Sunday, November 28, 2010

Appropriate Subject for Work of Art

The Stacks digital photography

I went to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA to see "London Calling: Victorian Paintings from the Royal Holloway Collection."  It was a wonderful treat to see the paintings in the collection -most by painters who were unfamiliar to me.  Here is what the website said:  "The collection on display at the Chrysler ranges from wall-spanning masterpieces to contemporary street life scenes; from landscapes or marine studies to great historical events. It's an exhibition of great depth and scope, and it's the first time it has been on display outside of England."  

Some of the sixty or so paintings touched my heart more than the others.  'Applicants for Admission to casual Ward ' 1874 -(oil  95.8" x 53.9")  by Sir Luke Fildes is about  poverty that was the result of Industrial Revolution in Britain. I was taken aback when I read the curator's notes next to the painting : "Although Filde's painting created a popular sensation at the Royal Academy in 1874, critics were divided as to whether so direct a confrontation with human misery was an appropriate subject for work of Art."  I am glad artists don't think so and Goya, Picasso and many many others felt a moral obligation to record the atrocities big and small.  Paintings by Sir John Everett Millais of  very young princes and princess caught in the middle of fierce politics or of the young girl being punished in Sympathy by Briton Riverie are indeed gems that evoke a strong reaction from the viewer.

I also became aware of the dark periods in history that I had not come  across in my readings until now: in John Baghold Burgess's  Licensing of Beggars in Spain, Edwin Longsden Long's The Supplicants: Expulsion of Gypsies from Spain  and other paintings by various artists about prison life, of Babylonian marriage market, of kidnappings of young males for the army etc.! It was interesting to read about another painting An Anxious Moment  that critics of Briton Riverie accused him of 'anthropomorphizing' the animals in his works! There were a also few stunning landscapes and marine paintings. I wish I could write about each of sixty paintings in the show because of how they opened my eyes to history, hardships, beauty and nature. My knowledge about artists and critics is surely much broader than before.

On lighter note, as I was leaving the museum just before closing, the Court area near the entrance was being transformed to host a wedding. The setting sun was streaming over the chairs stacked up high ready to be taken down and lined up for the guests. Of course, I couldn't resist whipping out my camera.  

15 comments:

padmaja said...

An informative post Meera, thanks for those wonderful links.. regarding the picture you shared, recently I saw a similar stack of red plastic chairs in the corner of a wedding hall and thought that I could make a nice painting out of it :-)

Saee said...

It is a very powerful thought. A painting speaks so much of the times of its birth. I would like to know through your posts more about what you think of "modern art". A friend forwarded a thought provoking film a few days ago that talks about modern art. :)
Thanks!

Prabha N. said...

Your photo is one of the best 'installation' i have ever seen :)

meera said...

Thank you Padmaja, yes red chairs -- you brought back some good memories :)

Prabha, Thanks so much, you made my day :)

meera said...

Saee, Thank you -- it was a thought provoking show and I have been mulling over some things ever since -- The paintings were powerful enough for me to scribble notes all over the pamphlet I had.

What is the name of the movie on modern art? I would love to see that. Right now I am quite ambivalent about it-some I really like and am impressed and others I wonder about. I think I need to study it a bit more to form an opinion of substance :)

Sandy Maudlin said...

Looking forward to you painting of the stacks! I was sure it was a lead into commentary about an installation in a contemporary art museum. Someone missed their calling.

Thaikaden said...

Very informative creation. Thanks for sharing.

thiliMy said...

wonderful post and photo, the chairs looks like a skyscraper!

meera said...

LOL! Sandy, thank you! I do hope to paint it some day - but then there are some photographs that should be left as they are - I hope this isn.t one of those.

@thaikaden, thanks! Writing the blog post helped me organize my thoughts and think more about the impact of art - glad you found it informative too.

Thilimy, thank you - that means a lot to me!

Kathy Staicer said...

Applicants for Admisson to the Casual Ward was on of my most memorable paintings at the exhibit too. I loved the variety of the art shown. It was a very impressive show.

Crystal Cook said...

What a fantastic photo!! WOW!! The light! And as always, your post has given me so much to think about! It sounds like some great art you took in.

Mahon said...

a blog very interresting and an excellent work ! I liked you read and your superbs photos, I congratulate you and I'm a follower with pleasure..:)

Bye Mahon
redcat-albumart-som.blogspot.com

meera said...

Kathy, great to know that you got to see the show and enjoyed it too.!

Thanks Crystal! yes it was a thought provoking show. Amazing how many talented artists are out there waiting to inspire :)

meera said...

Mahon, Thank you so very much for your comments --they mean a lot to me and i really appreciate it.

nikhilkardale said...

Wonderful picture... nice perspective! And as always, some great pieces of information.

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