Posts tagged with ‘paintings’

Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D

This is the Werner Herzog documentary about the Chauvet cave paintings in France. It was definitely worth seeing, but mainly, I think, for the incredible paintings themselves, rather than anything Werner Herzog brought to the project. It is probably the best use of 3D I’ve seen, because although I’ve seen photos of the paintings at Chauvet […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 24: El Greco

I have a thoroughly secular approach to Christmas — family, a tree, presents, turkey with all the trimmings, booze, the Doctor Who Christmas special — but still, the obvious choice for the last painting in my calendar is some kind of nativity scene. And for me, there was only ever going to be one choice. […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 23: Goya

This is The Straw Manikin, by Goya. It’s actually a cartoon for a tapestry, according to the blurb at the Prado. It’s a great image: fun, surprising, silly and a little bit creepy. I suppose that creepiness might be my masculine response to the fact that it’s ‘a clear allegory of women’s domination of men’. Or […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 22: Ofili

Contemporary art is incredibly obsessed with ideas, and with the idea of ideas — when you read the exhibition blurb, it’s always full of stuff about the conceptual background to the work, and the ideas the work is supposed to provoke in the viewer. I don’t have a principled objection to art based on ideas — […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 21: Lear

Despite being a birdwatcher, I’m not actually a huge fan of bird paintings. Or at least not a certain kind of bird paintings done by the certain kind of wildlife artist. Ducks huddling against the cold in the dawn light, that sort of thing. They tend to be a bit chocolate-boxy, or a bit over-precise… […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 20: Manet

This is Le Déjeuner dans l’atelier by Édouard Manet. I don’t have much to say about it. Good though, innit.

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 19: Carrà

This is The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli by Carlo Carrà. To quote Wikipedia: The subject of the work is the funeral of Italian anarchist Angelo Galli, killed by police during a general strike in 1904. The Italian State feared that the funeral would become a de facto political demonstration and refused the mourning anarchists […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 18: Bosch

I’m feeling ill today — perhaps I managed to poison myself with homemade chicken soup — so I thought perhaps I’d see if could find a painting with a medical theme. So here’s a cracker by Hieronymus Bosch, known as The Extraction of the Stone of Madness or The Cure of Folly. All that amazing Gothic […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 17: Velázquez

There are some great self portraits in the canon — Dürer, El Greco, Van Gogh, Van Eyck, all those Rembrandts — but I’m not sure any of them is as fabulous as this one by Diego Velázquez: It’s like the world’s greatest publicity photo.

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 16: Poussin

I think it’s interesting how much particular styles and periods can go in and out of fashion. The fact that whole artistic movements can gain and lose popularity for no simple reason serves as a valuable warning if you ever start thinking that your taste is in any way objective or reliable. Nicolas Poussin is a […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 15: Nolan

2AM tonight is the start of the third Ashes test, with England one-nil up in the series and with the opportunity to ruthlessly grind Australia into the dust in the same way the Aussies have done so many times to us over the past 30 years. So it seems fitting to pick an Australian painting; this is […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 14: Matisse

I was looking over the paintings I’ve posted so far, and it’s weirdly unrepresentative of my personal taste. I mean: Aelbert Cuyp, Jacob Jordaens, Jenny Saville, Lubin Baugin… these are fine artists but not exactly my particular favourites. So here’s a particular painting that made a personal impression on me. The Piano Lesson, by Henri […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 13: Baugin

I thought it was about time for a still life. This is Le dessert de gaufrettes by Lubin Baugin, from about 1630. ‘Gaufrettes’ are wafers, in this case ones which have been rolled up like brandy snaps or cannoli. I must say they look a little bit dry like that, but with a few mouthfuls of dessert […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 12: Renoir

Has there ever been a supposedly great painter who produced as many awful paintings as Renoir? I mean, look at this: It’s not just the fact that it is, in the least subtle way possible, a painting of a pair of boobs which happen to have a girl attached to them. Or that her arms […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 11: Unknown

Yesterday I featured a picture by a great painter of cows. To be fair, Aelbert Cuyp had many other notable qualities, including being a fine painter of skies and light… but one way or another an awful lot of his paintings have cows in. Maybe there were just a lot of cows in C17th Holland; […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 10: Cuyp

Oops, nearly forgot again. I suppose I could cue up a few in advance, but I rather enjoy the semi-random process of picking the paintings. This is A Herdsman with Five Cows by a River by Aelbert Cuyp.

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 9: Saville

Whoops, nearly forgot to post one for today. So here’s Plan, by Jenny Saville: It’s another one where the size is relevant — it’s actually 9 feet tall and 7 wide. So it’s a big painting; it changes it from an intimate perspective into something more monumental. I’ve always found the subject of size in […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 8: van der Weyden

Today’s painter is Rogier van der Weyden. This is, perhaps self-evidently, The Annunciation: I have a real thing for the painters of the Northern Renaissance: Jan Van Eyck, Memling, Dürer, Holbein, Bruegel, Bosch, Cranach. In fact, I love medieval and renaissance art generally, and that certainly includes the Italians, but for some reason I have special […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 7: Doig

Something a bit more contemporary for a change. Today we have White Canoe, by Peter Doig: Like so many of these paintings it loses some of the effect when you shrink it right down to 500 pixels — it’s actually eight foot wide. Nice though, innit.

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 6: Ingres

Ah, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, what a lot of names he had. And what a fabulous painter he was. Not in a style which is particularly fashionable these days; Neoclassical history paintings and portraits aren’t the sort of thing that would usually draw huge crowds to a London gallery. But Ingres is brilliant enough and, […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 5: Jordaens

I saw this one at the Royal Academy’s exhibition Treasures from Budapest (it normally lives in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest). The Fall of Man by Jacob Jordaens: I was really struck by frailty and fleshiness of the figures. Given the C17th taste for larger women, it’s not surprising that Eve doesn’t look like […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 4: Ernst

In theory, the coming of abstraction opened up a world of infinite possibilities. In practice, I guess inevitably, an awful lot of artists ended up producing a lot of very samey paintings. The zeitgeist traps us all. Max Ernst is one of those who stands out; I can’t imagine any of his contemporaries producing something like […]

Harry’s advent calendar of paintings, day 3: Rembrandt

I went to the London Wetland Centre for a spot of birding today, in the hope that the very cold weather might have conjured up something a bit special… which it hadn’t particularly. But some nice things: snipe, chiffchaff, skylark. Lots of ducks: a pintail, which is a bit unusual, but also wigeon, shoveler, teal, pochard and […]