John Berger, the painter, art critic, film-maker and intellectual whose work defied easy categorisation, died on 2 January at the age of 90.
A towering, looming, background presence, with a lifelong commitment to the dispossessed of the world, Berger never fitted in with the dominant English culture, even though his seminal series on art, Ways of Seeing, was aired on the BBC in 1972.
He withdrew to a remote village in the French Alps, from where he wrote novels, poetry and many other books.
In 1972, his novel G won the Booker Prize; today it probably would not even make the short-list, such are its demands on the reader.
He once said, in an interview with the New Statesman, “I think that the dead are with us…The dead are not abandoned. They are kept near physically. They are a presence. What you think you’re looking at on that long road to the past is actually beside you where you stand.”
Picture source: Ji-Elle via Wikimedia