Keith Miller reviews Simon Schama’s BBC2 series “Power of Art” in TLS (1 December). Four central quotes from the essay:

  • “What Schama gives us on screen is a series of deft essays in what used to be called art appreciation”
  • “What is under discussion is primarily the thing in itself”
  • “Schama’s purpose is to enact a kind of ritual. The power of art is personal, and as much visceral as visual. It is the power to hold our gaze across the years or centuries; and it goes without saying — or it does if you’re not trying too hard to contextualize — that only the best art carries such a power”
  • “Prating on about brush strokes has long been somewhat unfashionable, and it’s a brave thing for Schama to do …”

We are closing in on the presence of museum objects now, aren’t we? 

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