Blackpaint 248


Exterminating Angel

For those not familiar with this (fantastic) Bunuel film, it concerns a collection of bourgeois dinner guests who find themselves unable to leave the mansion of their host at the end of the evening – they just can’t seem to get out of the dining room, something stops them, a sort of force field that manifests itself through their own fears, reluctance and prevarication.  It’s arguably his most surreal film, apart from l’Age d’Or and Un Chien Andalou, from the collaboration with Dali in the 20s and 30s; sheep (and a bear) wander in to the mansion, a woman has a dead chicken in her purse – that sort of thing.  Great title; I wonder why he called it that.

La Dolce Vita

Before leaving cinema, and whilst pondering unanswerable questions, what does the big, dead fish signify at the end?  Looking up at Mastroianni from those huge, glassy eyes… seeing through the emptiness of his life, maybe – no, far too glib…

Bronzino

Surprised to see (in the Uffizi catalogue again) a most beautiful dress, on the “Eleonora di Toledo”.  I usually associate him with the breast-squeezing teaser in the National Gallery, but he could do clothes too, it seems.  It reminds me of that great dress on the landlady in the Ingres painting, also NG I think – the one that took him 11 years to finish.

Parmigianino and El Greco

This is probably crass, but I see a similarity between these two; not only the obvious one of the elongation of figures, but also in the coloration and lighting of their pictures.  El Greco far more expressionistic in his landscaping, of course, but still..

Van Gogh

I could never quite see the fuss over VG’s famous sunflowers; I find them dowdy and brown.  However, I’ve just seen some of the sunflowers he did in 1887, in that “Cut Sunflowers” series, especially the ones against the blue background, and they are fantastic in repro – would love to see them in the “flesh”.  Also that “Trees and Undergrowth” from the same summer, the one with the dark green foliage and the medallions of yellow sunlight piercing through.

Painting

I’m still getting that thing where the same structure, or very similar, seems to emerge every time – different colours and textures, but same shapes.  Sometimes  only see it when I invert the painting, but its there.   Even when I plan not to do it and do something else entirely, I look at it when it’s “finished” and think, no, that’s no good – and start to paint it over and improvise; and there it is again.  It’s the Exterminating Angel, maybe!

Blackpaint

03.02.11

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