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The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement



“For Children But Not For Idiots”: Madeline at the New-York Historical Society

by Bria Sandford

Posted: Jul 31, 2014 12:45 PM

Description: Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:yk:zs13mrp92t37l8vth6xjydtc0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:Bemelmans_01_flower shop.jpg

Madeline at the Paris Flower Market, 1955; Oil on canvas

Via the New York Historical Society

Following in the footsteps of the Morgan Library’s “The Little Prince: A New York Story” and the New York Public Library’s “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” the New-York Historical Society’s foray into children’s literature, “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans,” is on display until October 19th. Children, nostalgic adults, and fans of Bemelmans’ illustrations will find much to enjoy, though little that surprises.

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Dispatches from Tanglewood: No. 2

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Jul 30, 2014 04:00 PM

Manfred Honeck leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Sarah Connolly and Camilla Tilling on 7.26.14; photo by Hilary Scott

We have lost several great conductors in 2014. In June, it was the eminent Spanish maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Frühbeck was, among other things, a celebrated interpreter of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (a piece now unfortunately most familiar through action movie trailers). The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s eclectic program at Tanglewood on Sunday afternoon, which he conceived and was to have conducted, made for an odd parting gift. 

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Thoughts on “Political Suicide” and other tales from “Cloud-Cuckoo-Land”

by Roger Kimball | from PJ Media

Posted: Jul 30, 2014 01:39 PM

Having just returned from a stimulating colloquy at a semi-secure, undisclosed location among the California redwoods—a location, moreover, cut off from the always exigent importunities of the internet—I find that our masters in and about Washington, D.C., have continued that long-running road show “Wrecking the United States of America.”  The latest act, taking its place […]

go to PJ Media

Hidden Spirituality: Kandinsky at the Guggenheim

by Brendan Dooley

Posted: Jul 29, 2014 11:34 AM

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Vasily Kandinsky, Group in Crinolines (Reifrockgesellschaft), 1909. 

A quick Google search for Kandinsky Before Abstraction, 1901-1911 at the Guggenheim yields disappointingly few results. At a time when technology has made everyone a potential critic, one can hardly find an exhibition note, blog post, blurb or even a tweet that mentions the show, let alone evaluates it. This is a shame; for though the exhibition is small and the subject familiar, it is still worthy of attention and consideration. Vasily Kandinsky is a pivotal figure in the history of modern art: perhaps more than any other painter, he is identified with the transition from representational to abstract painting that occurred early in the second decade of the twentieth century. Kandinsky’s pioneering role makes an examination of the period before his momentous leap very much worth one’s time.

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Swords, sandals, and slippers

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jul 28, 2014 02:14 PM

Spartacus | © E. Fetisova

On Saturday night, the Bolshoi Ballet presented Spartacus at the Koch Theater. This was another evening in the Lincoln Center Festival. Spartacus was composed in the mid-1950s by Aram Khachaturian—whose fortunes rise and fall, at least in America.

There was a time when his piano concerto was wildly popular. A recording by Willy Kapell sold like hotcakes. His violin concerto was popular too—particularly in a recording by David Oistrakh, with the composer himself on the podium. These days, you can go many a moon without hearing either work.

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A Midsummer Night's Blocking

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Jul 28, 2014 08:50 AM

Annie Considine, Johnny Lee Davenport and Kelly Galvin, via Shakespeare and Company

Something about Shakespeare's plays seems to encourage directors to micromanage. The problem is exacerbated by the almost ubiquitous practice of blank-set stagings. Keeping the floor clear of furniture and props can help to focus attention on the text and the interactions of the characters, but all too often directors become nervous about the idea of actors standing around in empty space and end up over-blocking their scenes.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 25, 2014 02:36 PM

Links of interest from the past week:

To Orchestrate a Renaissance
Andrew Balio, The Imaginative Conservative

Musical Gold
Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker

Shut Up, Please
Joe Queenan, The Weekly Standard

How Many Greek Legends Were Really True?
Armand d’Angour, BBC

Don't Send your Kid to the Ivy League
William Deresiewicz, The New Republic

From our pages:

From Super to Nuts
James Bowman

E-mail to friend

Dancing Dreams Come to Earth at Jacob's Pillow

by James Panero

Posted: Jul 25, 2014 11:52 AM


Jacob's Pillow, the legendary summer dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts founded in 1933, has had a stirring start to 2014, with dance that stands on its own two feet. On the second stage of the Doris Duke Theatre, Dorrance Dance tapped out a sold-out two-week run. Meanwhile on the main stage at the Ted Shawn Theatre, New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht directed several teammates from his NYCB squad in the enigmatically titled "Ballet 2014."

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About ArmaVirumque


( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)


In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.


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