Posts Tagged ‘Paolo Sorrentino’

Blackpaint 562 – O’Keefe, Caine, Keitel and Maradona

July 14, 2016

Georgia O’Keefe, Tate Modern


Autumn Tree – the Maple

I’ve been to the O’Keefe exhibition and wasn’t keen, on the whole.  I think the trouble is with two things: firstly, the surfaces of her paintings – they’re too flat and dry, no texture.  They would do equally well as prints, it seems to me (I remember, we felt the same about Hopper).  Surface like Lempicka, even.  That’s a matter of taste, I suppose, and so is the other problem, which is really the subject matter.

As with “American Sublime” a few years back and a Samuel Palmer in the watercolour exhibition, I think some things aren’t meant to be painted.  Glorious sunsets, weird desert effects, they’re great in nature but mostly horrible on canvas.  Like those garish postcards that olden days people used to send home from Thailand or wherever they’d been on holiday, they don’t convey the real thing.  An exception is –


The Mountain, New Mexico

Same thing goes for antelope skulls – the real things are fantastic objects in themselves; why turn them into detailed, accurate drawings (except to provide an accurate scientific record)?  Same thing should go for the flowers, but for some reason, I like those.

Anyway, I got “echoes” of a whole range of artists going round, some of them surprising:

Richard Hamilton – there were a couple of sheets of parchment-like paper, reminiscent of Hamilton’s early drawings of car fronts and fridges.

Luc Tuymans – grey/white sheets, tied or folded in the middle.

Marc/Macke – Lake George, Coat and Red (below)

oklake george

Black Mesa Landscape (below) reminded me of Lawren Harris, who paints mountains like distant white blancmanges.



Generally,  I thought of Nolan’s and other Australian’s  renditions of landscape, Ayer’s Rock/Uluru for example.

Again generally, I got Mexican muralists for some reason.  The picture I liked best was Winter Road (below) – hardly typical.

okwinter road


Youth, Sorrentino (2015) DVD

What is Sorrentino doing?  He seems to be imitating the style of Terence Malick in the Tree of Life – but not doing it very well.  The only memorable image is that of the enormously-bellied hotel guest on the tennis court, propelling the ball into the air time and again with a sort of nimble, fat athleticism.  He’s supposed to be Maradona, apparently.


Fellini said that he’d chosen Donald Sutherland to play Casanova because the actor was wooden – Sorrentino perhaps chose Michael Caine for the same reason.  Caine never seems to be acting in anything I’ve seen him in; he just says his lines, with an occasional slight gesture towards emotion – anger, or grief, say – as an indication of what his character might be feeling.  He’s Michael Caine; why bother?  He does look a lot like Sorrentino regular Tony Servillo in this, though.  Harvey Keitel’s exit is hilarious.  The music – Simple Songs, was it? – is terrible.

It got excellent reviews and won some prizes; must take another look to see what I missed.

So, nothing good this week (including the “change” of government).  Stood all weekend in a Brixton street art fair with a bunch of my paintings and didn’t sell a single one.  Then I turned out this pinkish affair, which I include only to have something new in the blog.


Work (not) in progress,




Blackpaint 364 – Michelangelo and the Animals, Schutte’s Soft Heads

October 25, 2012

Raoul De Keyser

His obit was in the papers the other day.  One of the famous Belgians.  His paintings were simple, often geometric but roughly so, bright, primary colours – when they were not totally abstract, they were of everyday things; football pitches, dogs, monkey puzzle trees…  In this respect, he reminded me a little of Prunella Clough, writ large…

De Keyser


Thomas Schutte at the Serpentine

Free exhibition; outside on the grass, a group of Schutte’s squat, bald figures bound to each other, supported on broomstick legs.  Inside, photographs of his distorted, softened and sagging wax heads line the upper walls of one room around a huge, central figure apparently made out of resin – but actually metal, the colour presumably supplied by oxidation.  Small etchings and drawings, all portraits or figures, many self portraits, done with a minimal line and sparing colour; a striking one of a woman with an orange throat (which he uses in another picture too).  Worth the visit, but I missed his stumpy little bald gnomes with the ecstatic, or maybe tortured, expressions.

Michelangelo and the Animals

  • Some readers will be familiar with my discovery that M didn’t do trees (see Blackpaints 111, 112 et al)); it struck me recently that he didn’t do much in the way of animals either – certainly fewer than any other Renaissance painter I can think of.  Titian, Leonardo, Tintoretto, all took the opportunity to knock out a variety of animals at times, but M seems to have kept it to a bare minimum.  Here’s my list:
  • Fish, apparently sucking Jonah’s leg, on the Sistine ceiling;
  • Ram with throat cut, another awaiting sacrifice, a horse (head only) and an ox (head only), also on Sistine ceiling – in the Noah section;
  • A couple of fanciful serpents in the Underworld on the Sistine altarpiece, and the serpent tempting Eve, on the Sistine ceiling (but does this count? It’s half woman);
  • In the Presentation Drawings, the horses attached to Phaeton’s chariot as it plunges to the ground and the eagle eating Tityus’ liver;
  • A marble barn owl on one of the tombs.  And that’s it, so far as I can see.

Actually, let’s go the whole way: there’s not much landscape either – rocks, desert, bare minimum really.  What he really liked was doing figures.

Paolo Sorrentino

Watched his two great films on DVD – “Il Divo” and “The Consequences of Love”, both starring the prince of stillness, Tony Servillo .  He’s the complete anti – stereotype of Italians; or  maybe that’s just a British conception, that Italians are voluble and animated.  In “Il Divo”, he is Andreotti, the seven times PM, with links to the Mafia; it touches on the deaths of Calvi (the banker found “hanged” under Waterloo Bridge), Aldo Moro (kidnapped and eventually shot by the Red Brigades) and other political murders of judges, lawyers, etc.  Unlike the work of Francesco Rosi (Giulano, The Mattei Affair, Illustrious Corpses) it has an almost operatic feel – there is no attempt at “documentary”.  “Consequences” co-stars Olivia Magnani; presumably Anna’s granddaughter(?); she is riveting.

Head of Saint Luke, the Painter Saint