Archive for Art

Dream Time

Posted in Art, Biographical, Covid-19, Mental Health with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2020 by telescoper

The Dream (Salvador Dali, 1931)

I know I’m not alone during this strange and unsettling Coronavirus period in having extraordinarily vivid dreams almost every night.

I’m grateful for two things related to this. One is that I’m sleeping much better than usual, with not a trace of the insomnia I’ve experienced in the past during times of stress. The other is that these dreams are very far from being nightmares. Most of them are benign, and some are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

The other day, for example, I had a dream in which Nigel Farage returned from his recent trip to Dover in search of migrants publicity to find his house filled with asylum seekers singing the theme from The Dambusters. There was also a cameo appearance by Nigella Lawson in that dream but I forget the context.

I’ve written about dreams a few times before (e.g. here) and don’t intend to repeat myself here. It does seem to me however that dreams are probably a byproduct of the unconscious brain’s processing of notable recent events and this activity is heightened because the current times are filled with unfamiliar experiences.

I know some people are having far worse nocturnal experiences than me, and I don’t really understand why I’m having a relatively easy ride when my past history suggests I’d be prime candidate for cracking up. Perhaps I’ve had enough practice at dealing with anxiety in the past (not always very satisfactorily)? Perhaps the sense of detachment I’ve experienced over the past few weeks is part of some sort of defence mechanism I’ve acquired?

Anyway, don’t have nightmares!

Van Dyck and Beards

Posted in Art, Beards with tags , , , on April 23, 2020 by telescoper

The 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) is famous not only as an artist but also for a particular style of facial hair, the goatee/moustache combo now known as a “Van Dyke”, as demonstrated by the man himself in this self-portrait:

What I didn’t realise until recently however that van Dyck painted a very large number of studies of men with all kinds of beards. Here is a particularly fine example (Study of a Bearded Man with Hands Raised, 1616).

I’m not an expert but based on the poses I suspect these studies were done in preparation for paintings with biblical themes. Indeed the model looks rather similar to the figure in Jude The Apostle completed about three years later:

Silhouettes of Gustav Mahler – Otto Böhler

Posted in Art, Music with tags , , , , on April 25, 2019 by telescoper

Schattenbilder (Silhouettes) of Gustav Mahler conducting, by Otto Böhler (1847–1913), published posthumously in 1914.

Star Maker, by Remedios Varo

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2019 by telescoper

by Remedios Varo Uranga (1908-63), painted in 1958.

Waves Breaking on the Rocks at Kilkee

Posted in Art with tags , , , on January 5, 2019 by telescoper

Back in Ireland on Thursday I was pottering about in my flat listening to the radio when I heard an interesting discussion about the work of art shown above, by Nathaniel Hone the Younger. It’s not a finished painting, but a small sketch made in watercolours, probably a study for a larger work. Hone made lots of these sketches over the years; this one was made in about 1890 at Kilkee and is in the National Gallery of Ireland. The dark palette and rough texture created by very thick application of the paint is unusual for a watercolour. No doubt all that is at least partly because of the windswept location in which the artist was working!

Jazz – Man Ray

Posted in Art with tags , , on October 6, 2018 by telescoper

by Man Ray (1919, oil on canvas, 71.12 x 55.88 cm).

Weird Life

Posted in Art with tags , , , on May 30, 2018 by telescoper

by Remedios Varo Uranga (1908-63), painted in 1945, 20 × 15.5cm, gouache on paper.

 

Painting with Two Balls

Posted in Art with tags , , on November 28, 2017 by telescoper

Jasper Johns, Painting with Two Balls, 1960 Encaustic and collage on canvas with objects, 65 x 54 in, on display at the Royal Academy until December 10th 2017.

The Black Square

Posted in Art with tags , , on November 6, 2017 by telescoper

Kazimir Malevich, The Black Square, 1915, oil on linen, 79.5 x 79.5 cm, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Supremus No. 58

Posted in Art with tags , , , on October 1, 2017 by telescoper

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (1879–1935).Oil on canvas (79.5 x 70.5 cm); painted 1916.  State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.