Monday, 29 September 2014

Artists of War

I've just finished watching the series on iplayer.   Firstly - I loved it and found it very inspiring.  So thank you Mr Graham-Dixon and the BBC:  "I would happily pay 3 times the license fee...".  What always gets me though are those niggly bits:
When Bomberg goes to Jerusalem he suddenly produces some paintings that are ... er I don't know.. 'see and put',  panoramas of the city that are clearly a response to light and an amazing space.  It's like he's overwhelmed by the beauty and can't stop himself from transcribing what he sees in a very straight forward way.  But the art historians have to make something of it that's not there.  It drives me up the wall.  You can clearly see in those paintings he simply thought it was visually inspiring and wanted to put that down.
In the same programme he looks at the charcoal drawing of St Paul's from a church spire... "probably St Bride's" .. well as you can see Fleet street on his right leading up to the West façade of Saint Paul's and St Bride's on the other side, he clearly was not.  It really gets me that.  Its like the pomp of art speak overtakes common sense and basic research.  I don't know what spire it was drawn from but it wouldn't take long to work it out.
I remember seeing a programme on Constable years ago when the historian tells us how Constable, as a young man, must have had a poor view of the heavens as he had painted the moon in front of a cloud.  But it is clearly a thin cloud that the moon's light penetrates.
Having said all that I did love the series.  Quite humbling to see that sort of self belief and obstinacy - but I guess that's what you get from really great artists.
Catalogues for my efforts should land on door mats tomorrow... I hate this bit.  Lush to still be sporting sandals and shorts though hey!

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