25 January 2018

Cezanne portraits, and a square at dusk

No photography in the Cezanne portraits exhibition (till 11 Feb) and I'm not sure I "enjoyed" it, in fact hadn't intended to go. But then a friend in Canada sent an email with a link to this article from London Review of Books, as a result of which I found myself at the gallery after the woodblock printing class. It's good to do unexpected, inexplicable things?

The exhibition includes about 50 portraits of the 160 or so that are among his 1,000 or so paintings. The article compared the subjects to apples - after all, Cezanne is famous for apples - in that they are objectively rendered, rather than imbued with imagined emotions etc. The palette knife used for the earlier portraits (in what he called the  manière couillard - ballsy painting) was replaced by brushstrokes, or rather, organised patches of paint.

I wondered not so much about the sitters but about the backgrounds. Did Cezanne carefully choose a background for the pose, did he adapt what was there, did he use something else altogether, perhaps as an afterthought?

The gift shop had some items vaguely related to the paintings, including a paper vase in two sizes. The idea is to put a cylindrical vase inside the paper, and it will actually hold water and flowers. Or, it could be a pretend vase - the concept of a vase - or a "real" paper-vase. 
 And there were these plates (Bordallo Pinheiro) - I had a small one, once, but it got broken, much to my sorrow. It came from a charity shop years ago ... ah well, "it's just things" ... move on ...
Walking across town to the evening's talk, I found myself in a square with a mini-Monument, its gold crown aglow in the damp dusk -
 At one edge, this sculpture by Elisabeth Frink -
Paternoster Square is a privately owned public space, containing the Stock Exchange and banks. A nice tidy place to walk through, but who would call it home?

1 comment:

patty a. said...

You are so lucky to have so many interesting places to visit.