Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A special Monday morning...

 On Monday morning, early, we took the train to London and walked to the Courtauld Gallery . This beautiful, small place hold some of the world's most famous and recognisable paintings...
 ...who doesn't know this self-portrait by Van Gogh, for instance? He looks so remarkably serene despite his mutilated ear...or maybe just resigned to the mental illness that was taking over his brilliant, creative life?
 Gauguin is a particular favourite of my father...I took this photo for him especially!
 This unfinished painting really captivated me...I particularly enjoyed seeing the sketches underneath, the bare bones of the artists work...

 Downstairs was a small room containing mediaeval and renaissance religious art...I was all alone in there...surrounded by incredible colour. It was hard to believe that the painting below dates from 1500...
 and this one is 1409!
 'The Annunciation' is often reproduced on Christmas cards, but it's very special to see it in real life...it was created in around 1450...
 This nativity (1400) really struck me because, despite being over 700 years old, the faces of the figures seemed so human...
 I find that mediaeval art can look a little 'flat'...but not these...
 ...there were also many religious items...boxes, reliquaries...carved from ivory...
 ...these figures would once have been accented with colour (a few traces remain on the veil and draperies.

We were at the gallery to view a special exhibition there, that's just coming to an end...Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude. The first photo shows a portion of one of my favourite paintings there. Schiele was an Austrian artist, who only lived from 1890-1918...he, his wife and their unborn first child died in the terrible Spanish flu pandemic that occurred just after the end of the First World War. Much of his work is very anatomically explicit and he was imprisoned on indecency charges for a few months. I found it neither pornographic nor erotic...to me, it was incredibly beautiful...in a 'real' way...and filled with truth. Not 'pretty' art by any means - but I stayed for a long time in those small rooms, taking in this incredible collection which will soon be split up again as the works are sent back to the places all over the world that lent them. Very special!

Can you believe that January is almost half over already?


These beauties are already gracing the churchyard...snow is forecast this evening...but I don't think we'll have much here (although a lot of the country is in an icy grip already!)

If you haven't already, do pop over and visit my dear friend Sue Branch's brilliant blog...not only is there a truly fabulous giveaway to enter...but there are also some people you may recognise there (and one super-cute dog!)

Hoping the New Year is wonderful so far....x