I LOVED this exhibition. Well, no surprise since i adore impressionism and Monet! 🙂 But it was interesting to find out more about the art dealer behind them/him. Without this guy, Paul Durand-Ruel who knows how differently it could have gone both for the movement and for the artists… he bought a lot of paintings from the artists, in the beginning without customers to sell them on to, but in doing this, the artists had a bit of income and could continue their work, so it was very important. He also gave them a space to exhibit in, sometimes food&lodgings and championed their work when others laughed at and ridiculed them. Yay, what a great guy!! He was on the brink of ruin many times, but via the U.S. he managed to turn it around and sell impressionist work. ❤ My favourite room was the one with the Poplars series, that Monet painted back in good old 1891. They are all so beautiful&peaceful. Same subject, but all different. Poplars in wind, in sun, with clouds, different times and season. Love that! There were also many other beautiful paintings in the exhibition by Cezanne, Mary Cassatt, Sisley, Renoir, Manet&Degas.
Ok, so it was a while back that I went to see this exhibtion, back in September 2014, but I didn’t add it here, so I thought it would be time. This is such a good place to help me remember all the exhibitions I have been to 🙂 .
It was a super interesting exhibition, running through the importance and history of colour (for the artist). It is really incredible how rare and precious and even dangerous some colours/pigments were before synthetic ones came about in the 19th century. And how many poor insects were killed to get pigment before the synthetic ones came about.
A few of the many interesting facts;
ULTRAMARINE was more expensive than gold. It came in the shape of Lapis Lazuli natural mineral stones from Afghanistan that were ground into a fine powder and then mixed with wax, pine resin and gum arabic and kneaded in diluted alkaline bath— the process took days! In the 1300s the colour blue was a symbol of devotion and used for example in clothing on the Virgin Mary. There were a few other blue options (but not as precious as Lapis); Azurite, Prussian blue and smalt.
For a long time, it was hard to get a strong green pigment. One of the oldest is Verdigris, which is the green crust on the surface of copper and bronze. Interestingly green was used in Renaissance Italy as under paint for skin-tones, usually for faces.
Ochres are ancient. During the renaissance there came about a widely manufactured pigment of a bright yellow and orange tone. there was lead-tin yellow and Naples yellow which contains antimony.
Realgar is an orange mineral that has actual arsenic in it, which is extremely poisonous. So some paintings were painted with this, example by Titian and in some Dutch flower paintings.
For a very long time, the brightest red was vermilion, made from Cinnebar; a poisonous mineral. In the 19th century came an artifical version. Natural sources of red dyes are: Brazilwood, madder, stick lac -which are insects 😦 , kermes- also insects 😦 and cochineal- also insects 😦 .
Queen Victoria dressed her whole family in mauveine. Before it was synthetically made, it was the colour of the rich, because the it took 12,000 molluscs to get enough dye for a small garment. Those poor molluscs!
A few months ago I went to see the Turner exhibition in Tate Britain. I was so looking forward to this exhibition. What I love about Turner, especially the later works, are that the paintings are explosions of emotions. I love the hazy unclear subjects with layers of bright colours. The bright oranges and yellows are so satisfying. At the time people thought Turner had lost it towards the end of his life, because the paintings were quite abstract and not as shall we say “understandable” as before, not in the conventional Victorian aesthetic, but I, like a lot of others, think these were the best, I enjoy these paintings of his the most. I think they ARE paintings set free, Turner painted how and what he wanted, with passion. There’s magic in these paintings, freedom for imagination, sweeping you up with emotion but with endless space to breathe and enjoy.
A few years ago I bought a book about Turner from a charity shop, little did I then know I would be seeing many of the paintings pictured there, in real life, here in this exhibition. It was so wonderful.
After seeing the EY exhibition, I stumbled upstairs to the Tate Britain’s permanent collection, which was great— and there were many more paintings by Turner there, including a self-portrait that I’ve seen many a times before. The one where he is quite young, has a fabulous scarf tied around his neck and is looking straight out towards the viewer. Seeing that one made that whole Turner exhibition experience complete. 🙂
I recently attended an oil painting course at the Chelsea University of the Arts and although I did not end up liking my paintings too much, when I looked down i realized I REALLY liked these colours and blobs of paint on the palettes! The mint-greens and purples and dare I say strangely working composition, way way way better than the actual paintings! 😀 I like that these are impulsive and free and in their not trying to be anything, they are something ❤
Upstairs in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art there was this exhibition. And I really had no idea of what to expect, but I love impressionism so I was running there! And what a lovely surprise, as I entered room after room it was packed with beautiful paintings – and there were even a few Monets!!! Yess! Of course then I remembered when we were in Giverny over a year ago there was quite a lot of mention of American artists visiting Monet there in his village. So, they were influenced by him&his paintings and even painted with him and this exhibition was a great view of how artistic movements can spread. One of my favourites of Monet in the show is “Poplars on the River Epte”. Ah, Monet’s paintings are always wonderful. I have been wondering why I love his paintings so much and I think it is; colours. His choice of colours are the best (along with Vincent&Matisse of course 🙂 ). There is real real skill in that, he creates pictures that are beautiful and moving- in a rare, ususally calming&harmonious, way. There is something satisfying about his paintings, they are always a pleasure and joy for me to see. There were also a few Berthe Morisot paintings and I also really like her work. Her “Woman and Child in Garden” is wonderful because it is delightful quick-looking brush strokes with a warm feeling. Mary Cassatt is also great! I really like that in her “Summertime” the water is all kinds of colours and shades, including purple and orange.
Also what sticks in my mind is John Leslie Breck’s “Studies of an Autumn Day”. There were 12 (i think 12) paintings with the same haystacks but painted at different times of the day- it was really interesting how the subject stayed the same, but because of the changes in light and weather they looked completely different….Well, there you go, timing is everything! 🙂 Impressionism ❤
I was looking for this gallery and so by chance I ended up in Modern TWO, the name should have been a clue there but I thought there was only one modern (apparently there’s TWO separate buildings…well, saving some for next time), but i think it was destiny because I LOVED it. Everything inside there was a definite thumbs up. There was the permanent collection with Picassos downstairs and the exhibition: “American Impressionism: A New Vision” upstairs. The permanent was free and photography friendly whilst the exhibition had a small fee and no photography allowed. I have never seen Picasso’s “Portrait of Lee Miller” before and it was enchanting! Colourful and charming! There were also beautiful pieces by Edouard Vuillard, Andre Derain and Henri Matisse. Matisse’s “The Painting Session” I have seen online before, but didn’t know it would be there, so it was a wonderful surprise. I love the composition of it and somehow it looks so easy breezy great. Derain’s “Collioure” is fantastic! The colours are super intense and I love the “blotchy” technique. Yes!! Vuillard has a few paintings there, but I think my favourite one of them there is “The Candlestick” or “Two Seamstresses in the Workroom”. The candlestick is quite a long painting and quite empty looking in one way, but very eye pleasing at the same time and in the seamstress painting I really like the different textiles/surfaces there, and as if it is only one little piece of a puzzle. I took lots of photographs there and realized Miro is growing on me.
I adore Scotland ❤ We went to Edinburgh so one of the places I really wanted to go to was the Scottish National Gallery. It was quite a large space and filled with a huge variety of work, entry was free and photography allowed! Hurray! My absolute favourite room was (of course) the impressionist room at the top where there were a few Vincent van Goghs, a Monet, some Gauguins, a Cezanne etc. A beautiful room with walls painted an intense royal blue. It had an absolutely lovely painting by Vincent called “Olive Trees 1889”. I will never ever ever ever get enough of Vincent van Gogh. What I love are the visible brush strokes that create such movement and energy, and the bright colours. It is captivating for me and there is a sense of real freedom there. Burst of the moment! In the same room there was a Paul Cezanne “The Big Trees” and I really like how the colours are almost like a palette there, each in a different designated area. The frames of the paintings were AMAZING too!! Love the vintage intricate robust frames that give an extra air of oomph to the paintings inside.