Visual & Decorative Arts Blog

Edvard Munch's Oscillations of the Self: Masterpieces of Art

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

Last Wednesday saw the return of the popular ‘Museum Selfie’ day, a Twitter project initiated last year by the group of Museum professionals behind the website CultureThemes. The hashtag ran rife, with people posing in front of famous paintings, re-sharing the altered Vermeer image, and making museum exhibits look desperate to take a picture of themselves. The craze of the selfie in recent years – ‘selfie’ was named Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year – highlights what could be described as an addiction to self-portraiture, and the enthusiasm for the ‘museum selfie’ in particular indicates a fundamental need or desire to acknowledge that self: for the photographer to become a part of the photo and exist within its created art. With the upcoming release of Flame Tree’s ‘Edvard Munch: Masterpieces of Art’, we thought we’d have a look at how Munch’s tormented and emotionally vibrant paintings depict the self, and how his emotions and experiences flavour as well as constitute the subject matter of his work

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Topics: Edvard Munch, Masterpieces of Art

Van Gogh's 125 Legacy | Masterpieces of Art

Posted by Matt Knight

2015 marks the 125th anniversary of the death of beloved, world-famous artist Vincent van Gogh. Through in his life he was little known, he has become hailed as one of the greatest Dutch painters, after Rembrandt. Similarly to today’s celebrities, it is impossible to separate van Gogh’s troubled life from his works of art. He suffered from severe mental illnesses and relied on the creation of his art as a means of keeping his illness at bay.

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Topics: Vincent van Gogh, Masterpieces of Art

Wiseman's National Gallery Documentary | Masterpieces of Art

Posted by Catherine Taylor

The general feeling from all of the critics that have reviewed Frederick Wiseman's documentary on the National Gallery is that it captures the gallery magnificently. Time Out called it 'Wiseman's densest and best' work and gave it five stars. It is said to be a fascinating look at not only behind the scenes, but a detailed look at the people who visit – tourists, school groups, professionals and students. Geoffrey MacNab, reviewing the documentary in The Independent writes, 'Some of the time, Wiseman gives viewers the sense that they are inside the gallery alongside other visitors. At other points, his camera scrutinises the faces of museum-goers with the same fascination that the artists whose work hangs in the gallery treated their subjects.' The documentary gets into all the nooks and crannies and no small detail is left out.

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Topics: National Gallery, Masterpieces of Art

Kandinsky’s Later Years: Visions and Contrasts | Art of Fine Gifts

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

As explored in our previous Kandinsky blogpost, this is an artist who had a strong awareness of colour from an early age. This is brought out with great intensity in his later, more abstract paintings: the works that we now recognise most clearly as ‘Kandinsky’s’. Paintings like ‘Yellow, Red, Blue’ (1925) demonstrate the play of colour that Kandinsky used as a way of echoing, and influencing, emotions.     

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Topics: Wassily Kandinsky, Masterpieces of Art, abstract art

Kandinsky, Known For More Than Just Doodles | Art of Fine Gifts

Posted by Matt Knight

The star of today's (16/12/14) 'Google Doodle', Wassily Kandinsky was an abstract painter born in 1866. Considered by many to be the 'Father of the Abstract', Kandinsky's art focussed on the portrayal of colours and shape – he compared the compositions of his paintings to the creations of the cosmos, beauty borne from catastrophe. In today's blog we look at the master's early years and how it was that he selected abstract as his form of choice. 

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Topics: Wassily Kandinsky, Masterpieces of Art

Paul Klee and Degenerate Art's Battle with the Nazis

Posted by Matt Knight
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Topics: Paul Klee, Masterpieces of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Looking Towards the Future

Posted by Catherine Taylor

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an artist in the 19th century. More than this, he was a multi-talented artist-craftsman: painter, architect, furniture designer; the list goes on and on. His art was incredibly influential, and a lot of the motifs, patterns and principles of his work are still popular with today's audience and artists. 

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Topics: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, art deco, Masterpieces of Art

Mr. Turner in the Cinema and on the iPad

Posted by Matt Knight

Reviews for the new film Mr. Turner are out, and the general consensus is that this film is just as great as Turner's original paintings. Timothy Spall's performance even won him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, and a lot of people are saying that his portrayal of J.M.W. Turner could even win him an Oscar. Robbie Collins, of The Telegraph, says, 'His repertoire of grunts alone comfortably extends past a hundred, and you wonder if perhaps Spall went Method for the role, living for years in a sty until he got the voice, posture and smell just right. But beyond the troughfuls of fun tics, Spall makes Turner tenderly and totally human, which has the effect of making his artistic talents seem even more God-given.'

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Topics: J. M. W. Turner, Masterpieces of Art

The Art of the Brick and How To Keep Classic Art Relevant

Posted by Matt Knight

In Shoreditch right now, you can visit The Art of the Brick. This unique exhibition hosts a variety of artwork consisting of over 1 million Lego bricks and 80 pieces of art. The exhibition has received mixed reviews far, with some reviewers lauding Nathan Sawaya's art as an excellent blend of classic art and contemporary playthings (great for children interested in art), with others outlining the pointlessness of the whole project (rubbish for art connoisseurs). A re-occurrent question certainly seems to be, 'Well, why?'.

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Topics: Masterpieces of Art

Hokusai's Paris Exhibition (Or, How I Learned to Love Japanese Art)

Posted by Matt Knight
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Topics: Japanese woodblock prints, art nouveau, Masterpieces of Art

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