From its delirious opening montage of disco divas, ageing socialites and strippers at play – one imagines Berlusconi's bunga bunga in a nutshell – Paolo Sorrentino's Roman satire has its sights fixed on epic greatness. There's a touch of La Dolce Vita in its fluid portrait of the city as carnival, with its parade of nuns, tourists, freaks, hangers-on, performance artists and other jokers. It is overseen by the dapper, disenchanted Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a journalist who once wrote a great novel but is now more famous for his roof-terrace parties and languid cynicism. The haute bourgeoisie circles Jep moves in turn a blind eye and a Botoxed pout to the depressed, debased society around them, preferring to dance themselves dizzy and drink themselves silly. (Sample dialogue: "What job do you do?" "Me? I'm rich". "Great job"). Nor is there any recourse to religion when Vatican prelates offer not spiritual succour but top cooking tips.
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Friday 19 July 2013
As Detroit goes down what could be a painful path to resolve its debts, attention has turned to the city assets that might be sold off to raise much-needed funds, including the valuable paintings and other objects that are part of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Saturday 28 July 2012
If you're heading for Sicily this autumn, Peter Robb's masterpiece Midnight in Sicily is de rigueur. If Naples and environs is your goal, you may be better off saving this extraordinary work until you get back. The muscular exuberance of Robb's style – one of the finest in contemporary English – is perfectly suited to Neapolitan brio but the central topic of this book is the art of the 16th century.
Friday 06 July 2012
The works showed 'the faces, bodies and scenes Caravaggio would use in later years'
Tuesday 22 November 2011
A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness. But just how difficult is it for an average male to achieve? Gym-shirker and beer drinker Tom Mitchelson gave himself six weeks to get into shape
Tuesday 22 November 2011
A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness. But just how difficult is it for an average male to achieve? Gym-shirker and beer drinker Tom Mitchelson gave himself just six weeks to get his abs in shape
Sunday 13 November 2011
Friday 11 November 2011
Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome
Sunday 31 July 2011
Friday 29 July 2011
Feuds, brawls, exiles, murders, sexual intrigues (of every variety): tell with flair and zest the life and times in Milan, Rome, Naples and Malta of Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610), and it already makes for a shockingly rollicking read.
Wednesday 27 July 2011
The mayor of Florence wants a referendum to decide if the city should embark on a major work by Michelangelo that was shelved because of the huge cost nearly 500 years ago.
Sunday 24 July 2011
Friday 22 July 2011
In July 2008, I sat in the early-evening sun on the terrace of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli – the palace, surrounded by exuberant fountains and cascades, built in the 1550s for Lucrezia Borgia's son Ippolito as a sort of consolation prize for his failure to win the papacy. I strained to spot the dome of St Peter's, supposedly visible across the plain that separates the Sabine Hills from Rome. But my companions, local councillors and archaeologists, had more than tourist clichés on their mind. They told me about the hysteria that had recently greeted the election over in Rome of a mayor with a neo-Fascist past, Gianni Alemanno (who's still in office).
Sunday 17 July 2011
Saturday 09 July 2011
A respected Italian art scholar claims to have identified a previously unknown painting by Michelangelo at the University of Oxford.
Sunday 03 July 2011
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
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