Cecily Brown, “The Children of the Fourth Duke” (2019), oil on UV-curable pigment on linen, 137.16 x 129.23 cm; photo: Genevieve Hanson (courtesy of the artist and Blenheim Art Foundation)
Why should the English aristocracy hold back on hyperbole about itself? There’s so much, in its opinion, to boast about. Every last lover of Downton Abbey in New Jersey learned that one.
And so, unsurprisingly, there it is, shouting at you as you turn through the great double gates from the Woodstock Road, a sign stating the obvious: England’s Greatest Palace!
We’re at Blenheim — Blenheim! — where Sir Winston Churchill (a family member) frisked and gamboled and war-mongered in the meadows as a child, to ask ourselves how a modern artist, a lone painter called nothing but Cecily Brown, can possibly measure up against the gilded triumphs of the past.