Hype: Den store Storm P.-bog


Den landede for nogle uger siden, men det gør den ikke mindre aktuel. Den Store Storm P.-bog er et overflødighedshorn af den danske humorists bedste værker — valgt på tværs af tid og genre. Den dækker hele karrieren og alt fra ungdommens grove satire og ekspressionistiske maleri over banebrydende tegneserier som De tre små mænd og Nummermanden og Den kulørte side til klassiske plakater og ‘opfindelser’ og ikke mindst, alderdommens flue-bevingede visdomskondensater. Og meget mere.

Bogen er redigeret af Steffen Rayburn-Maarup fra forlaget Aben Maler i samarbejde med Storm P.-museet og Alvilda, der som bekendt i disse år har gang i en større udgivelsesrække med Storm P. Og jeg har haft æren at skrive forordet, hvilket trak tænder ud, men endte med at være en fornøjelse. Storm P. er svær at skrive om, fordi hans geni er så svært at indkredse, og fordi han bare er sjovere en dig og mig og hvad vi kan finde på at sige om ham. Men jeg har i efterhånden en del år gerne villet prøve kræfter med opgaven og her kom den så. Jeg havde givet mig selv alt for dårlig tid til at producere det gennemarbejdede essay, jeg førhen havde forestillet mig at ville skrive, men sådan er virkeligheden jo og jeg endte med at være godt tilfreds, selvom meget (‘i en perfekt drømmeverden’, som min mand Thorhauge altid siger) kunne have været bedre.

Men hul idet, det er Storm Ps. fantastiske og usigeligt morsomme tegninger det handler om, og dem har den her bog in spades. Læs den.

PS — bogen er også planlagt til udgivelse i USA, hos kvalitetsforlaget Fantagraphics. Hvornår ved jeg ikke, men du kan læse mere om det her.

Arcadia in Print Quarterly

Giulio and Domenico Campagnola, Musicians in a Landscape, c. 1517, engraving, Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett


In the latest issue of Print Quarterly (vol. XXXI, no. 4), I’ve reviewed the catalogue of the exhibition “Arcadia — Paradies auf Papier, Landschaft und Mythos in Italien”, displayed at the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen in Berlin earlier this year.

The exhibition was based entirely on the Kupferstichkabinett’s incredibly rich holdings and provides a stimulating overview of Arcadian imagery in Italian graphic art from c. 1440-1640.The catalogue is written by Dagmar Korbacher, Christophe Brouard and Marco Riccòmini. It contains innovative takes on especially the Venetian drawings and engravings of Giulio and Domenico Campagnola and related artists, like the above masterpiece by the two of them.

De nye genreserier i Information

Fra Rybergs Gigant


I ugens Bog(Forum)tillæg til Information kan man læse min anmeldelse af en håndfuld nye danske udgivelser med forbavsende mange fællestræk. Mit postulat er, at de er udtryk for en bredere tendens blandt tidens yngre tegneseriemagere, nemlig at ny, personligt vinklet tilgang til de traditionelle genrer.

De anmeldte tegneserier er Lars Kramhøft og Tom Kristensens Inficeret, Tatiana Goldbergs Anima, Glenn Augusts Lava og Rune Rybergs Gigant.

Læs anmeldelsen her. Men bemærk venligst, at overskriften og rubrikken (som det er reglen med avistekster) ikke er mine.

Fimbulvinter i Information


I dennes uges bogtillæg til dagbladet Information kan man læse min anmeldelse af Søren Glosimodt Mosdals tegneserie Fimbulvinter, om Erik den Røde, Leif den Lykkelige og overgangen fra den gamle til den nye orden i vikingetidens Grønland. Et bjergtagende billeddigt, men også noget af en torso, der lader de løse ender flagre. Anmeldelsen kan læses her.

Soul on Fire


This review is was originally published in Danish at Rackham in 2004 and is reprinted here as a supplement to the short essay Yvan Alagbé’s comics that I’ve just published over at The Comics Journal.

The French-Belgian publishing structure Éditions Frémok, or FRMK for short, has now been in the game for ten years, initially separately, as Belgian Frémok and French Amok, and since 2002 together. They have managed one of the most consistent and challenging publishing programs in avant-garde comics. They have unerringly emphasized the boundary-breaking, the experimental, and often fine arts-oriented comics by some of the most innovative creators in Europe, people such as Thierry van Hasselt, Olivier Marboeuf, Dennis & Olivier Deprez, Stefano Ricci, Silvestre, Kamel Khélif, Vincent Fortemps, Michael Matthys, Dominique Goblet, Martin tom Dieck, Nabile Farès, Aristophane, and the Dane Søren Mosdal.

Their publications are unequivocally high art and as such expose themselves to criticism on two flanks. One is the risk of pretentiousness and postulated profundity, the other is the inevitable comparisons with other forms of visual art, comparisons which tend to put this kind of sequential painting to a disadvantage. Unsurprisingly, FRMK’s publication history is one of precarious and not always successfully negotiating these difficulties, but the fact that they persist is entirely to their credit. It is refreshing to see somebody uncompromisingly asserting their belief in the potential of the medium to fathom the wide expressive range that has traditionally been the domain of other media. Continue reading ‘Soul on Fire’

Hype: Titian’s Early Portrait of a Man in Copenhagen


And they keep coming… although this is probably the last one in a while. Part of my core research as a fellow at Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen centred on the early Titian portrait of an elderly man (above), which is on long loan to the gallery from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. That the sitter might just be his teacher, the great painter Giovanni Bellini, doesn’t make this sensitive portrait less interesting. The results of my research, and — crucially — that of restorer Troels Filtenborg, are now published (in Italian) for all to see in the storied journal Arte Veneta, published by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice.

Here’s the English abstract:

The article provides a thorough examination of the Portrait of a Man by Titian in the collection of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, on permanent loan to Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Its provenance is laid out in unprecedented detail. A thorough technical examination reveals that the portrait was painted on top of another, cancelled one, showing a figure dressed in a red garment. It further reveals that the landscape view at left was added to what was originally a plain background. The painting’s attribution to Titian, which has been occasionally disputed, is considered and affirmed with reference to the technical evidence as well as comparable works in his oeuvre. This also provides a likely date of completion around 1512. Lastly, it is proposed that the first, overpainted sitter may have been the Venetian senator Andrea Loredan di Nicolò, for whom Titian worked his early years. As for the person portrayed in the finished picture, the long-standing if controversial hypothesis that he may be the painter Giovanni Bellini is discussed. While this identification impossible to affirm conclusively, the authors consider the arguments in favour sufficiently strong that it should not be dismissed.

The volume can be acquired directly from The Fondazione Cini, as well as from Mondadori. Or any self-respecting art library, I should think, for those understandably reluctant to fork out the big bucks.

Et knald til i Information


I denne uges bogtillæg til dagbladet Information står min anmeldelse af Rikke Villadsens udfordrende tegneserie Et knald til at læse. Check den her.

Hype: Titian and Bonasone


Here’s another one. In the latest issue of Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte (vol. 77, no. 3) I have an article on Titian’s collaboration with the printmaker Giulio Bonasone in the early 1560s. Examining their collaboration not only sheds new light on Titian’s active involvement in printmaking, but also on the chronology of his paintings for Philip II and the Spanish court during these years. And then there’s the above drawing, always placed in the Titian studio but never convincingly attributed. I think I’ve made a decent case that it’s by Bonasone (with retouching just possibly by Titian himself).

Read it at your art library! TOC here.

Gavrilo Princip i Information


Har netop anmeldt sæsonens bedst modtagne, bedst sælgende og uden sammenligning mest overvurderede tegneserie, Henrik Rehrs Gavrilo Princip, for Information. Du kan læse anmeldelsen, med titlen “En dans i havregrød”, her. Billedet ovenfor er ikke gengivet i anmeldelsen, med det er det, titlen konkret henviser til.

Boom PING PING

Nikoline Werdelin for the win!


It’s been a week and half since the big show, but I still think this year’s Ping awards deserve a few words for what little international audience this site still has after months of hibernation.

The Ping awards is an annual set of awards given to comics in Denmark in the manner of the Angoulême Fauves or the American Eisners. Founded by the Danish Comics Council, the awards are a revivification of a differently conceived, hall of fame-type award of the same name which was bestowed on single creators through the early nineties, as well as of the awards programme hosted by the comics biennial Komiks.dk from 2004-2010. The Pings are named after one of the best known characters created by one of the greatest Danish cartoonists, Robert Storm Petersen, aka. Storm P. (1882-1949). Continue reading ‘Boom PING PING’

Hype: Titian’s Venus and Adonis in prints

Giulio Sanuto after Titian, ‘Venus and Adonis’, 1559, engraving, 538 x 415 mm. Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst.


In the latest volume of the Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft the interested reader will find my article on the permutations of Titian’s famous Venus and Adonis composition in sixteenth-century prints, and through them in painting. It turns out that careful examination of the sources and the prints yields fascinating information on how the master developed this, one of his most enduring compositions through multiple versions during the course of a long career.

Here’s the abstract:

Titian’s Venus and Adonis was one of Titian’s most successful compositions and remains among his most iconic. Around a dozen painted versions are known today, the most famous being the canvas painted for Philip II around 1552–54 (Prado). Less well-known are the seven prints made of the composition in the latter half of the sixteenth-century. This article demonstrates that at least two of these were made with Titian’s approval and that they provide valuable insight not only into his work with printmakers, but also his production of replicas, reflecting as they do intermediate stages in his development of the composition through the 1550s.

More information here.

Cliffs monologer i Information


For et par uger siden blev min anmeldelse af Johan F. Krarups topunderholdende Cliffs monologer fra sidste år offentliggjort. Check den her.

Hype: Titian caricaturing Michelangelo and Raphael painting the Pope’s Beard

No, these aren't the caricature mentioned, but they're also by Titian (and/or his assistants), and they're on the back of the Ancona Pala Gozzi.


In the latest issue of the scholarly journal Artibus et Historiae, I have an article on a caricature found on the back of a Titian canvas, seemingly depicting Michelangelo. It’s fairly speculative, I suppose, but that’s the nature of such things, and in any case it engages a number of issues — caricature, cartooning, the grotesque — that have been chronically under-examined in the history of art and the humanities in general. Oh, there’s also an extensive excursus on Pope Julius II’s beard, and Raphael and Leonardo are implicated…

Here’s the abstract:

The article examines drawings found on the back of the canvas of the recently surfaced Portrait of a Man (Girolamo Cornaro?) painted by Titian around 1511–1512. Drawn with the point of the brush, they depict a large head in profi le and two smaller figures. Loose and broad in execution, at least the former belongs to the domain of caricature. By comparison with similar drawings, on paper as well as the versos of other paintings, the drawings are here attributed to Titian. Further, the possibility that the head might be a portrayal of Michelangelo is explored, as is its value as evidence of the reception of Michelangelo’s outsize public stature and self-fashioning as an imperfect, Socratic artist whose work carried palpable overtones of the grotesque. The two figure studies, in themselves acutely Michelangelesque, are related to inventions by other contemporaries. Next, the fact that the caricature wears a beard, but no moustache, occasions an excursus on contemporary facial hair generally and specifically that of Michelangelo’s patron, Julius II. Ecclesiastical beards were a controversial issue at the time, and shaving one’s upper lip carried liturgical significance. Julius was the fi rst Renaissance pope to grow a beard, as is famously charted by Raphael in his portraits of him in the Vatican frescoes and elsewhere. By focusing on the depiction of his beard, the article sheds new light on the iconography of these pictures and potentially their confused chronology. Lastly, Titian’s drawings are examined in the context of contemporary grotesques with reference to Leonardo’s explorations of exaggerated physiognomies. On this basis, it proposes a reevaluation of Renaissance caricature.

The issue is second of two dedicated to Professor Peter Humfrey in his retirement. I am very happy to thus take part in the celebration!

Artibus et Historiae vol. 68 is available now in a specialist library near you!

The Week

The week in review

OK, I’ll try again. As should be evident, I’m not finding much time to blog these days, but I refuse to let go entirely, and who knows if times might not turn more propitious, Bunker-wise in the not-too-far future? Also, the National Gallery internet presence, which I’ve previously hinted at, is also still in the works. So, not much to say right now, but I have some links to share!

  • In-depth interview with Jean-Luc Martinez, the recently appointed director of the Louvre. Excellent, critical interview in which the director at Tribune de l’art takes his time to answer Didier Rykner’s not always easy questions. In three parts: one, two, three.
  • Pharoahe Monche interviewed. Another in-depth interview, this one with one of the greatest rap lyricists. Candid and insightful.
  • T.J. Clark on Veronese’s Allegories of Love at the National Galleries. Clark takes a close look at four wonderful pictures that just happen to be on display in one of the great exhibitions of the decade right where I work. Clark does tend to go on a little long, but it is still highly worthwhile to follow his eye.
  • How Not to Make a Graphic Novel. Fine piece by Sean Michael Robinson on the creative process as it pertains to long-form comics.
  • Raphael’s Influence on Titian 1508-1520. Kiril Penušliski examines the evidence and adds a few good observations to the evidence. Now, somebody should examine more closely Titian’s influence on Raphael…
  • The New Chairman

    Passing the mantle: Thomas Thorhauge and Stine Spedsbjerg at the Danish Comics Council general assembly in March


    It happened a few weeks ago, but I figured I should still note it here: we have a new chairman, or rather chairwoman, of the Danish Comics Council. Elected at the general assembly on 18 March, Stine Spedsbjerg succeeds my pal Thomas Thorhauge who had decided to step down. Stine is a successful online cartoon diarist and earns her keep in advertising. She’s enormously enterprising and resourceful — I can’t think of a better person to take over.

    The Danish Comics Council was founded in 2009. I was part of the founding group along with a diverse group of comics professionals, and have sat on the board since. Considering that we have had no funding apart from the annual fee paid by members, it’s been a productive five years: we’ve had a hand in the establishment of a state-approved cartoonist’s programme (BA, ‘graphic storytelling’) at the Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark — the first of its kind in Denmark; we’ve managed to place the semi-private Comics Museum archive with a state-recognized institution, the Storm P. Museum in Copenhagen, which secures it for the future in terms of preservation, collection, expansion, research and facilitation; we’ve created an comics award, the Ping, given annually to cartoonists in a number of categories; we’ve undertaken annual registration of all comics published in Denmark, published annually in a small compendium; we’ve arranged two conferences at the University of Copenhagen, one of which helped stimulate the establishment of the Nordic Network for Comics Research (NNCORE): we’ve partnered with the ambitious Danish comics biennial Copenhagen Comics; we’ve brought comics to wide audiences through live cartooning and other activities; and quite a lot more.

    While Thomas takes a well-deserved breather (though remaining at the Council’s board), there is plenty for Stine to get up to. The Comics Council is still essentially an unfunded organisation and other affiliated groups such as Copenhagen Comics will also depend on more steady sources of funding to survive — the hope is eventually to secure larger, ongoing partnerships with possible patrons, as well as with the Danish State to help secure an institutional infrastructure for Danish comics in the future. And I know Stine also has ambitions for preaching the comics gospel to a much wider audience than is currently the case.

    Here’s to the next half-decade!

    Photo: Henrik Conradsen