Norse Legends – VI

Hold on to your Sleipnir Dr Spo the Viking stuff will come shortly in the meantime there’s more to the Rijksmuseum than saintly wooden statues. Here’s a few more things that caught my fancy.

Having seen perhaps the most famous painting in the Rijksmuseum on our first visit – in juxtaposition with Franz Hal’s of the same name – it was interesting to see it at a greater distance and surround by the modern paraphernalia of restoration. Very helpful guides are in place to explain both the need for and the process of restoration. I had not realized the painting had been attacked several times and required extensive restoration in 1975.

Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum architect, designed this piano as a wedding gift for his second wife Antoinette. The gift reflected their deep Catholicism. The images on the piano case show two scenes from the story of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. It alludes the sacrifice Antoinette made in giving up her musical carrer for marriage. Rather oddly it took an extensive search to find out her name – the label certainly did not mention it and neither did most online biographies of Cuypers.

Two Mothers: When I first saw the title of this terra cotta by Frans Stracké I was a little puzzled and then I got it. As Laurent mentioned the labelling on the various pieces are great examples of what museum captions should be. I was fixated on the human and canine figures until my attention was drawn to the fisherwoman’s bad luck at fishing – she has only two fish in her pouch and her net is empty.

Painter Thérèse Schwartze was known for her portraits of Dutch royalty and the prosperous bourgeoise of Amsterdam society. With a touch of irony we know the name of the dog in this painting but not the French model who posed with him. It appears Schwartze started this painting in 1879 while a student in Paris and finished it five years later????

This rather foreboding figurehead graced the frigate Prins von Orange. Built in Rotterdam in 1828 the warship was armed with sixty canons.

And we end Willy’s tour with Intrigue – James Ensor’s rather grotesque if carnivalesque painting. His signature masked figures were an open challenge to bourgeois society of the time. Needless to say they did not meet with public approval.

I only wish I had more time to spend as I only saw two floors of two wings of this remarkable collection. Ah well the next time.

September 7th has a plethora of celebrations but I think I’ll forego World Beard Day and National Salami Day (oh grow up!) in favour of a favourite sport of Canadian drivers: Tailgating Day.

Throwback Thursday

I thought I’d take one final look at that magnificent Bronzino exhibition that so fascinated me back in 2011. Though initially I was touched by the painting of the Holy Family with St John I find now the image that I recall in my mind’s eye is that powerful and simple Crucifixion that he did for the Panciatichi. Perhaps because I feel it sums up the religious strife that defined so much of the history of that time in that place.

March 14 is – yes I know Pi Day but more importantly it’s National Potato Chip Day! Let’s get our priorities straight here.

Willy Or Won't He

I thought I’d posted more of the enchanting observations on a few of the paintings that were in the Bronzino exhibition that just closed in Firenze. You may recall that Italian author Roberto Piumini wrote doggeral verses in the style popular with the painter and his friends at the Academia and Konrad Eisenbichler used them as his inspiration for English verses. They thought of them as “ways to look at Bronzino”.

I think this is perhaps one of the loveliest paintings I have ever seen of a sleeping child – you almost feel John’s kiss awakening his little cousin.

*“Dear Mary,” Joseph says, “if in a while,
Our little Jesus should awake
And want to eat, I’ll light this little pile
of sticks so you might cook a meal or bake,

But note,” then Joseph adds, “his cousin John
has come to play with him, and when they’re done

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Throwback Thursday

I was reminded of this post from my second visit to the Bronzino Exhibition back in 2011 when Nicky woke me at 0714 this morning with one sharp bark. This is the norm around here and like Bartolomeo Panciaticchi’s fine hound he is simply reminding us that he is here. Though in Nicky’s case we are being advised that the morning toilet has to be seen to and that canine hunger must be assuaged. Nora allows him to do the dirty work and then she, as senior dog around here, will then partake of his efforts.

February 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day!

Willy Or Won't He

The second visit to the Bronzino exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi was as delightful as the first. It was a chance to examine closer many of the paintings and related works and to read, more extensively, the fine explanations (in Italian and English) that put the works in context. An added feature was the burlesque verses in the style of Bronzino, again in both Italian and English. As a member of the Academia the painter was expected to excel in more than one of the arts. He was a writer of poetry – serious, burlesque, doggerel and limerick poetry all of which circulated among his friends and some of which was published. The exhibition included a display of his literary works including this page, at the right, from a book of his burlesque poems.

In the spirit of this really remarkable exhibition curators Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali – to…

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Throwback Thursday

Again as I go through books, catalogues and programmes I stop, more often than I should, to leisurely look, dwell and read. And in the dead of what has been a long winter thumbing through the catalogue from Sunlight on the Side of a House, a stunning retrospective of the work of Edward Hopper mounted in Rome back in 2010 made me feel a little less tapped by the snows and winds of winter.

February 21 is Global Information Governance Day..

Willy Or Won't He

I was first fully aware of who Edward Hopper was back in 1981 when I fell in love with Pennies From Heaven, a musical film fantasy with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters based on Dennis Potter’s successful BBC TV Series. The settings for several scenes were right out of Hopper paintings – and the one I recognized immediately was his most famous: Nighthawks. A bit of investigation – the library, yes Virginia we went to the library back in those days – revealed more about him and his work and I number him amongst the 20th century artists that I adore.

When the Hopper exhibition at the Museo di Roma was first advertised on billboards throughout town I made a note to myself that I really had to catch it. And finally I did last weekend – further note to self: try to catch these things other than…

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Summer maybe

The Massacre of the Innocents modelled after Rubens – by Kent Monkman.
Shame and Prejudice – Confederation Centre Art Gallery until September 15, 2018.

I was going to write something about the new Summer Exhibitions at the Confederation Gallery but Laurent has already done so and there is no need to repeat. Both exhibitions are fascinating and the Monkman will need repeated viewings to tease out every message that is in them. A great but disturbing show.

Larry Muffin At Home

We had a funny Winter with little snow, much icy rain, fog and very high winds, our Spring was cold and wet. Yesterday 22 June finally warm weather and warm enough for us to take our Summer clothes out and put the Winter stuff away.  Today is 24 June, Saint Jean Baptiste day in French Canada or La Fête nationale as it is called in Quebec and it is the beginning of the of the week long Canada day celebrations.

This weekend was also the opening of the Summer Show at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, two artists are featured this year, Marlene Creates and Kent Monkman.

Creates has a 40 yr retrospective of her work in 5 parts, she describes herself as an environmental artists and lives in Portugal Cove on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland on a 6 acres plot of wood land. Her work is about her…

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