Art Appreciation 101

9 Feb

 George Costanza: “I don’t get art.”
Jerry Seinfeld: “There’s nothing to get.”

George: “No, it always has to be explained to me, and then I have to have someone explain the explanation.”
– from the Seinfeld episode “The Letter”

When it comes to art, I am more like George really, trying in vain to get what the artist was trying to send across, and then still not getting it. When we went to the Wallace Collection, and then the National Gallery I didnt really bother much with the nuances of it all, I just know when to appreciate a work of beauty, in all it shades, colors and lack thereof. The Wallace Collection is located in Manchester Square just off Oxford Circus, and is one of the finest private collections of art in the world. The range of fine and decorative arts from the 16th – 19th centuries was largely accumulated between 1802 – 75 by three generations of the Hertford family, and Sir Richard Wallace. The Wallace Collection is best known for its 18th century French paintings, furniture and paintings. The closed collection is one of the finest assemblies of French art outside Paris. Amongst its many other treasures are works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Romney. Highlights include Ruben’s ‘Rainbow Landscape’, Titian’s ‘Perseus and Andromeda’, Nicholas Poussin’s ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ and Frans Hals’s ‘The Laughing Cavalier’. The first time I visited was during the Anthony Powell exhibit, and I attended the Readings for “A Dance to the Music of Time”, Mr Powell’s 12 part novel, a review of that reading, and the tv adaptation of the novel can be find somewhere else in this blog. Over at the Trafalgar Square is the residence of the more grand and imposing National Gallery, and is home to one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. The permanent collection spans the period from about 1250 to 1900. Among its many treasures are works by Van Gogh (his very popular Sunflowers, gracing this blog entry), Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Titian, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Vermeer, Caravaggio, Velasquez, to name just a few. There wasn’t enough time to view all collections in one afternoon so we whisked through our preferred artists in under 2 hours and hope to revisit the gallery again and not without getting some mementoes of our visit, that of Renoir’s “Umbrellas” captured in a fridge magnet.

“Bit by bit putting it together,

piece by piece only way to make a work of art.”

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2 Responses to “Art Appreciation 101”

  1. Pedro February 27, 2006 at 2:03 pm #

    When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden’s green and gold,

    Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the
    mould;

    And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his
    mighty heart,

    Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, “It’s pretty, but is it Art?”

    Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

  2. Monette February 27, 2006 at 4:01 pm #

    See! Now look what youve just done there Pedro, I have to get somebody to explain what you just said!

    LOLOLOLOL

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