6th May 2014
Happy Birthday, Mr Blair
POLITICS IS MORE OF AN ART THAN A SCIENCE
Alastair Adams Portrait
Opining, also known as writing for the press, is neither. It is seldom disinterested reportage.
But it really takes the
biscuit paint palette when a so-called art critic allows his opinion on a politician’s politics to define the smudged edges of his critique. Into that category falls this, by Martin Newman of the Daily Mirror.
It is weirdly headlined “…but does it show the real him?” Oh for God’s sake – NO! It shows the woman who makes your latte at Espresso Opinions R US, Mr Newman!
This critic also has odd ideas about family pictures on a desk – “Tellingly the photographs on his desk face away. He is a family man, but they are just part of his priorities.” Martin Newman suggests that the family photographs (Are they? How does he know?) facing away from Mr Blair (who is standing in front of his desk) means his family are not of major importance to him.
I ask in all seriousness – where do they find these art critics? In the same recycling bin as they find political critics?
Misfiring on several cylinders, Mr Newman gives us the benefits of his own thoughts on Blair’s political attributes with, “Technically the painting is very good, harmonious and balanced, with the viewers eye drawn immediately to the misfiring Middle East peace envoy’s face.”
Before we get to the finale of the critique – the halo / messianic jibes – a requirement of ANY Blair criticism worth its stinging salt – we get this gem:
“Adams, the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, first painted Blair in 2011. His previous effort [EFFORT!?] had the sitter staring intensely at the viewer, his mouth in an almost rictus sneer and teeth set as though ready to jump out of the canvas and bite you.”
This Adams portrait, on the left, is evidently the sneerey bitey one.
Like the new painting it is an excellent piece of portraiture, Mr Adams (website here)
While googling about I came across this much earlier portrait of the former PM (right).
Painted by Jonathan Yeo, it was completed during the general election of 2001 and shows a younger, but for that period an unusually serious Blair. I rather like it. It’s certain he would never have expected at that time how many in the press, and thus some in the chatterati, literati and twitterati would grow to despise him.
Speaking of critics & well-wishers, Mr Blair, I’m sure Dan Hodges really wishes you well on your birthday, even if you do look better in jeans than he probably does. Dan & I chat now and then on twitter.