Art: The Gentleman Aesthete

Kenneth Clark: 1903-1983

In his last years Kenneth Clark's energies as a writer waned, and it is hard for anyone born after 1950 to grasp what a role he once played in art criticism. He was pushing 80 when he died on May 21, and he seemed an archaic figure, the last of the gentlemen aesthetes, a man who—as it was said after Civilisation went to air nearly 15 years ago—tended to discuss the Renaissance as though he had commissioned it. Yet no English writer since Roger Fry, perhaps not since John Ruskin, had more...

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