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How to get your art-history fix at the Edinburgh Fringe

2 August 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

As Edinburgh gears up for the Festival Fringe, the Royal Mile is starting to fill with leaflets and Alex Salmond (or at least his show at the Assembly Rooms) is already a complete sell out. But if you prefer sketches drawn in charcoal to those cobbled from comedy, fear not – the Rake has spotted a number of shows tailored to the art-historically minded festival-goer.


Among the offerings is a revival of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, a Kneehigh theatre production that tells the story of Marc and Bella Chagall amid the turmoil of 20th-century Europe. ‘I really don’t want to make them fly as it’s really complicated getting actors into harnesses’, complained director Emma Rice last year. ‘The designer and I have been working on how nothing in Chagall is straight. Nor is anything in this set.’


Phill Jupitus will spend the festival drawing on his iPad in the National Galleries of Scotland. The comedian, who has always been a ‘compulsive doodler’ and started out as an illustrator and cartoonist, returns to the collection after similar events in recent years. ‘The galleries have always been my hiding place at the Fringe’, he told the BBC in 2014.


If you feel the urge to swot up before joining Jupitus, try Harriet Braine’s Art History Songs at the Laughing Horse – a Free Fringe event that promises to tell ‘the history of art through the medium of ‘80s hits’. ‘Fairly niche’, according to Stylist magazine, but full of insight: ‘Pablo Pablo Picasso. Nobody did it like you, bro’.

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