collecting colours over a cup of coffee...

If you are a lover of printed words, you would know how much of your time is taken by books alone. Then one day, sooner or later, you discover a huge vacuum within that you know next to nothing about other art forms. This blog is an attempt to fulfil one such lacunae in the art of painting. We intend to look up a random painting and upload it with a link here every day whilst having our daily cuppa coffee. In this way at least we hope to be better acquainted with colours, colourers and the schools than what we are now.If you wish to be a part, you know where to shout.
Find lost art

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vercingetorix Throws Down his Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar

I had to post this, as It has been on my mind a lot. Vercingetorix Throws Down his Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar  is a great moment in history, as great and rare as any when history herself chooses to change her own course.



Unlike, say Hannibal, Caesar was no great tactical genius at battle, neither was he a great commander. Caesar was, in one word, will. Pure and unadulterated, not fancy resolve or ambition, just raw will.

Imagine being surrounded on all the sides by an enemy who outnumbered you 1 : 5 , in a land distant and unfamiliar, with your own troops  battle-weary, running out of ration and hopelessly homesick, how on earth would you even conceive of succeeding against such a volley of unbeatable odds ? Well, that's Caesar, starving his men out, starving himself, and blinded by only one thing - Victory. It was a pure display of will, that I have never known or heard of in history. As Cicero so eloquently put it to Julius Caesar: Your spirit has never been content within the narrow confines which nature has imposed upon us.

The painting is the famous Oil Painting by a less known painter of his time - Lionel-Noël Royer, The grandness aptly captures the moment  when Vercingetorix, having recognised that he has been beaten comes out of his fort in Alesia  and lays his arms before the Caesar in his encampment,  thus handing his greatest victory which in due course would end up changing the pathway of the entire western world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Last Day of Pompeii

Last day of Pompeii, Karl Briullov

Karl Briullov painted this massive*  wonderful, and need I add dazzling pre-modern version of DSLR Time Freeze portrait in 1827. It was very well received  and was later almost revered by many artists.

Briullov during his stay in Italy visited the newly excavated Pompeii and was reported to be very impressed. He soon found Russian art collector Count Anatoly Demidov willing to fund his painting, and started off with his huge project. Briullov spent around three years researching for the painting - studying artefacts and excavations, even reading letters of Pliny±, an important witness of the Vesuvius eruption. Reportedly, the scale and ambition of the painting attracted lot of visitors, even when it was a work in progress. 

The last day depicts the last day of the residents of Pompeii when the volcanic Mt Vesuvius erupted destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculeanium in 79 AD. Briullov paints the scene of fleeing residents when the heavens above have opened as black rains from the hovering dark clouds with the accompanying thunder and lightning in the background destroying the Roman statues. The residents are frozen in various motions of activities as it was found in Pompeii. The painting is meant to depict the romantic insignificance of human life before the supremacy of nature, yet emphasising its ( human life's) cherished values like love, belongingness that makes it dear to us all.

The Last Day sealed Bruillov as one of the important painters of his era and won him acclaim and appreciation from not only many contemporaries but also many a reputed artists from successive generations. It was one of the favourite paintings of Stendhal. Danish sculptor Bertel Torvaldsen claimed that none of the painters living in Rome were able to even arrange such a work. Inspired by the work, Edward Lytton wrote the novel The Last Days of Pompeii. Pushkin reportedly wrote a poem after the painting. It is said that Sir Walter Scott stood before the painting for a whole hour and later even knelt before the painting. He is believed to have said “rather than a picture, it's a whole epopee”. 

*25 square metre one of the biggest paintings of the time, now in State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

± Pliny is reportedly depicted int he painting as the young man persuading his mother to come with him on the bottom right corner ( 5 O' Clock) of the painting. It is also said Bruillov also painted himself in the painting - the man gazing upwards towards a falling? sculpture or a statue at the left upper corner ( 9' O Clock).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife

Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, John Singer Sargent

In case you are wondering, Stevenson was 5ft 9in tall

Friday, January 21, 2011

Untitled (Car)

(painting source: Saatchi Gallery)

Untitled (Car), 2004, Tom McGrath

The winter issue of The Paris Review features some glorious paintings of Tom McGrath: Portfolio

McGrath's paintings try to capture images from the viewpoint of a car seat. I loved the one in TPR where the wiper is just about to move and wipe away the rain water (see Portolfio link above.)

More paintings at the Sue Scott Gallery

Definitely an artist to keep a tab on.

Curators |Finny| [ A ] | Sunil | [ S ] | Lavanya | [ L ]
Following the Rainbow | Louvre | | Tate |