Kenneth Clark at Tate Britain: the great panjandrum

http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/kennethclark-97x55.jpg 97w" sizes="(max-width: 960px) 100vw, 960px" />Edward Lucie-Smith discovers that their tribute to Kenneth Clark is not as complimentary as the Tate thinks it is

The Tate Britain show devoted to Sir Kenneth Clark – ‘Lord Clark of Civilisation’, as

he came to be called – was a slightly strange phenomenon. It defined a whole tract of the recent history of the visual arts here in Britain, but in
the end fell short of being a genuine celebration. Going round it, examining what was on view, one noted how much things have changed.

at I Tatti on the outskirts of Florence. The famously formidable Berenson asked Clark, who was still in

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his early twenties, to work on a new edition of his celebrated catalogue of drawings by Florentine painters, first published in 1903, the year of Clark’s

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birth.

The Tate catalogue makes some significant remarks about this, worth quoting here at some length, though with a bit of necessary compression: “The time

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Clark spent at I Tatti with Berenson was an education in a very different approach to

He was then living in a spacious but curiously characterless bungalow built at the gates of //--> Saltwood Castle,

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which had google_ad_width = 970; been handed over to his son Alan. //--> The

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Seurat was not on a wall, google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; but was
propped
up on the floor of a cloakroom where I went to pee. It was fairly obvious that nobody loved it or bothered to look at it.

There were some good things in Clark’s possession, notably a group of paintings and drawings by Cézanne that he had

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the good fortune to buy from the artist’s google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; heirs in
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the 1930s.
He also once owned (but

where the exhibition devoted to Clark google_ad_height = 90; took place.

Something that has changed quite radically since the reign of Clark is the way in which ideas about art – indeed ideas about everything – are communicated. Television centralised communication, but its period of total domination was remarkably short. The Internet has instigated a rapid devolution, a change from the hierarchical to the democratically lateral. Our taste in presenters

What you got when you looked at the screen was not a grandee in a Saville Row

suit, but google_ad_width = 970; the
Widow Twanky in her best
frock. Shut your eyes, however, and the slightly posh accent was exactly the same. Clark’s legacy lives on, despite the evolution of technology.