attributes with which Howson's imagination has endowed his odalisque. The work can be seen on television in an edition of the South Bank Show on 17 April.

AS THE prospect of a feature film about the life of Jackson Pollock, with Robert De Niro in the title role, moves closer to reality, another art biopic is being planned for the big screen. The life of the Bloomsbury painter and groupie Dora Carrington will star Emma Thompson as the heroine. Carrington was the lover of Lytton Strachey and wife of Ralph Partridge, and killed herself in 1932 after Strachey's death ended their cosy menage a trois. Suggestions are invited for her co-stars, but the cast must surely include Stephen Fry as Partridge and Hugh Laurie as Strachey, with Kenneth Branagh as Duncan Grant, Vanessa Redgrave as Vanessa Bell, and John Gielgud as Maynard Keynes.