Posts Tagged ‘Uccello’

Blackpaint 177

August 19, 2010

Frederick Cayley Robinson

At the National Gallery.  He died in 1927.  The NG has a suite of paintings he did for a hospital which has been demolished and one in particular on show now.  It’s sort of a cross between Pre-Raphs and very high class children’s illustration, although he said he was influenced by Puvis de Chavannes.  The painting is a pastoral scene – a river winding through its plain in the centre of the picture, with a blinding column of sunlight striking down onto its surface.  Flock of woolly sheep in bottom left, Mabel Lucie Attwell-ish shepherd girls on right, under a couple of silver birch trees, I think, or maybe some sort of willow.

Beautifully painted, and when I looked closely at the sheep, saw a number of small, randomly distributed red dots, which disappeared when I stepped back.  Went in again, to make sure it wasn’t  my eyesight – no, there they were.  Is this some well-known technique of which I am ignorant?  The birch bark was fantastic too.  Interestingly – perhaps – there was a very  thin black outline round the figures, giving them the slightest Rousseau-type, “stuck on” effect. 

As well as this picture, there was a great self-portrait, signed in a cod-mediaeval way; I think he was going for Holbein (about two thirds there).

Fakes exhibition at the NG

Forgot the proper title – worth a visit anyway and it’s FREE (I suppose they can’t really charge you for looking at fakes…).

Not all, or even most, are fakes actually – there are some restorations, different versions by same artist, wrongful attributions  made in  good faith, reconstructions from original  materials – and some genuine  ones (Madonna of the Pinks, Uccello’s St.George and the Dragon) that were originally thought to be fakes.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff on materials, especially pigment – Prussian Blue, invented in early 18th century, seems to have been crucial several times.

There’s a “Madonna of the Iris”, purportedly Durer, actually by a bunch of different artists.  I have to say that, although the madonna is no great shakes, the red fabric of her gown is beautifully done in that International Gothic style.

By contrast, the “Poussin” picture, “The Plague at Ashdod”, was terrible – see the boy in the right hand corner!  It was traced too, I think the blurb said; the faker must have been tired by the time he got to that bit.

The Verrocchio with the two angels (right angel done by a pupil, they think) – his distinguishing features are the lips and eyelashes; always a little prominent (check out  Tobias and the Angel in the main gallery – the one with the little dog they think was done by Leonardo).

There are a couple of Botticellis, featuring his beautiful hippy women with their sleepy, serene eyes, but the star has to be that Uccello – I never thought it looked much upstairs, but down here in level -3, it glows.

Per Kirkeby

Got the book of the recent Tate exhibition reduced (£6.00) – I like the stuff better now.  Maybe there was just too much in the exhibition.  Anyway, as well as himself, he reminds me of a bunch of other painters, as I flick through: Rauschenberg, in the car ones with the dots; Peter Doig, in some of the landscape-y things; and Sigmar Polke with his cartoon figures on horseback.

Rubens

Back upstairs, I was rather disturbed to find the Rubens women, reminiscent as they sometimes are of the Captain  Pugwash cartoons, somewhat erotic.  I clearly need to take up some sort of hobby.

Blackpaint

19.08.10

Blackpaint 118

April 23, 2010

Jerusalem

Blackpaint celebrated St. George’s Day (and Shakespeare’s spurious birth and death day) early, by going to see the Jez Butterworth play at the Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue last night.  It was nearly as good as the reviews;  my only disappointment was that the language didn’t quite match the Shakespearean overtones.  Rooster Byron clearly invites some comparison with Falstaff, as an unofficial Master of Revels and a “misleader” of youth; I kept waiting for the “chimes at midnight” line, but it never came.

There were a couple of excellent monologues, put in the mouth of the confused professor; one was a long rhyme that sounded traditional, the other a short account of the St.George legend – again, I think  it was a quotation.

At the end of the play, Byron calls up a long line of English, Anglo-Saxon and other(? Yggdrasil?  isn’t that the Norse tree that joins earth to heaven?) folk heroes and mythic figures and I was reminded of the Donmar Theatre years ago, watching the end of Albert Mtwla’s “Woza Albert”, where  the heroes of the Liberation struggle are invoked one after another.

That was the second occasion that I was transported back in time;  the first was 10 or 15 minutes earlier, when Sandy Denny’s “Who knows where the time goes?” was used for a dance sequence.

It was December 1966 and I was in Charing Cross  Road, opposite St Martins -in- the-Field, by Trafalgar Square.  I was humping a big, brown leather briefcase  back to my firm’s West  End office.  Beatle hair over my ears and collar, suit and tie.  Suddenly, right in front of me, emerging from a taxi, carrying a guitar case and  wearing a black cape, Sandy Denny.  I’d seen her play and sing at the Nag’s Head in Winstanley Road, Battersea on the previous Sunday night and I like to think  she recognised me (it was a small, smoky upstairs room).  Anyway, I was smitten, although she was a couple of years older than me.

She saw me staring at her, paused and gave me a little quizzical smile; obviously at this point I  should have approached, told her I was a big fan, got an autograph – didn’t do  any of those; too shy- went red, turned away, walked on, kicked myself every night for a month…

Anyway, art.

Five great St. Georges; google them.

  • Tintoretto, National Gallery
  • Uccello, National gallery
  • Raphael, National gallery of Washington
  • Rubens, Prado
  • Odilon Redon – at least three versions, very strange.

My St.George (again)

Blackpaint

23.04.10