Archive for william hogarth

A Caricaturists hunting ground, – the artist known by whats his name? and paints payback

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by echostains

The Regent's Birthday Cruickshank

If you have been reading this blog (and I can only wonder at your forbearance and tenacity if you have and thank you for it) you will know that I include all sorts of artistic expression.  I see art everywhere.  One aspect that I have yet to mention on Echostains up until now is the art of the caricaturist. 

Loo in the kitchen Cruickshank

George Cruikshank’s art was the equivalent to a newspaper headline you would see today – usually scandalous!  People  complain about the intrusion of the paparazzi, but fame has always been a double-edged sword and the newspaper machine – a many-headed hydra.  George Cruickshank (b. London 1792 – 1878) was an illustrator and caricaturist with considerable talent and was one of the leading caricaturists of the 1790s.  His work employs a descriptive narrative similar to William Hogarth including prints, plates and illustrations. He also  illustrated some of the plates for some Charles Dickens books.

Fagin in his cell Cruickshank

His early work focused on caracturising English life for social publications, but he gained a lot of interest from caracturising the Royal family and the leading politicians of the time.  He even received a Royal bribe in 1720 not to lampoon the King George IV in any ‘immoral situation’ he may be in  (he must have made a tidy sum as  there were many.)

James Gillray an earlier caricaturist was one  of Cruikshank’s influences and  joined forces with him and Thomas Rowlandson (another Satirical artist) to develop a personification of England – John Bull in 1790

Cruikshank’s material came from social events, especially wars abroad and political parties, though he appears to be impartial to Tory Whigs and Radicals and satirised them all.  He illustrated ‘Sketches by Boz’ 1836, ‘The Mudfrog Papers’ 1837 – 1838 and ‘Oliver Twist’ 1838 all by Charles Dickens.

Snuffing out Boney by Cruickshank

He created controversy in 1871 with a letter to The Times where he claimed credit for a lot of the plot in Oliver Twist.  This spoiled his friendship with Dickens.  In the 1840s Cruikshank work became moore focused on book illustration.  He became obsessed with Temperance and was a staunch anti smoker illustrating work for the National Temperance Society.

Crinoline Parody Cruickshank

Cruikshank was a complicated man with a scandalous personal life   (upon his death, it was revealed that he had 11 illegitimate children with a mistress)  Yet he  still managed to produce nearly 10,000 prints, plates and illustrations, get buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.  His work can be seen in the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum.

George Cruikshank illustrations and information from here

Gary lawrence Homage to Anonymous

The Jerwood Visual Arts and Drawing projects UK has awarded First Prize in the Drawing Exhibition to Essex artist Gary Lawrence.  His large-scale drawing ‘Homage to Anonymous’ – a tribute to all anonymous artists, is drawn on the back of discarded posters using a ballpoint pen.  The work is dedicated to all artists who made work but went unrecognised and will be shown at JVA at Jerwood Space, London from 14 September – 30 October 2011. This what the artist says about this work-
 ‘Homage to Anonymous began in 2010 as a simple view of Pothea (the main town on the Greek island of Kalymnos) where I went on holiday. While working on it, I began thinking of other artist’s views of towns, especially El Greco’s View and Plan of Toledo (1608-14). While checking my El Greco book, I saw View of Candia (Litta di Candia) (1582) and View of Toledo (1582), both drawings which I initially thought to be by El Greco. (Candia, I found out, is Herak Lion, Capital of Crete, El Greco’s island of birth). All these historical references, plus my own holiday snapshots of Kalymnos, were combined over many months to finish the drawing in June 2011.’

I quite like the way that this work has grown from conception to its evolution.  Sometimes in art, the original idea with which you set out with is lost or changes to such an extent that you can’t remember what beginning actually was.  All you need is the spark, I think.  Without the spark or the germ of the idea you can’t really make a beginning.  Another observation I have made is the problem solving aspect of art.  You have the concept, then you try to execute your idea.  You realise that this isn’t working – it’s not quite what you wanted to say, so it’s back to the drawing board (so to speak).  Sometimes, just sometimes, the real journey, the finding of a way is actually more interesting than the finished piece in my own personal experience.  More about this exhibition here 

Jakub by Jan Mikulka

Here’s Czech artist 31 years old Jan Mikula whose oil painting of his lifelong friend  is so life-like it looks like a photograph.  The artist is said to have wanted to capture his lifelong friend JakubWagner ‘sensitive nature  at a short distance’. 

There’s no doubt about the artists skill here, and the finished painting is aesthetically pleasing to me – so therefore it’s a success so I shouldn’t be looking for more from this painting – yet I am and I can’t pinpoint what it could be.  I  prefer this portrait of a woman for her air of mystery and truth.  For me, it’s what you don’t see – what is hinted at which creates the interest.  Please take a look at the artist’s website here which is full of fantastic paintings and prepare to be enraptured!

Portrait of a woman by Jan Mikulka

With the advent of the first camera (first permanent photograph 1822)  artists were outraged and believed that photography would destroy art and the portrait artist’s livelihood.  But as you can see from this artist and other photo realists like Chuck Close this has been reversed – art is now imitating photography and blurring the boundaries.  Read more about this painting and the artist  here who won the Visitors Choice at the British Portrait Exhibition 16th June – 4 September 2011 with Jakub.  To see who won the  BP Portrait awards click here  

More PhotoRealists/Photorealists can be found at this blog

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Happy 10th Birthday Tate Modern!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions, LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by echostains

Tate Modern from the riverside

The month of May is nearly over and I cannot let it pass without wishing Tate Modern a Happy 10th Birthday.  I have been to the Tate Modern many times and seen quite a few exhibitions.  The Tate Modern galleries are built  in the space of Bankside Power station which closed in 1981 and the building was converted by Herzog and de Meuron: the contractors were Carillion.  It is a National Museum of International art.

Louise Bourgeois 'Maman'

In 2001 I remember seeing Maman the  gigantic spider of then 89-year-old French-born sculptress Louise Bourgeois.   The turbine hall is a colossal space  (five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace).  the spider 30 ft high and made of blackened stainless steel  carried 26 white marble eggs underneath her belly.  She towered over people who gazed up in awe.  Another exhibition I saw at the Tate was Katherina Fritsch (b. 1956 Germany) whose sculptures reflect fairytales and myths. I wrote a post about this exhibition here.  2001 was the year I saw the Turner Prize at Tate Britain – won by Martin Creed with his famous light  which turned on and off…… 

In 2002 Anish Kapoor’s  (b. India 1954) Marsyas was the star of the Turbine Hall.  150 meters long and 10 storeys high, this sculptural form was inspired by Titian’s 1576 painting ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’.  The Greek myth tells the tale of  Marsyas, a satyr who was flayed alive by the God Apollo because he played the flute better than the God.  This sculpture ran round the Turbine Hall. 

marsyas

 I wondered what would happen if someone blew through this gigantic trumpet!

Marsyas by Anish Kapoor

I was also fortunate to see the Matisse Picasso exhibition that year which I greatly enjoyed.  The way the work was juxtaposed showed the playful rivalry between the pair, each one spurred on by the other to come up with new work, new visions.  I believe Picasso needed this and at the time Matisse was the one who could give him a run for his money.  I still have a souvenir cup of that exhibition and woe betide anyone who breaks it:)

flowing hair matisse and acrobat by picasso

In 2003 I saw an exhibition by sculptor Eva Hesse  (b 1936 – 1970 Germany) exhibition at the Tate Modern.  This artist worked with string, resin and latex in her sculptures. 

Eva Hesse

 I later incorporated  into my paintings.  Apart from this fact and the feeling that the work looked stranded in its environment, I can’t remember too much about it.

Among other exhibitions the Hogarth (2007) one really stands out.  I really like Paula Rego’s transcription of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode where the artist carries on the story of the ill-fated marriage in contemporary times.  I also chose Rego’s Snow White and her Stepmother to transcribe (see Transcription in my categories).  William Hogarth’s narrative painting fascinates me and I was very well versed in the story of the series Marriage a la Mode.  but I was amazed at just how small these paintings actually are! The details are quite astounding considering the scale of these paintings.

marriage a la mode the marriage settlement

Francis Bacon 2008 was an exhibition very much looked forward to by me.  He is a  favorite artist of mine.  We saw work there we had never seen before: works from private collections leased especially for the retrospective.  As usual the raw power of the paint rippled through the room giving the paintings a brooding presence.

Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X 1953 Bacon

 Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko had an exhibition in 2009.  We didn’t go.  A lot of people really vibrate to Rothko, but I find him very heavy and depressing.   I would have liked to have gone to Chris Offili’s exhibition this year, but we just didn’t have time.  In between Tate modern there are always other exhibitions on at Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the Barbican. 

Other important exhibitions I have been to in London include:-

Encounters 2000 National Gallery,

Frank Auerbach retrospective, The Royal Academy 2001,

 Lucien Freud retrospective,Tate Britain 2002, 

Desire unbound surrealism, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Andy Warhol retrospective, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Transition, 2002 Barbican Gallery,

  images from here here and here

Don’t forget my Blogspotlight interview here with artistatexit0

Happy Birthday Dear William Hogarth!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , on November 10, 2009 by echostains

 

William Hogarth

William Hogarth self portrait

It’s one of my favorite artist’s birthday today.  Artist, printmaker, satirist and Social commentator William Hogarth (b.1697 –  1764 London) was a very prolific artist and highly fashionable in his time.  His series of paintings (also made into prints) called ‘Marriage A La Mode’ read like one of our modern-day soap opera’s and are amongst my favorite paintings. 

Marriage a la Mode painting one

They tell the story of Earl Squander arranging his son’s marriage to the daughter of a wealthy city merchant, but who is also incredibly mean with money.  There are so many little clues that help the narration of Hogarth’s paintings.  The first painting in the ‘Marriage a la Mode’ series shows the personality of the Earl’s son who is more preoccupied with admiring his own reflection in the mirror than paying attention to his marriage which is being arranged for him.    Meanwhile,  daughter listens to the lawyer Silvertongue, whilst through the window an unfinished house can be seen.  Crutches enable the old gouty Earl to get about: a Medusa’s head nods towards  the horror which will unfold as this arranged marriage proceeds, eventually leading to the suicide of the merchant’s daughter and the murder of her husband,the young Viscount.  The paintings and prints preach a moral lesson about marrying for money.  Old money, or rather no money, only a title and bloodline courts new money but no title.  After all, these estates had to be maintained somehow.

paula rego's modern day transcription of marriage a la mode

In 2000  we went to an exhibition called ‘Encounters – New Art from Old’ at the National Gallery, where 24 modern artists transcribed a painting of their choice and gave it a modern twist.  Paula Rego transcribed Hogarth’s ‘Marriage a la Mode’ showing another side to the narrative.  Some artists concentrated on the artist’s method of working, some translated through sculpture or photography.  There were many interesting conclusions and it was exciting to see the art of the past still being able to communicate all these years later.

Hogarth's Gin Lane

Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’, a very famous work points out theonly too real peril of the then new alcoholic drink Gin.  This was being brewed in homes and all sorts of unsavoury places.   Hogarth was instrumental in the Gin Act of 1750 which did away with small Gin shops which seemed to have mushroomed everywhere.  ‘Beer Street’ shows the opposite side of the coin.  This depicts happy City people drinking sensible beer…and still having a good time.

Hogarth's Beer Street

 

There has been much written about the fascinating life and work of William Hogarth and there are some very good websites;

Biography and works HERE

Works HERE