Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hands - Close Up of Raeburn Painting

I neglected to write down the title and date of the paintings I photographed at The Montreal Museum of Fine Art, but I am pretty sure this is by Sir Henry Raeburn, a recent addition to my list of favorite painters.

Just look at the economy of detail for these hands - amazing how they can be represented by only a few strokes of paint.

I just love the relationship between the man and his dog too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sir Henry Raeburn - Sargent's Predecessor

Most painters like to get their noses right up next to the canvas when examining work in museums, risking the wrath of museum guards, so I tend to photograph small areas of a canvas so I can study the painting later at my leisure.

Given the fact I only had my teeny point and shoot camera along for the ride during my trip to The Montreal Museum of Fine Art and very dim lighting, I am amazed that some of the shots actually turned out, so I am going to share them with you.

Isn't this wonderful?

Friday, March 5, 2010

J. W. Waterhouse: Garden of Enchantment at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

In December 2009, I traveled to Montreal on the train with my youngest son (the other art enthusiast in our house) and visited this exhibit. My son, being a bit of a Greek and Roman myth aficionado, was able to enlighten me about some of the subject matter, so we both enjoyed the show very much, stopping to sketch a few details and noting the thickness of paint and lush color harmonies.

My initial impression of the exhibit was the brilliant, jewel-like color and thick paint in the pieces - even in the darks. The scale was smaller than I expected, with figures being significantly less than life size even in enormous paintings like Mariamne. He appears to have used a bluish/greenish underpainting, at least some of the time, which shows through the flesh in some areas. The values are massed and carefully planned to emphasize the area of interest. For instance, in Ulysses and the Sirens 1891, Ulysses white robe really pops and the values of everything else is subdued, with the faces of the sirens being the next lightest value.

Three of my favorite paintings in the exhibit were:

1. The Lady of Shalott - in the boat, absolutely breathtaking and riveting.
2. Mariamne - a masterpiece, great feeling, striking composition, brilliant value massing, color, and texture - the highlight on the medallion at her waist is a huge, very thick glob of whitish paint!
3. Circe Invidiosa - gorgeous blue green color, intense expression, value massing, very modern feel.

I also love all the other Lady of Shalott series, one of which normally resides in our very own Art Gallery of Ontario.

The June 10, 1907 Royal Academy of Arts Visitors Report, found displayed in a glass case, was rather amusing, ". . . work of the students . . . not quite so good. They seem to have no idea of setting a palette and are too much addicted to the use of small brushes." Seems not much has changed when it comes to students of painting!

All in all, the overnight trip to Montreal was well worthwhile to be able to see this amazing group of paintings.

Sadly, photography was not permitted in the special exhibit, but after we finished with Waterhouse, we visited the regular collection and found some really great work including Bouguereau, Rembrandt, Tissot and Raeburn.