Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Ravilious and The Cerne Abbas Giant

Monday, July 13th, 2015

I’ve now been twice to see the Eric Ravilious exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I love his work, particularly the watercolours of the chalk downland and chalk hill figures. But I find his depiction of the Cerne Abbas Giant extremely puzzling. The giant is painted brown, rather than gleaming chalk white.

Revilious, Cerne Abbas Giant

It was painted in 1939 and some people have said that the figure was camouflaged to prevent German pilots using it as a landmark. But I thought that the hill figures weren’t covered over until early in 1940. In fact the exhibition catalogue states: “The following year [i.e. 1940 – the year after the painting was made] saw a mass turfing-over of chalk figures, to prevent enemy airmen using them as landmarks.” Despite searching for ages I can’t find any specific reference online that says exactly when the the Giant was camouflaged.

I’ve retouched a version of the painting to see what it would have looked like with the figure in white. Much as I like Ravilious’s painting, I think I would have preferred to see it this way.

Revilious, Cerne Abbas Giant in white

Click on the images to see them larger and to fade from one to the other.

Also interesting is how much Ravilious has changed the vertical scale of the hillside in order to give a clearer view of the Giant. Compare with this photograph which I took in 2012 from much the same position.

Cerne Abbas Giant

Seduced by Art

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This morning I went to see ‘Seduced by Art’, the first exhibition at the National Gallery to feature photography. What a disappointment! The majority of photography in the exhibition was of the Turner Prize variety – full of nothing but post-justification of a trivial concept. The comparisons between the photographs and paintings were trite and largely meaningless and showed a complete lack of knowledge of photography on the part of the curators. I find it hard to believe that the comments in the labels had any thought behind them whatsoever. My favourite referred to the photograph of the naked Man with Octopus Tattoo by Richard Learoyd (which has been used on the poster for the exhibition) which describes how the tentacle rising up the man’s back follows and reinforces the curve of his spine. It just doesn’t!

Seduced by Art

For a review that states it better than I ever could (and before you choose to part with the  £12 entrance fee), you should read what Brian Sewell thought of the exhibition.

Tate Modern

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Went to the Tate Modern with friends today. I have to say that I really hate what they’ve done to Gilbert Scott’s old Bankside Power Station building. They’ve totally ruined the proportions by sticking what looks like a line of port-a-cabins on the roof. And the way the galleries are curated is just bizarre. But as we were on our way out there was a mass invasion of the turbine hall by people dressed as pirates from Captain Pugwash who proceeded to lie on the floor making the shape of the Black Pig.

Thames Panorama

We also looked at the Robert Morris: Bodyspacemotionthings interactive installation which was great fun – much less po-faced than all that art-with-a-capital-A.

While we were having coffee I took some photos from the balcony which I stitched into a panorama – not bad considering the photos were taken on my camera phone.

Thames Panorama