Roger Shattuck

  • APPROACHING THE ABYSS: MONET’S ERA

    “ALL GARDENING IS LANDSCAPE PAINTING.” The sentence is attributed to Alexander Pope, the reigning prince of 18th-century English poets. In 1719 at the age of 31, Pope moved 15 miles up the Thames from London to a riverfront property called Twickenham and resided there for his remaining 25 years. Digging an elaborate, shell-encrusted tunnel under Hampton Court Highroad, which divided his five-acre estate in two, he designed and constructed not a formal garden after Versailles but something in the new style of an English “romantic” garden. This vision of landscape can be traced variously to John

  • On Rene Magritte

    THESE THINGS I HOLD to be self-evident: that pictures have frames: that art has a history—more than one in fact; that you can paint from a model; that things sometimes look alike; that I shall be talking about a painter named René Magritte. My theme (his theme) will be the doubts that hover in the atmosphere like old smells around any piece of self-evidence. René Magritte, the artist in dark overcoat and derby, presents credentials as a wallpaper painter, speculative semanticist, and frame-up operator. Here’s what he does. He takes the entire Western tradition of optical likeness, perfected