• Nov. 23, 2023, 9:44 a.m.
  • Members 35 posts
    Dec. 3, 2023, 7:08 a.m.

    Hi Alan. Thank you for posting the link. Understanding art is more than just looking & liking. My daughter has a Masters in Art History &
    when we visit art galleries together I'm always surprised at the amount of detail she sees in a painting. I'm left with the impression she
    knew exactly the creative mood the artist was in when painting.

    Can the same be said about photogaphs? Be interesting to hear if photograhpers are more lucky than creative?

    Martin

  • Foundation 1334 posts
    Dec. 3, 2023, 8:50 a.m.

    I was disappointed to find this article of no help at all. The analysis of the Henry Bacon picture is superficial and quite lacking in insight.

    David

  • Members 1250 posts
    Dec. 3, 2023, 11:14 a.m.

    This introduction to a vast and complicated subject, has some good food for thought. The section concerning the Bacon painting, is interesting, insomuch as a first cursory viewing of an artwork, maybe will not enable us to understand the work. Looking more carefully lets us draw other conclusions, that are maybe different to the artists intentions. A look at the links helps to flesh out this article.

    The National Gallery in London sell a little set of inexpensive paperbacks (A closer look) which try to explain some of the aspects that help us understand a work of art.

    The best book I have read about what a picture is trying to tell us is (unfortunately only in Italian) La Voce delle imagine (The voice of the image) by Chiara Frugoni. It deals with medieval art and deciphers what the gestures of those pictured are trying to tell us, and their strange (to us) pictorial conventions. I have found it useful for my Romanesque photographic project, as many of the carvings and frescoes come to life, now that I have glimpsed their message.

    The above mentioned book starts with the contestation, that the captions under paintings in an art gallery, or in a glossy art book, tell us all about the school of painting, but never really tell us what the artist is trying to say and how he he is talking to us.

    My Italian wife is amazing when we visit somewhere like the National Gallery or the Tate. They must do this subject well at school, as her guided tours pin down authors, schools and purpose, without reading the labels.

  • Members 1250 posts
    Dec. 3, 2023, 11:16 a.m.

    A good photographer creates his luck.

  • Members 1250 posts
    Dec. 3, 2023, 11:22 a.m.

    It is pretty difficult to deal with this vast subject in a short article. I think he played a little journalistic game. His fist interpretation is deliberately wide of the mark. He is telling us if we stop a little longer in front of a work, we will start to see a deeper meaning, if we spend some time and analyse the subject(s).

  • Foundation 1334 posts
    Dec. 4, 2023, 10:39 a.m.

    Indeed, the title of the Bacon picture is rather generic and I wonder who was responsible for it. Unfortunately, I havent been able to find a better photo of the picture, but it seems to me that, from the colour of the page edges, the sailor is carrying prayer books and I suspect that the walkers have been in church. Further speculation causes me to infer that they are walking away from the village to a graveyard, and that the young man may have been given shore leave to attend his father’s funeral. The two ladies are following at a respectful distance.

    Be all that as it may, it would be quite a challenge to take a photo of this scene, with all the details clearly in focus! The painter has the advatage of us as mere photographers, and can place everything where he wants it for maximum effect!

    David

  • Members 508 posts
    Dec. 5, 2023, 4:15 a.m.
  • Members 1250 posts
    Dec. 5, 2023, 6:54 a.m.

    A piece of art is far more enjoyable if you know something about the artists visual language and what he is trying to say. Sure, a lot of the "artspeak", we encounter is less than helpful, but it is possible to find good explanations.

    Delving photographically into the world of Medieval Architecture, I wanted to find out a little more about what those strange column capitals and frescoes, were trying to communicate. This art was born to communicate mostly religious and moral concepts to a largely illiterate populace. Hand gestures are a well defined code in this art. The various beasts and fantastic beings like the twin tailed mermaid represent a concept, like lust or holiness. A guy breaking a stick across his knee, for example has a precise message. Who are those people wearing pointed hats? Medieval art has a visual language that is lost to the modern viewer unless you bother to find out a little about it. If you know what it is saying, the work of art starts come alive for the viewer. This holds for all periods of art history.

    DSZ_1584_DxO 1.jpg

    A picture book for Medieval pilgrims on the Via Francigena, near Parma, Italy

    DSZ_1584_DxO 1.jpg

    JPG, 1.5 MB, uploaded by NCV on Dec. 5, 2023.

  • Members 245 posts
    Dec. 5, 2023, 6:29 p.m.

    NCV said:” The best book I have read about what a picture is trying to tell us is (unfortunately only in Italian) La Voce delle imagine (The voice of the image) by Chiara Frugoni. It deals with medieval art and deciphers what the gestures of those pictured are trying to tell us, and their strange (to us) pictorial conventions. I have found it useful for my Romanesque photographic project, as many of the carvings and frescoes come to life, now that I have glimpsed their message.”.

    As far as I recollect, some of this information is also in E.H. Gombrich’s classic “The Story of Art” - which is so engagingly written that it is informative without being pompous or patronising.

    Another Alan

  • Foundation 1334 posts
    Dec. 5, 2023, 7:21 p.m.

    Present day choreographers of Baroque dance and opera base the gestures and movements on paintings from the period.

    David