Posts Tagged ‘Botticelli’

Botticelli to Van Gogh

May 4, 2021

IMG_1843 titian

Titian ‘Noli me tangere’. ( Don’t touch me) 1511-12

When Annette and I received the invitation to catch a bus to our National Capital Canberra, to see an international exhibition of  paintings on loan by The National Gallery , London, we did not hesitate and jumped on cheerfully, together with many other art enthusiasts. The bus was full. We had a coffee break at Lake George which had hardly any water but that was compensated by some home-made cake and a cup of coffee. I had coffee with two sugars. Why not, at my age? Annette had a coffee too. There were about 8 men and well over 50 women. Sad proof that males seem to disappear of late.

The Canberra exhibition offered a rare opportunity to see not only Van Gogh and Botticelli, but also works by Vermeer, Van Dyck, Cezanne, Monet, Titian and many others. The above painting by Titian was one of many that  struck me, especially when the title stated,  ‘Do not touch me’. Titian was about 20 years old when he painted this scene depicting Christ and Magdalene. Looking at it with my twentieth century eyes I can only assume that Magdalene was sorely tempting Christ. Reading up about this painting it deals mainly from a religious point of view with the notion of the rebirth of Christ and the adoration of Magdalene in the presence of her Lord. Nothing inappropriate was intended nor happening in this scene. However, Titian being hardly over his teenage years would have the testosterones that I imagine were just as rife during his time as they are now. Did he really not see a connection between the woman reaching up and the scantily draped man? What I thought so wonderful was the combination of the drama between Christ and Magdalene and the beautiful story of the landscape, the sea and this village perched on top of the hill. It all made for truth and conviction. The art reigned above all else.

IMG_1860 13 Sunflowers

Vincent Van Gogh ’13 Sunflowers’.

With Vincent there can be no guessing. His work was of the most urgency. It was all he could do to stop the daemons in his head. Oh, the poor man, and how the brother Theo played such a pivotal role in at least giving Vincent the support he craved and needed to paint. He often went hungry and mad at the same time. He did not find, could not find peace, and vented his anger and confusion by painting with a mania that must have perhaps given him some degree of relief. One almost feels guilty looking at his work. He never sold a painting. No rich aristocratic benefactor for him, no Royal Court commissions, nothing!. His output was prolific, especially during the last two years of his short life. He could only paint, nothing else would work. And now, we are the benefactors. Apparently there are still over seventy of his works missing, many disappeared during the last war, taken by art looters. The output of art by Vincent was over 2100 works of which 860 were paintings. Vincent was 37 when he suicided by gun. Theo was 33 when he died of sadness and ill health. They are buried together.

How fortunate we are to now look at his work. I hope dear Vincent has found the peace he so craved.

The scroll of etchings and all things nude and nature.

July 7, 2020

We all know the healing effects of nature and that being away from nature can be very damaging. But, how damaged can we get being away from art? Of course, almost everything that give one a feeling of wonderment or surprises, delights or gives us new insight probably can be accepted as art. The dictionary describes art as the creation of works of beauty but then also adds making works of great or special significance. Perhaps things that are frightening or cruel can also include as being art. Dante’s inferno or some images of Botticelli can be very confronting even though we know him more as the creator of beauty and goddesses of love seated on giant sea shells. He also painted some rather gruesome scenes of murder and incitements to wars.

After moving to the new place I discovered a forgotten large roll of butcher paper that has moved a few times without getting a look at. This time my daughter unrolled some of it and it turned out to be a large roll of etchings that I did sometime during the 1990 when I did a certificate course in printmaking. Of course, I have many etchings and I often invite friends to come over and look at my etchings.
During those 1990’s I had set up an etching press in our garage in Balmain and I loved making etchings. The copper plates on which I did the engravings and the use of acid in the baths in which to dip the plates were all part of the Technical college equipment. All I did was to actually print at home the etchings from the finished plates on my own printing press, which was a converted mangle use for mangling clothes… It was simple but not perfect but good enough for my etchings. The works I did were not to achieve technical excellence in printmaking but more as a way in expressing, rather impatiently, images in a more spontaneous way using copper. The fertile mind seemed to express mainly nude women and flowers, but that’s a different story better told at some next time. There is a lot here!
After rediscovering this roll I decided to hang it on my stairs which has a wall with at least a few metres of space to suspend it from. The first thing to do was to get a ladder onto the stairs.
After getting the ladder in an upright position I had to get my legs onto the rungs and somehow with hammer, nails and the scroll of butchers paper all under one arm with the other arm holding onto the rungs of the ladder while climbing right to the top. Not such an easy task. Mind you, I did work for some time hanging outside multi story building swinging from bosun’s chairs. I do not fear ladders or heights. The next photo shows my legs (both of them) getting ready to ascend the ladder.
Legs, both of them.
At some stage after having climbed past the widow and as high as possible with my head against the stair’s ceiling I had to let go of the ladder’s rungs in order to place the scroll of etchings against the wall suspended by a bamboo rod (all in keeping with the oriental meme of the scroll). It is impossible to screw something single handed. One can imagine doing all this on my own. However, the results speak for themselves. A wonderful position to, after all those decades,¬†have found a way to show this forgotten scroll of etchings.
The scroll of etchings
In order to try and restore this butcher’s paper scroll of thirty years of age I had to somehow fix the paper’s fragile condition with a good preservative and restore its strength. I gave it about ten coats of varnish, hence the sheen on the surface.
The only problem still to solve is that the scroll now overhangs the entrance to the stairs whereby anyone going up or down has to duck past this scroll. The scroll is longer than the wall.
overhanging scroll
Nothing is easy but I am overjoyed that my etchings are hanging so nicely.