Blackpaint 366 – Darkness on the Danube, Bovary on the Steppe


Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Magnificent, gloomy galleries, on a dark afternoon above the Danube.  Best 19th century painters on show were Mihaly Muncacsy – dark, atmospheric, romantic compositions in a realist style, for example the condemned man’s last night (or similar title) below: 

and Laszlo Paal; some beautiful woodland scenes, reminiscent of Russian woodscapes of same period:

Other painters of note were Ferenczi, Durkovits and my favourite, the quirky Farkas.

Walk by the Water, Istvan Farkas

I love the woman’s blue face.  The rest of the 19th and 20th century stuff on display was mediocre, derivative and disappointing.  Some vast, panoramic battle scenes, princes in winged helmets, Turks and Magyars tumbling, bloody, into rivers from bridges…

The mediaeval galleries, however, were full of beautiful paintings, reminding me of Germans, Lochner maybe; martyrs with attributes (Stephen with his stones), Christ crucified, crown of thorns, whipping, saints beheaded – noticeable was the extraordinarily long, thin, tapering fingers of the virgins, saints and martyrs.  Is this a characteristic of Hungarian art of the period, or maybe it is the work of one particular artist or school?

MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art, Buenos Aires)

Lurching across Europe and the Atlantic to Argentina now.  My son brought me back the guide to the Malba collection and I was immediately struck by pages 90 – 93, that display three paintings by different Argentinian artists from the year 1963.  they are:

Romulo Maccio, “That Crazy Brother of Theo”, Ernesto Deira, “the Awards” and Jorge de la Vega, “Try Again”.

Deira

Jorge de la Vega

What strikes me about them, apart from the fact that they are great, is the resemblance to the paintings of the CoBrA group, particularly Jorn and Appel.  Google the images of all three Argentine painters and be delighted, as I was.

Save and Protect, Sokurov

This is Sokurov’s version of Madame Bovary, just out on Artificial Eye in a box set of three Sokurov films.   It’s painterly, fly- and featherblown, and full of naked sex, in the grass on the steppe, on a plush bench in a railway carriage and at least once, in a bed.  Cecile Zervudacki looks like an older Katrin Cartlidge (Mike Leigh and von Trier actress, died in 2002) and her youngest lover, a little like Di Caprio.  At one point, she emerges from a church in 19th century dress and youngest lover follows her out in a 1960s style raincoat; a big black saloon drives by;  thereafter, we revert to 19th century again.  It’s a stork moment; maybe I get too obsessed with these surreal flashes – but why?  to emphasise the timelessness of the story?  Bunuel’s “Milky Way” comes to mind.

Anyway, it’s great visually and horrific, like the book; the print is really scratchy though.

Couldn’t believe the fawning nature of the accompanying “documentary” on Rostropovich and his opera singer wife, Galina.  I’ve never seen anything so sycophantic; “the Maestro” this and that… halfway through, there is a list of the medals he has been awarded.  I wonder if the Rostropoviches would have enjoyed “Save and Protect”.

I thought “Andriassy” (see last blog) was too congested, so I’ve retouched it as below.

Blackpaint

Andriassy

8.11.12

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