As always Leslie Primo was there with notes for today's paintings but unbeknown to him part of the gallery was not available until 11:00 (half an hour after the start of the session).
So Leslie just adjusted and spoke with us about some other interesting works - namely Anne of Denmark (by John de Critz the Elder) - which I liked and King James I of England and VI of Scotland by Daniel Mytens (which I'm less inclined to admire).
These two were again non-native painters from the 'low' countries who worked in England.
|King James I of England|
|Anne of Denmark|
The reason for the great detail in the portrait of Anne was explained to us as follows :-
Tapestry was more highly valued than painting at the time of the commission and the artist captured detail of the carpet, chair and her clothes to the point where it could almost pass for material rather than paint -to me I thought there was a connection with the work of Klimt, perhaps because of the full length and somewhat flat-sh style used?
|Job ben Solomon - a slave who was freed|
The next picture we looked at connected with last weeks pictures and theme of slavery -it was a William Hoare painting of a a Muslim cleric Job Ben Solomon who was captured and enslaved in America (It's the Koran around his neck) he was subsequently given his freedom by a result of funds raised by the 'Public' in England.
The painting by Hoare an English artist had clearly set himself a challenge in capturing the dignity and also the skin tones of the sitter - for me he met the challenge well.
After the interruption to Leslie's plans we returned to look art the works he had scheduled, mainly works around the Victorian era - here I fond the works less engaging being more (to me) rooted in 'reportage' and propaganda .
The biggest culprits being an imagined (or made up) portrayal of Queen Victoria bestowing a bible in 'The Secret of England's Greatness' (1863) by Thomas Jones Barker, almost as saccharine is the tableau style work showing an almost spectral saint like Florence Nightingale in the work by Jerry Barrett called The Mission of Mercy: Florence Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari.
|The Mission of Mercy: Florence Nightingale receiving the Wounded at Scutari|
What we were seeing in some of these works was almost a collage of Newspaper images colourised and some work better than others, another of Jerry Barrett's is the painting of Victoria visiting the war wounded has had little care in the scale and direction of view of many of the extras behind the Queen and her family.
|Queen Victoria's First Visit to her Wounded Soldiers (1856) - for me the extras don't work|
The highlight for me this week though was undoubtedly Dame Laura Knight's self portrait - I'd seen this before (pre the course) and thought it was great but having spent some time looking at it with the group I realise now some of what is going on (and like it even more for the extra 'layers').
Leslie explained the 'Artist is Present' (and of course mention was made of Marina) phrase and also mentioned Yoko Ono's 'cut piece' (it's not only formal art he knows about!).
But here the artist is present at many levels and this was a ground breaking work when it appeared at the time of the suffragettes struggle for 'The Vote'.
But is's witty and skilful too
|The Artist truly is present - Dame Laura Knight's taboo busting self portrait of 1913|