a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The difference between a great painter and a good painter


John Singer Sargent as a painter of the aristocracy
Brian Sewell Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I think Sargent’s rather a good painter of everything he tackled. I think his portrait drawings are pretty boring, but then they were… don’t do that… they were a cheap solution to… or an inexpensive solution for people who really didn’t want to spend 10,000 guineas or whatever.

But he was much more than the last of the Van Dycks, as it were. And I… it seems to me a pity to take away from him those areas where he was really brilliant. Only he never… if he’d never painted a portrait, he would be much more highly regarded. So you have a paradox there, there’s a man who is famous for portraiture. Everything else is what people really like.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: John Singer Sargent, Anthony van Dyck

Duration: 58 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 28 June 2012