Friday, 18 January 2013

Pictures and secrets

   I went to Dulwich Picture Gallery on Saturday. It has been holding a small exhibition of an English artist, John Sell Cotman. I saw this picture on a poster. Now I'm no expert but I do enjoy looking at pictures and it reminded me, of the early stuff the Impressionests were knocking out around the 1870's. It also has a slightly cartoon look about it. To give you some idea I've included a painting by Sisley below, from around 1870 and a Tintin cartoon from about 1959. So I was a little surprised to find out Cotman died in 1842 (1782-1842) and the picture on the right was painted around 1812. The exhibition mostly concentrated on Cotman's drawing and painting trips around Normandy, France. The same places the later Impressionests would visit. Dulwich Gallery is fairly small but an important landmark in the Art World. It's the oldest public gallery in England (1817).
     Cotman was good buddies with William Turner. The blurb on the walls next to the paintings hint at both painters having a big influence on each others work and development of their own particular styles. It also suggests that Turner came to Cotman's aid later in life when work and money started to get a little scarce. It was a wonderful couple of hours and I learned a lot. If Cotman wasn't totally happy with the view in front of him, he'd draw or paint it the way he'd like it to be.                                                                                  

The cliff and rocks in Cotman's picture are a case in point. They didn't look like this. Their angle was different but Cotman decided it made for a more interesting composition his way. I've been delving a little deeper into Cotman's life and came across a chap called Laurence Binyon (1869-1943). Binyon was a poet (a very good one) a dramatist and art scholar. Now while he was the keeper of the nations watercolours or some such arcane post, during the mid 1930's, he wrote a book  In it he stated that "Modernism" wasn't a habit of the French but Cotman was leading the way and flying the flag for the Brits some 50 years before. I must admit that it did make me smile to think that someone with an actual background in art had come to the same conclusion as me. I must try my hand at a bit of poetry and the odd play :-)

   Gareth Thomas (right) isn't a painter he's a former Welsh rugby star. Who hid from everyone (well almost everyone) that he was gay, for a whole 20 years. Firstly, what a shame someone should have to keep such a secret for such a long time. Secondly, he's not exactly a little fella, I'd like to meet the fool daft enough to call him names to his face.
   We look across the oceans to the intolerance of others, towards people's religious and sexual preferences etc etc but still it exists within our own communities ??? what a shame we're so crap at something so easy as understanding and tolerance.
   Well that's enough from me for now. I'm off for a walk in the snow (does it bring out the child in you as it does in me ???)

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfillment and happyness    


  1. Ello Spanner. Nice post :)

  2. Thanks Pixie, I'm off to the Courtauld Gallery at the weekend. So no doubt I'll be rambling on about another tortured soul next week. Has the snow reached you yet?