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More Views From Aretxbaleta Bidea, Above Bilbao

From the ridge at Aretxbaleta Bidea looking in the opposite direction to Bilbao you can see right over to the city’s airport – off to the left of this photo of a distant bridge:-

Distant Bridge Near Bilbao

In the park area at the top of the ridge is this sculpture. For obvious reasons it’s called “The Fingerprint” whether officially or informally I don’t know:-

Fingerprint  Sculpture, Aretxbaleta Bidea

Looking towards south Bilbao:-

Towards South Bilbao

Looking towards north Bilbao:-

Towards North Bilbao

Even further north:-

apanorama 7

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Exterior Exhibits

There are external and internal exhibits at the Guggenheim.

The steel spheres are Tall Tree and The Eye by Anish Kapoor. They are surrounded here by FOG, an installation by Fujiko Nakaya. The mist switches on every so often:-

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, FOG and Reflections

The giant spider (Maman) protecting her clutch of eggs is by Louise Bourgeois:-

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao FOG + Spider Sculpture

Salbeko Zubia Bridge, Bilbao, FOG and Spider:-

Salbeko Zubia Bridge, Bilbao, FOG and Spider

Tulips by Jeff Koons:-

Jeff Koons Tulips, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Tulips, Salbeko Zubia Bridge in background:-

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao + Bridge

Puppy by Jeff Koons. A giant West Highland Terrier covered in flowers. The flowers bloom at different times of the year so the exhibit is always changing. From Museum:-

Jeff Koons Puppy,  Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Puppy, museum in background:-

Jeff Koons Puppy, Front

Puppy and museum:-

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao  and Koons Puppy

Rosslyn Chapel

In April we went to Rosewell, Midlothian, to preview the lots at an art auction. (Left a bid, didn’t get the painting. Ah well.)

Being so near by we took a peek at Rosslyn Chapel on the way back through Roslin. A fine Gothic confection, the chapel certainly stands in contrast to most Scottish places of worship, which tend to the square and boxy.

It has achieved a kind of notoriety by being associated with the Knights Templar – a connection which is seemingly nonsense – and its mention by Dan Brown in the Da Vinci Code, a book whose premise alone is enough to put me off reading it.

More properly known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, Rosslyn chapel was founded in the 15th century:-

Rosslyn Chapel From Surrounding Path.

Detail:-

Rosslyn Chapel close-in

Side view:-

Rosslyn Chapel Side View

Roof:-

Rosslyn Chapel Roof

Stitch of two photos:-

Rosslyn Chapel Full

This was the auction house building in Rosewell. Slight Art Deco feel, mainly in the paintwork:-

Rosewell Auction House

Painting with Light

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching Andrew Graham-Dixon’s BBC 4 TV series The Art of Scandinavia. It’s over now but you can still catch it on the iPlayer.

I hadn’t heard of a lot of the artists but there were some great landscapes in the Norway episode.

The painting which struck me most however was by a Danish artist, Vilhelm Hammershøi. It’s called Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunbeams. I found an illustration on the net on this page and I reproduce it below.

Dust Motes: Vilhelm Hammershøi

A stunning depiction of light, I hope you’ll agree.

In its use of the qualities of light I was immediately reminded of John Henry Lorimer’s Spring Moonlight, which I blogged about here.

As well as Spring Moonlight, which I forgot to mention in the previous post about it is a huge canvas, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery also has on display at the moment two further Lorimer pieces of more normal dimensions, Sundown in Spring, Kellie Castle:-

Sundown in Spring, Kellie Castle: Lorimer

and View of Kellie Castle:-

View of Kellie Castle

both of which exemplify Lorimer’s distinctive style. The pictures are taken from Art UK which is the successor site to BBC’s Your Paintings.

Kellie Castle was the home of the Lorimer family and is worth a visit if you’re ever over in the East of Fife.

Space Artist

The Guardian yesterday featured this painting of the first space walk:-

Space Walk

What makes it unusual is the artist. None other than Alexei Leonov, the subject of the painting.

That CCCP on his helmet makes it seem even more of its time.

Leonov also drew the first work of art actually to be created in space, a view of the sunrise as seen from his Voskhod 2 spacecraft. Here it is with the pencils used to draw it:-

First drawing in space

He almost never made it back into the capsule. His suit had expanded and he had to bleed off air to get it to fit. He could have succumbed to “the bends” but thankfully didn’t.

Ensign Ewart and the Scots Greys at Waterloo

200 years ago today the last battle of the Napoleonic Wars was fought at Waterloo. Famously remembered as a “close-run thing” (though the quote is apparently “It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life,”) it was a bloody nightmare. A total of around 48,000 men were killed inside 10 hours.

Last month I visited Edinburgh Castle. Among the memorials on its esplanade is this one, erected in 1938, to Ensign Charles Ewart, of the Royal North British Dragoons (more commonly known as the Scots Greys,) who captured the Imperial Eagle of the French 45th infantry regiment during the battle.

Ensign Ewart Memorial Edinburgh Castle Forecourt

The Eagle itself is normally on display in the relevant Regimental Museum in the castle grounds but it wasn’t on the day I visited. I think it’s on loan to the National Museum of Scotland at the moment. I did find, though, this Memorial to the men of the Scots Greys who died in the Great War.

Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Edinburgh Castle

Also, inside the Castle’s Great Hall, there is a painting, executed by Richard Ansdell some thirty years or so after the event, of the moment of the Eagle’s capture. Titled “The Fight for the Standard” the picture is huge – 13 ft by 11 ft. It is somewhat triumphal in tone and perhaps ridiculously sentimental given the likely conditions of the actual battle.

The Fight for the Standard by Richard Ansdell

Picture from Eric Gaba at Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps a more famous painting of the Battle of Waterloo is “Scotland Forever!” by Elizabeth Thomson, Lady Butler.

Scotland Forever!

The original is in Leeds Art Gallery but a reproduction is in the Regimental Museum.

Wandering Light

I posted about my favourite painting in Kirkcaldy Art Gallery, Spring Moonlight by John Henry Lorimer, a while back. One of the things that makes it so effective is the way that light seems to shine out of the two table lamps depicted.

Well, I was in Edinburgh last week and to kill some time visited the Scottish National Gallery and in their Scottish section (for some reason tucked away in a basement at the back) and saw another painting that captures light wonderfully well, Wandering Shadows by Peter Graham.

Once again the reproduction here (from BBC Your Paintings) doesn’t do the painting justice but in the gallery the patches of light on the hill on the left were incredibly realistic.

Wandering Shadows by Peter Graham:-

Wandering Shadows

Merchandise at Kirkcaldy Library

For about a year or so – perhaps more – the shop at Kirkcaldy Library has had for sale items designed by locally based artist Susan McGill. The last time I was there I took this photo:-

Unlikely Stories Mostly cover
The Book of Prefaces Cover

To me the designs above are very reminiscent of those of Alasdair Gray. (See left and right.)
The McGill merchandise includes greetings cards, dish towels and trays. The writing on the tray says, “The Human Race may be a’richt, but this intae yer lug. The mair I see o’ some folks the mair I like ma dug,” or, in plain English, “The Human Race may be all right, but this into your ear. The more I see of some people the more I like my dog.” One of her greetings cards displays a side-on picture of a black and white dog with the second of her two sentences as the caption. A close-up on the tray is below.

The Mair I Like Ma Dug

The People’s Pick and John Henry Lorimer

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery has a very good collection of paintings, many of them donated by Michael Portillo’s grandfather on his mother’s side, John W Blyth (his father was a Republican refugee from the Spanish Civil War.)

The Gallery’s pictures include quite a few by the Scottish Colourists particularly S J Peploe but also J D Fergusson, the wonderfully named Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell and Leslie Hunter. These counterpart earlier paintings by William MacTaggart and later ones including some by the mysteriously popular Jack Vettriano (sub-Hopper cartoonish efforts though they may be.)

My favourite however has always been Spring Moonlight by John Henry Lorimer, painted in 1896.

Spring Moonlight John Henry Lorimer

The above is not a very good reproduction; it doesn’t reflect the quality of his depiction of light. Lorimer’s faces aren’t the best but he captures the swirl of the woman’s gown very well and in the flesh so to speak you could swear that the canvas contains two yellow sources of illumination emanating from the table lamps. It is a startling effect and the artist’s style is distinctive – even if it doesn’t come through so strongly in his portraits. On visiting Kellie Castle last summer I immediately recognised the painting below as being by the same hand.

Sunlight in the South Room John Henry Lorimer

Both pictures from BBC Your Paintings

The Museum and Art Gallery reopened in June after refurbishment. Its first exhibition was The People’s Pick – paintings from the collection as voted for by readers of the local newspaper The Fife Free Press.

When I was going round I was dreading the revelation of the most popular painting fearing it might be a Vettriano.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered No. 1. was….

Spring Moonlight by John Henry Lorimer!

My taste in art is obviously less highbrow than I might have hoped.

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