Posts Tagged ‘Giovanni Bellini’

Blackpaint 598 – Madrid, Salamanca, Bermondsey

June 3, 2017

Thyssen -Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Staggeringly beautiful medieval pieces, some below: it has to be said, however, that the Old Masters took some time to perfect the portrayal of a baby – I don’t mean the little adult Christs that sometimes perch on Mary’s knee, but the real babies – like those portrayed below.

 

Yes, it’s definitely a baby…

 

Simone Martini, St.Peter – looking guilty; maybe about the denial of Christ?

Now, a series of three very dodgy Christ babies…

Piero di Cosimo

 

Dodgy Jesus 2 – Jacob Jordaens

 

Dodgy Jesus 3 – Lucas Cranach the elder.  He’s enjoying the grapes, but she doesn’t look too happy…

Carpaccio – some interesting birdlife…

Great Bellini, with that characteristic model again, on the left – she’s usually the Madonna…

Henry Manguin, The Prints (1905).  He’s new to me – another great back for my collection.

 

Michael Andrews, Portrait of Tim Behrens

 

Willem de Kooning – could easily fit in the Last Judgement murals in Salamanca Cathedral (see below) – if it was a bit faded…

 

Salamanca Old Cathedral

Stuck onto the “new” one (started in 16th century); the old one is 12th – 14th century.  We found it by falling down the steps from the new cathedral.

St. Christopher, with Christ on his shoulder – but who are the others under his belt?  There’s another like this in the Prado, taken from a cathedral wall in Segovia, I think (how do they do that?  Taking a mural on stone and transferring it to canvas?); the one in the Prado has the belt people and also has fishes swimming round Christopher’s legs.  The wall paintings in the cathedral need no commentary, for the most part:

I love the sun and moon, looking down on Christ from left and right…

Just look at that half dome painting.

Salamanca is the most beautiful city; storks nesting on the church tower, peregrine falcons circling in the spotlights from the old Jesuit college roof, thousands of swifts screaming as they tear around in raiding parties above the streets, honey-coloured stone…

White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey

Jurgen Partenheimer, “Lichtschwarm” – until 18th June.

Great paintings, a couple of examples below.

 

Rather like Oiticica, maybe.

 

Memento Park

Blackpaint

02.06.17

 

 

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Blackpaint 520 – Bellini, Bruegel, Bosch, Berger, Bromden, Bergman

November 16, 2015

Giovanni Bellini again

Returning briefly to Venice,  I have to post a few of Bellini’s Virgins; it’s so obviously the same young girl modelling the BVM and the same child too, I think – ginger hair and normal proportions.

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Definitely a different child in this one though.. or much younger.

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In the new John Berger collection, “Portraits” (Ed. Tom Overton, Verso 2015) , Berger says that Bellini’s Virgins represent a journey towards the open air; they start in dark interiors and progress towards open meadows.

Portraits; John Berger on Artists

Two more startling insights – well, I found them startling – on Bosch and Bruegel:

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The Triumph of Death, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1562)

“…Bruegel’s paintings are more relevant to modern war and the concentration camps than almost any painted since.”  I find that hard to contest, looking at the “Triumph”;

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The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch (1500 – 5)

Berger compares Bosch’s vision of Hell to “a typical CNN news bulletin, or any mass media news commentary.  There is a comparable incoherence, a comparable wilderness of separate excitements, a similar frenzy.

“Bosch’s prophecy was of the world-picture which is communicated to us today by the media under the impact of globalisation, with its delinquent need to sell incessantly.”

Overstated no doubt, but apart from the last bit about selling, I thought this was pretty close to right, as regards the coverage of the Paris murders on Friday night.  Sky, Euronews, France 24 all overstated the numbers of dead, as if they weren’t bad enough; BBC repeated some story on Twitter about the jungle camp at Calais being on fire (why do they repeat this shit on “social media”?); it seemed to me that Al Jazeera came closest to getting casualty numbers and other details right at the time.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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I was roundly criticised by women friends for praising this “misogynist and racist” film when it was first released back in 1975 – and no doubt some of the criticism was justified.  Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) is the embodiment of controlling, malignant authoritarianism; the thuggish, cynical guards are black, the mental patients are white (exception being Chief Bromden, played by Will Sampson) and the anti-hero McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) treats his girlfriends as chattels, to be smuggled into the institution for sex – with himself, Turkle the corrupt guard (the brilliant Scatman Crothers) and, disastrously, with Billy (Brad Dourif).  McMurphy comes close to strangling Nurse Ratched near the end, so violence against women too.

After watching it again on DVD, I have to say that it was even better than I remember; the fishing expedition, the after-hours orgy and the rousing ending were the highlights.  They don’t make them like that any more; tried to think of something similar and the best I could do was Mark Rylance as Rooster in Jez Butterworth’s play “Jerusalem”.

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I was sad to read on Wikipedia that Will Sampson died of scleroderma at only 54, after a heart and lungs transplant.

Ingmar Bergman

I wrote last week that a lot of Bergman’s films seem to be set on islands; I did a bit of research and found there are at least seven, starting with “Eva” in 1948 to “The Passions of Anna” in 1969.  Bergman moved to the Swedish island of Faro in the early 60s and founded a studio there – but there were already three films that were wholly or partly island -bound. Something to do with isolating the characters and developing the tensions or attractions between them, maybe; or, as in “Shame” (1968), watching the effect of the outside world bursting in on them – civil war in this case.

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Bergman was arrested for tax evasion in 1976; although the charge was dropped, he closed down Faro and said he would make no more films in Sweden.

I was going to write something about Kitaj, but since he doesn’t begin with a “B”, it would mess up my title – so next time.

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A couple of life drawings/paintings – yes, I know, but I can assure you the model is alive – or at least, he was when I did it.

Blackpaint

16.11.15

Blackpaint 517 – Venice Preserv’d

October 30, 2015

It’s preserved in brine.  No-one lives there, except for shopkeepers, hoteliers and gondoliers maybe; the average resident’s age is over 50.  Anyway, this is the pavilions blog.

Giardini (the Pavilions)

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Kerry James Marshall

This magnificent “mirror” picture is one of 5 or 6 both abstract and figurative pictures in the main pavilion, which houses individual artists, rather than national projects.

The British Pavilion

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Sarah Lucas

 

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Sarah Lucas

The British and Russian pavilions form, for me, the opposing poles of the national exhibitions; the Lucas sculptures are joyfully obscene and the great yellow phallus wags like a middle finger before the Gran Bretagna sign (see above).  Inside, a number of sculptures rest on piles of spam tins or plunge headlong into toilets with cigarettes poking out of their bumholes and vaginas.  Lacking in subtlety and pathos perhaps – but no denying the popularity with the punters.  Everybody was laughing and snapping away uproariously; four mature German women obviously very intellectually stimulated…

Romanian Pavilion

I loved the Romanian show again this year, because it contains some real paintings – and good ones at that.  I thought at first glance they were abstract, but was sharply informed by my two companions that they were not; “There’s a hand – and there’s a man in that one”.  True, but the thick paint, applied in swipes by a knife maybe, and the vivid colours make them look abstract.  They are collectively called “Darwin’s Room”, so there is a conceptual basis – but I liked the paintings too much to bother with that.  They remind me of Bosch, or Brueghel, or even the Matthias Grunewald.

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Adrian Ghenie

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Adrian Ghenie

Russian Pavilion

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Irina Nakhova has put together a rather oddly matched group of exhibits; the above is a hologram(?) of a pilot’s face peering anxiously out of a giant oxygen mask; amusing and memorable but… on the other hand, there is a very moving display of film and photographs on the lower floor, constantly playing through “windows”; unsmiling soldiers in uniform, sometimes with guns, scratchy old film of Russian people going about their lives, photos of victims of the NKVD, shot at a rifle range, people whose faces are scrawled over with a pen like the Rodchenko photos.  At one point, the walls appear to be closing in.  The faces, at an angle, look like stained glass windows.

To finish, two more Bellini paintings from the Accademia:  Note the similarity in the position of the dead Christ in the Pieta to that of the baby in the Virgin and Child.

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Giovanni Bellini

 

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Mirror Portrait

Blackpaint

30.10.15

Blackpaint 516 – Deaf in Venice; Biennale I

October 28, 2015

The Biennale

The 56th Venice Biennale finishes on 22nd November, so readers have plenty of time to drop everything and go.  If that is not convenient, you can view my highlights here over the next three days.  I’m just back from Venice, deafened by the constant click/buzz of photos being taken on phones, tablets and even the odd camera.  At the Biennale venues, saw many tourists just snapping everything, without looking at the pieces; all nationalities guilty, but some more guilty than others.  Two particular examples of photomania stand out:

  • a woman who sat in front of a 3D movie made by a Russian film collective and apparently attempted to photograph every frame (if films still have frames – they probably don’t).  She must have taken more than fifty pictures;
  •  in a square by the Accademia bridge, saw a circle of maybe 30 tourists round one of those central wells with the iron covers, all snapping away furiously; when they moved back, I saw the attraction – a ginger cat had been sitting there.

There are a lot of beautiful paintings in the Accademia,  Giorgione’s mysterious “Tempesta” for example, but the various Giovanni Bellini Virgins with child are the highlight for me.  He clearly used the same young girl as a model in several of the pictures and her slightly pudgy but somehow beautiful face is  obviously that of a real person, rather than some stylised ideal.  The kid’s not bad either, by the standards of the day, and that green panel in the background turned up in several virgins by different painters.  More Bellinis to come.

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Giovanni Bellini

Arsenale

There are three venues for the Biennale; the Arsenale, the Giardini where most national pavilions are situated –  and various individual and national displays scattered around the city.  I’ll do the three best from the Arsenale today, the Pavilions tomorrow and the scattered venues on Friday.

 

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Kay Hassan

South African artist; they are collaged faces, built up into thick, placard-like posters – or poster-like placards.  He calls them “Everyday People”.

 

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Helen Marten

UK artist.  I don’t know how to begin to describe her constructions; they are made up, as you can see, of a multitude of..things and bits of things and are sometimes presented against a painted board background – or in at least one case, through a painted board background.

 

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Gedi Sibony

American artist.  His work is done on sheets of metal from cut-up trailers.  Logos or advertising material (these examples are drink cans) are then roughly painted over, in white, black, yellow paint.  Sounds like a crap idea but I think they look great.

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Gedi Sibony

I’ve left out a whole load of great stuff – George Baselitz has some huge hanging figures (upside down, of course) that are sharper somehow than his previous work, as if done in inks.

 

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Polruan

Blackpaint   28.10.15

Tomorrow, I’ll do the Giardini with the Pavilions.

If you do go to Venice, eat at the Rosso Pomodoro (Red Tomato).  Nice and informal, no pressure to have the expensive dishes, like elsewhere.  Have the spaghetti and prawns, chittara I think it’s called.  Fantastic.