Anthony Blunt “was a scholar whose only peers could be found in pre-war Germany…”

Anthony Blunt

Anthony Blunt

Reviewing Miranda Carter’s Anthony Blunt: His Lives, Hywel Williams writes:

Blunt was less “gay” than “homosexual”, the more clinical appellation seeming also the more appropriate for so austere an intelligence. Botticelli, Florence and frou-frou had to make way for Borromini, Rome and the baroque in the crepuscular Blunt imagination. He was a scholar whose only peers could be found in pre-war Germany, and in his lectures he could convey the emotion that in private was locked away inside a buried heart. He was generous with his pupils in time and encouragement. And in his scholarly account of Poussin – his true love – he showed an understanding that went beyond that of a detached classical style concerned with merely significant form. He liked the intellectuality of Poussin and his neo-Stoic creed, because he could then relate the works to the way the artist coped with age and loss and disappointment. And these things lived when Blunt spoke – just as in his descriptions of Borromini’s botched suicide or the suffering of the London poor as the background to Blake.

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