Jonathan Jones, Europe has been building a secret community of culture

Some time soon Europeans who believe in a common identity need to stand up and proclaim the unique richness and openness of our culture – the plurality-in-unity that means a baroque church in Sicily does not look identical to one in Bavaria. In the UK, the Art Fund is campaigning to keep a painting by Bruegel in the country. Why? Because it’s our heritage. Because we are Europeans.

If Euroscepticism were to start by letting go of all the Bruegels and all the Titians, reducing the National Gallery to a room of 18th-century English portraits, its stupidity might become plain. It is not idealism to believe in Europe; still less is it a bureaucratic abstraction. If you see history in its living colours, you see how deeply European we are and how profound are the roots of that common identity.

__, November 2010

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