I did this sketch in Rome…it’s from a fountain in a piazza. I added the colour today during a quiet time at O week at Uni.
Tag Archives: painting
I am a few weeks behind commenting on my visit to the Brett Whiteley Studio and Gallery, and indeed on Alchemy itself. I have been in deep thought about what one part to concentrate on. The work ‘Alchemy’ is an incredible artwork mapping Brett Whiteley’s life. Some have said it is a self portrait. I think of it in a literary sense. It is autobiographical. A portrait in art is generally one picture, showing one aspect of a person, with facial features, showing only the surface. An autobiography however, can reveal thoughts and feelings that perhaps were not evident before being revealed.
Alchemy can be described as taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Taking what is common, and making it shine like gold. I believe that what Brett Whiteley was trying to show was the transition of his own life, from conception through to spiritual nirvana, turning one sperm amongst millions, into a life that mattered.
The section I wish to focus on is his discovery or what I call the exploration portion of the artwork. I have interpreted this part of the painting to coincide with Whiteley’s adolescence. Adolescence is a time of discovery. We use a telescope to look into the cosmos. We discover what part we are to play in this big wide world. and we realise, with the use of a magnifying glass, that our own worth is infinitesimal compared to the universe. Brett Whiteley depicts this as him looking at his own life as William Blake’s grain of sand, making reference to his work
If we are reading the work from right to left (Contrary to the chronological way it was painted), you will see that at the end of what I term Whitleley’s adolescence a speech bubble with …!! enclosed. I believe this is the moment of revelation for Whiteley. the “That’s it!” moment.
And then with the realisation, he has discovered IT.
When travelling in the city on the weekend, I had my partner lean out of the car window and take these photos of a mural on the side of a building on the corner of Southern Cross Drive and Flinders St. You will see here that the artist is also facinated by Whiteley and has captured some of the spirit of Whiteley.
For my 19th Century Literature class, our Professor, Michael Griffith, took us of a tour of The Art Gallery of NSW to look at art in the 19th Century. It is interesting to see how the art of the period reflects the literature, or visa versa. In fact it seems all of the arts are in cahoots with each other, because if we look at the music of the period, we can see the temperament reflected in the melodies written at the time as well.
“Edward Elgar and Charles Villiers Stanford as quintessential English composers of the Victorian era, (Think ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ although Elgar wasn’t responsible for someone else putting words to his “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1”.) If you want “dark” and weighty, go for Elgar’s Symphony no. 2 – a superb work that doesn’t get heard enough. For “Romanticism” I’d suggest Brahms or Dvorak, any works. Or Smetana’s ‘Moldau'” from Richard Peter Maddox, Emeritus Professor of Music, UNE.
(Richard)Peter and I are good friends and we often discuss music through the ages.
Describe the impact on you of ONE of the paintings viewed on our tour- talk about how it has opened up your understanding of the key issues in the period we are studying!
The painting that had the most impact on my, and with which I could relate both ‘Hard Times’ by Dickens and ‘Silas Marner’ by Elliot, was ‘The Widower’ by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes.
Fildes grew up an orphan and was adopted by his grandmother who was a social reformer of the time. After Art school, he shared the concerns of his grandmother and went to work for the Graphic magazine. It was while there that Dickens saw Fildes work and was so impressed that Fildes actually went on to be illustrator for the Charles Dickens book ‘Mystery of Edwin Drood’.
Fildes had a real connection to the working class people of this era. He liked to paint the working class people of his time as a way to highlighting the problems in his world.
‘The Widower’ connected me with Silas Marner in the way that here is a single man, advanced in age, trying his best to care for children. Silas Marner also cared for “his daughter” as well as he could. The Girl in Silas had also been left motherless.
Motherless looks to be a template for the widower, with the same man and child in both pictures.
I am only part way through ‘Hard Times’ and while I can see elements of Hard Times in the painting, especially where Stephen Blackpool and his beloved Rachael are caring for Stephen’s poor wife.
Fildes became a very well known and wealthy artist, painting portraits of Society’s finest including Royalty from England and Europe. He was knighted for his work in 1906, but never forgot the working class.When commissioned by the Tate gallery in 1890 to paint a picture, he recalled the death of his first son to tuberculosis in 1877 and painted ‘The Doctor’ as a response to his grief.
Fildes died in 1918.
Many thanks to artmagick
and Google images for the pictures.
The text below comes from an app on my phone called DailyArt. Each day they present an artwork and provide commentary on the artwork presented. Since the entry today was from William Blake, I decided to share it here for my fellow 19th Century Literature students. I hope you enjoy, and maybe subscribe to this great free app. The painting comes from artuk.org
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It is the Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.
This image by William Blake painted for Thomas Butts is out of the ordinary even for Blake. The subject of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday receives a distinctive treatment. Jesus and his party of disciples enjoy a conventional treatment although they display the elongated bodies and reduced sized heads which Blake adopted for a period of time. The crowd gathered around Jesus are definitely unconventional since they are in various degrees of undress. The contrasting sizes of the various figures leads to a confusion of scale and perspective.
The Window through which Jerusalem is visible is framed by trees which are being climbed by figures of individuals attempting to reach a higher level. Jerusalem is not pictured as the earthly city of Jesus’ day but as the heavenly Jerusalem of the vision of John of Patmos.
During the period when Blake was reevaluating Classical thought as an influence on his myth and prophecy, he seems to have reconsidered the neoclassical style of art which he had adopted in much of his work. Neoclassicism gained prominence with the enlightenment; Blake looked to replace them both. This picture owes much to Mannerism, a style of the 16th century. According to this National Gallery website Mannerism demonstrated that “excellence in painting demanded refinement, richness of invention, and virtuoso technique, criteria that emphasized the artist’s intellect.” Blake found that this technique allowed him to use his intellect and inventiveness to stimulate a fresh view of a Biblical scene which could be opened to vision