Recent links of note:
“ ‘I’m coming, my Tetsie!’ ”
Freya Johnston, London Review of Books
Samuel Johnson, the creator of the Dictionary of the English Language, would have been impressed by the adjective his wife, Tetty, used to describe him. Tetty said her husband was the most “sensible” man she ever met—meaning not that he was practical or reasonable, but that he was perceptive, eager, sensitive. Johnson, a poor, sickly boy who grew into a poor, sickly man, had to be awake to the world to survive. He was an autodidact, an excellent student who lacked the money to finish college, a hopeless but dedicated teacher, and a rarely profitable but always prolific writer. Freya Johnston’s review of a new Oxford edition of Johnson’s works, edited by David Womersley, gives us a Johnson who loves literature for the way it describes and illuminates the world: “The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it,” Johnson wrote. The collection places Johnson’s works in chronological order instead of by genre, providing a clearer picture of the diversity of Johnson’s interests and the energy of his mind. Read more about Johnson, and his contemporaries, in Pat Rogers’s review of The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age in our current issue.
“Portrait sketch of Leonardo da Vinci discovered in Britain’s Royal Collection”
Hannah McGivern, The Art Newspaper
Leonardo da Vinci remains a mysterious figure to art historians, Hannah McGivern writes. The recent discovery of the second known portrait of Leonardo, sketched by one of his students, is a step in the right direction. It reveals the polymath in deep thought and conveys his carefully cultivated persona of an ancient philosopher and seer, says Marin Clayton, the head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust. The portrait will be on view in “Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing” at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London, as part of a worldwide celebration of Leonardo’s work on the five-hundredth anniversary of his death on May 2, 1519.
“Phillips Auction House Hires Former Sotheby’s Rainmaker”
Kelly Crow, The Wall Street Journal
This Monday, the boutique auction house Phillips hired the former Sotheby’s star David Norman to boost its sales of modern masters. Until now, Phillips has focused on newer works, Kelly Crow writes. But the choice of Norman—whose portfolio includes sales of Picasso, Giacometti, and Munch—suggests that Phillips wants to compete with the reigning auction house duopoly: Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
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