Posts Tagged ‘Andrei Rublev’

Blackpaint 44

January 20, 2010

Chaldon Church (of St Peter and St Paul)

In Happy Valley, near Coulsdon South.  It has an amazing 12th century mural, done, apparently by an itinerant monk (shades of Andrei Rublev) and uncovered in the 19th century when whitewash was removed.  It is a sort of brownish red and white, and consisits of four sections with a ladder running up the middle and a line of “cloud” dividing the upper two from the lower.  Huge demons are doing various nasty things to sinners, who are dodgy tradesmen (walking a spiked bridge) and representatives of the Seven Deadly Sins.  On the left, a demon is boiling souls in a cauldron.  Up top, the Archangel Michael is holding the scales to weigh souls, while the devil has his hand on them, trying to weigh them down.  Next door, Christ is thrusting a staff(?) into a prostrate Devil’s mouth (all action is taking place simultaneously, like those mediaeval Crucifixion scenes, or Lives of the Saints).  A host of souls are climbing or falling from the ladder.  There is a Tree of Life in the right panels with a serpent in the branches – and much more.

I’ve never seen anything in a similar style – the demons are like something out of Von Danniken – remember him? – and I can only compare its strangeness to that of the Shobdon Tympanum (see Blackpaint 17).

Does anyone know why Michael is a saint?  He’s an archangel, a supernatural being, whereas all the others, I think, were human, martyrs for instance.

Van Gogh

On TV last night, I heard that VG completed 78 paintings in two months, towards the time of his death.  78 paintings in about 60 days…

Listening to Dick Gaughan, the John Maclean March from “No More Forever”.

“Och Aye man, that’s Johnnie noo

That’s him there, the bonnie fechter,

Lenin’s his fair lad and Leibknecht’s his mate”.



Blackpaint 43

January 19, 2010

Andrei Rublev

Watching, in half hour chunks, this fantastic but incomprehensible film by Tarkovsky.  It seems to consist of stunning but unrelated scenes, unfolding at his famous “stately pace”; the hot-air balloon thing, the horse rolling on its back in slow motion, the annoying buffoon and childlike villagers, the soldiers, Kirill killing his dog…  So far, I’ve been reminded of that Breughel painting “the Triumph of Death”, because of the way that Andrei and Kirill, and the soldiers on their horses appear so tall and gaunt in their cloaks – and the horses, huge but with no fat on their flanks.  When I look at the painting though, no monks, no soldiers – gaunt horses, but ridden or driven by skeletons.

There is also the river scene, in which the riders appear on the skyline across the river, riding slowly.  Also in “Night of the Hunter” and, I think, in “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”.  I wonder who did it first; Laughton’s film is by far the earliest of these three, but I bet Eisenstein or some other Russian did it.  Does anyone know?


As to Tarkovsky’s “stately pace”, I remember years ago, 68 or 69, watching his “Solaris” at the ICA, in a cinema empty except for myself and a couple of friends – the cleaners came in and started brushing and clanking about during a particularly slow, quiet bit.  Presumably, they thought the film was over.

Photographers Gallery

First visit since it moved from Newport Street to Ramillies Street, opposite HMV in Oxford Street.  Downstairs was an installation by Sara Remo, “Movable Planes”.  A projection showing a wardrobe stuffed to bursting with women’s clothes.  After a minute or two, some fell out. 

On the wall opposite, two “diptychs”; a clean, uncluttered bathroom and same populated with soaps, shampoos, et al; and a clean, uncluttered kitchen work surface and same populated with jars, packets, bottles et al.

Upstairs, colour photos by Jim Goldberg; “Open See”.  Bangladesh, Pakistan, Senegal, Congo; portraits, poverty, sickness, massacre accounts, horrific bullet scars.  Also Ukraine (b&w, I think), Albanians in Greece.  Small portraits of victims of exploitation, prostitution, forced labour, with faces scratched out and their stories written on them.


I’m trying something new; every time I walk past my current painting I have to make a mark – no longer than five minutes on it, then I have to go away.

Listening to Lake Michigan Blues by Yank Rachell;

“I went down to Lake Michigan, see my babe on the other side (*2)

I wanted to see my baby but it was so deep and wide”.

Watching Andrei Rublev for another two half hour chunks.  Went to Wikipedia and looked up plot – it was a flashback! Now, I understand.