Posts Tagged ‘Ghirlandaio’

Blackpaint 672 – Bomberg, Deneuve and Angels’ Wings

May 28, 2020

Bomberg

Continuing from last blog on Roy Oxlade and Bomberg, I’ve now finished the Oxlade book “Art and Instinct” and I’m somewhat wiser, but by no means completely clear on Bomberg’s main message – or the “Approach”, as he called it (Bomberg tended to capitalise throughout his writings, most of which, in the Oxlade book at least, were unpublished notes).  Two things are clear – he was regarded as a guru by his students, who tended to make works which obviously reveal his influence (see Creffield and Dorothy Mead, for example) and he had an overwhelming sense of mission, to deliver art, and art teaching,  from the “errors” propounded by William Coldstream and others.  Coldstream was  imposing the LTS (learn to see) system on students, which was based on “accurate” observation, measurement, the rules of perspective and proportion developed during the Renaissance.  This precluded a freshness of approach, strapped students into a visual and practical straitjacket and prevented them from finding “the Spirit in the Mass”, to use Bomberg’s phrase.

What was, or is, the “Spirit in the Mass”?  Not sure.  There’s some religious or at least metaphysical stuff in there, obviously – but is it any more than “forget the rules, respond to the subject as you see fit, try to find the essentials, whatever they are, of the object which you are drawing or painting”?  I was surprised, when I looked into Bomberg’s work, to find how poerful and varied it is.  Some examples below.  I’ve left out the early, semi-abstract ones, “Mud Bath” and “Jiu Jutsu” as I’ve discussed them elsewhere.  Also I left out the Palestine paintings – “accurate”, but flat and boring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few; I love the way he paints women and I was surprised at the erotic charge in some of the pictures.  And that mountainscape.  Check him out – there’s a great sequence on YouTube.

Coronavirus Updates

We in the UK have, for the last six or seven weeks, had the benefit if a daily update on the progress of the pandemic here, delivered mostly by the government minister of the day, flanked, at a proper distance, by a scientist or two.  Certain idiosyncracies of vocabulary and phraseology have developed over that time, repetitions that maybe have already been noted in the press – I wouldn’t know as I stopped buying papers weeks ago – they can carry the virus.

Of the politicians on offer, my favourite is Dominic Raab, because he resembles  Simon Cadell, who played Mr. Geoffrey in “Hi De Hi”.  Anyway – “Incredible”; everyone is working incredibly hard under incredibly difficult circs, doing an incredible job.  Related to this is ” the clock“, which again, everyone is working round“Granular”; I think Jonathan Van Tam, the scientist, introduced this one.  It’s to do with looking really closely at evidence, getting right down to the real nitty gritty to quote the old song – and coming up with a really close analysis – not smooth, but – well – grainy.

And phrases; the way they evaluate the questions put to them, especially those from the public; “I think that’s an incredibly good question” – Matt Hancock is the master of this – “I really do think that’s a really great question” –  then they proceed to avoid answering it, usually by “paying tribute” to “the incredible work” being done by health care workers, researchers, or whoever it might be.  This sounds snotty – I don’t mean it to be; I’ve less time for the arrogant journalists who think they are the real government.

 

Truffaut’s Films

The Last Metro, Deneuve and Depardieu both on fabulous form in Truffaut’s WW11 piece, about an actor/manager (Deneuve) trying to keep a theatre going in occupied Paris, while her Jewish playwright husband hides in the cellar from the Nazis.

 

The next best in the box set; Fanny Ardant this time, with Depardieu; she moves in next door, not knowing that D, her former lover,  lives there.  Smouldering, as Barry Norman probably said.

Angels’ Wings

Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece (detail)

This picture appeared in the RA magazine, and my partner was intrigued by the wings.  They look as if they’re cut from a melon, she said – green on the outside and sort of fleshy glistening inside,  I looked at some other examples to see – as far as I can make out, they are a one=off.

 

Ghirlandaio, Coronation of the Virgin (detail)

Nice splash of red, yellow and blue here…

 

Fra Angelico, The Last Judgement (detail)

Beautifully marked – but no recognisable pattern..

 

 

Fra Angelico, The Annunciation (detail)

Butterfly wings, definitely.

 

Dieric Bouts, the Road to Paradise (detail)

Lovely blue ones – and presumably, holes cut into the robes.  Must be difficult to get on.

Raphael, The Archangel Michael (detail)

Hint of snakeskin here – look at that fore-edge.

 

To finish, a revamped painting of mine, which I noticed “after the fact” sort of bore a resemblance to the theme – but not to the quality, of course…

Angel Wings (formerly Lost in the Woods)

Blackpaint

29.5.20

Blackpaint 131

May 10, 2010

Robert Natkin

Obituary today of another great painter I’d never heard of until I saw the Guardian.  An abstract expressionist and colour field painter, his paintings are misty light blue and red/orange patches and ovals, often with a milky surface, as if seen through white muslin.  I like his stuff a lot; a bit like a washed-out Hans Hoffman in some.  There’s a photographer of the same name, who died in 1996.

Fra Angelico to Leonardo – Italian Renaissance Drawings

Finally got to this today; crowded, but not packed.  So much in it that I’ll do it over a couple of days.

Here goes, in no particular order: Michelangelo, “old man in a hat” – shading vertical lines and top left to bottom right and cross hatching.  Elsewhere in exhibition, notes refer to cross hatching as the characteristic Michelangelo style (new to me; see Blackpaint 16 about Mick’s, Leo’s and others’ shading habits).

Several Siennese drawings, all based on Duccio paintings.

“Hanged men” by Pisanello, clearly done from life, as it were; the one with the drooping thigh boot rather haunting.

Gozzoli and Lippo Lippi pictures on blue paper, in metal- and silverpoint highlights picked out in white lead, really effective.

Ghirlandaio drawing of servant woman pouring out a jug, with cross-hatching “in the Michelangelo style”.  One of the best drawings, I think; he was Mick’s mentor.

Da Vinci’s 1473 landscape – the earliest European landscape say the notes – must check on other cultures.  Very variable shading, all directions, short and long, a little like some of Van Gogh’s. 

More Leo, Virgin and child with cat, loose sketching, hardly any shading, quick and – sketchy.  Also Christ with cat.

Leo, background to Adoration of the Magi with perspective lines ruled in, like a diagram – surely just an intellectual exercise for him.

Rosselli, Mount Sinai – again, no trees (see Blackpaint 112 on Michelangelo, who doesn’t do trees either).

Pollaiuolo – a very strange Adam; rangy and muscular, with a right arm completely out of proportion and short bandy legs, leaning on a stick as if it were a crutch, teamed with a more conventional drawing of Eve.

Mantegna, St.James led to execution, the shading lines run from bottom left to top right, some horizontal; in the next picture, Man on Slab (Lazarus?), the shading is reversed, as it is in his Virgin and Child.

Two beautiful drawings by Bellini with tonal shading, that to me, were reminiscent of Ingres; in the next picture, however, attributed to Bellini and done in the same medium, there was clear parallel shading from top left to bottom right.  They looked quite different to me.  this latter drawing was called “Campo San Lio”.

I’ll finish today with Ghirlandaio’s drapery study (beautiful); apparently, he dipped the cloth  in wax and hung it on an armature so that it hardened and the folds were preserved.

More tomorrow, including Carpaccio, more Michelangelo, more Leonardo, Raphael and – more.

Apotheosis of Blackpaint

10.05.2010