Posts Tagged ‘Titian’

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.