Posts Tagged ‘The Beekeeper’

Blackpaint 644 – Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Symbolist Spiders and Greek Bees

May 20, 2019

Van Gogh and Britain – Tate Britain until 11th August

Starry Night, Sunflowers, Convicts and some famous self portraits are all here in this show, but are so well-known and frequently reproduced that I though I’d show only some of the other art on show here, either that influenced him or shows his influence.  Gustave Dore is a prominent one – others below:

 

Bomberg

Curious that Bomberg was an avant-gardist, almost abstractionist,  early in his career and later, went back to landscapes reminiscent of VG – an avant-gardist of an earlier generation.  Although I have to sai I can’t see much Van Gogh in this particular selection.  Actually, it’s not curious at all, is it?  Art history is full of examples of painters who started radical and went conservative later.

 

Richard Parkes Bonnington

Actually looks more like a Bourdin than a Van Gogh, I think, if it had been a beach scene that is; Bonington was only 26 when he died of TB.  Staggering talent; see more of his works in the permanent Wallace Collection.

 

De Nittis

As much Manet as VG, I think.

 

Harold Gilman

Gilman’s take on that VG with the psychedelic bark.  Either he’d been at the absinthe that day, or some secretion in his brain was producing that “creeping lines” illusion you get on LSD, as I am led to believe…

 

William Nicholson

Wonky looking base, but lovely flowers AND pot…

 

Spencer Gore

I love his violet shadows and the chiselled edges of the roofs and gables; a roomful of these might be a little insipid, though…

 

Unknown – to me anyway, as I didn’t get the name.

Clear VG influence in the sky and trees – as well as a touch of Hockney’s Yorkshire Dales?

Good exhibition, especially the flower pictures; not altogether convinced by the attribution of influence, though.

 

Rembrandt, “Thinking on Paper” at the British Museum Print Room until 4th 

One big advantage over the Van Gogh – the VG costs £22.00, This is free.  below, some examples:

 

The Three Crosses, 1653

Drypoint and burin on vellum.

 

Reclining Nude, 1658

Copper Plate.

 

Young Woman Sleeping, 1654

Brush and brown wash.

 

Self Portrait Leaning on a Stone Wall, 1639

Etching with drawing in black chalk.

Very different, aren’t they?  On the evidence of these four examples, even allowing for the different techniques, you wouldn’t know they were by the same artist.

 

Symbolist Prints – Print Room with the Rembrandts until 18th July

A visual accompaniment to the morally unsound, absinthe- and drug-suffused, sexually advanced world of 19th century French poets, with their drunken boats, evil flowers and lobsters on leads – have I got that right? – a series of atmospheric and beautifully executed prints, an example by Redon below:

 

Odilon Redon

 

The Beekeeper, dir. Theo Angelopoulos, 1986

I’ve just watched Angelopoulos’ sad and funny film again in honour of International Bee Day today.  The story line, which involves an ageing Marcello Mastroianni on a road trip across Greece in search of spring pollens for his crates of bees would probably attract the displeasure of critics if made now, since it involves – eventually – a sexual encounter with a much younger woman (although the encounter is sort of consensual).  Funny?  Unintentionally, I think – poor old Marcello is made to fling himself bear-like onto surprised and displeased women (one of them his estranged wife) and after a few seconds of desultory struggle, to give up and sink into a torpor.  It’s the contrast between the suave Marcello of “Dolce Vita” and the shabby hulk of the beekeeper…

The film ends with what I thought was a unique “suicide by bees”; the Wikipedia entry, however, tells me that the beekeeper is not dying, but actually signalling in Morse code with fingers I took to be drumming in agony.

An old one of mine to finish –

Skinningrove

Blackpaint

20/05/19

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 481- Posy and John, Flowers and Bees, Michelangelo and the Easter Bunny

February 7, 2015

Posy Simmonds

Just picked up her “Literary Life” in Quinto Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, for a fiver – best investment I’ve made for some time.  For me, she is far and away Britain’s best cartoonist and she writes a mean story too; her envious, embittered authors, lusting after the waitresses at the book launches….

posy simmonds

I think her cartoons stand comparison with John Cooper Clarke’s poetry, although admittedly, they  chronicle different social milieus…

Angela Flowers Gallery, Old Street – Seven from the Seventies

A rather sparse exhibition of huge abstract paintings – one from each artist, with smaller works upstairs – that eschew expressionism and mostly follow an ordered, geometric (but highly colourful) aesthetic.  The painters are Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Richard Smith, Derek Hirst, Michael Kidner and Jack Smith.  Few paintings, but some are great; they stay in the mind.

colin cina

Colin Cina 

The Beekeeper, Angelopoulos

The great Marcello Mastroianni as an elderly beekeeper who goes on a road trip with his bees (in crates in the back of a white van), leaving his wife and newly-married daughter.  Improbably, he gets picked up by a young woman hitch hiker, a free spirit, who travels with him and sponges off him, while picking up young men for sex when she fancies it, once bringing one back to the room she and MM are sharing (they’re not sleeping together yet – when they finally do, the relationship founders).  In the end, he gets stung to death by his bees on a lonely hillside in the end.  Even in an unlikely story like this, Marcello manages to shine – and his co-star, Nadia Mourouzi, certainly has the most staggeringly beautiful body I’ve seen recently.  Apart from yours of course, darling… and of course, I’m speaking as an artist…

mourouzi

 

The “Michelangelo” Bronzes

michelangelo bronzes

 

I saw the big Bronzes exhibition at the RA in 2012, and I have to say I don’t remember these statuettes at all.  If they’d been exhibited as Michelangelos, of course, it would be a different story; the name makes you look and remember.  Without the attribution, you edit them out unless they are really striking.  So, either they are not that striking, or my taste and judgement are crap.  Not that striking, then.

The arguments in favour seem pretty convincing – but what happened to that other putative Mick, “St. John the Baptist Bearing Witness”, proposed by Everett Fahy a couple of years ago (see Blackpaint 111 and 112)?  I dismissed the claim of course, on the basis of Blackpaint’s First Law relating to Michelangelo, which states “Michelangelo doesn’t do trees”; there are lots in the St.John.

easter bunny1

 

Blackpaint

Easter Bunny 

7.02.15