Monday, February 19, 2007

Tate Britain

I went to London this past weekend to visit some my friends from University of Rochester who are studying there (and one who flew in from France to visit for the week). The Saturday I arrived, we ate breakfast at the Victoria train station (despite the fact that I arrived by coach—my friend Flannery got a bit confused) and spent the afternoon exploring the Tate Britain. Ordinarily, I am not a fan of museums, nor do I consider myself much of an art aficionado. I like art well enough, but I usually only enjoy looking at it on display at art festivals, where A) there is the prospect (or fantasy) of my buying it and B) the artist is alive and usually sitting right there amidst all of his/her artwork. Alternatively, staring at paintings deemed “great” by some abstract entity, just because they were created by dead historical guys, in big white-walled rooms usually is not my idea of a good time. This time, though—whether it was due to my “maturing” nature or just the nature of the Tate Britain itself—I actually appreciated the experience of walking an art museum.

This is not to say that everything impressed me. I will never understand those paintings that look as though the artist just smeared some colors together and never got around to painting his subject, nor will I appreciate how a circle on a big white canvas is “modern art.” Nevertheless, I did see several paintings which did impress me. Particularly, I enjoyed looking at those whose subject was inspired by some piece of literature or Greek mythology. Actually, I preferred any painting that was accompanied by a story-like description. I guess I’m just a sucker for a good story after all. Send me to a library—forget the paintings.

Here are some paintings and artists that especially impressed me:

  • Harvest Home, Sunset: The Last Load—John Linnell
  • Cain and Abel and Communication of Hate—Keith Vaughan
  • Study of a Dead Child, the Artist’s Son—William Lindsay Windsus
  • Mariana and Ophelia—John Everett Millias
  • The Eve Trilogy—George Fredric Watts
  • Thursday—Walter Dendy Sadler
  • A Hopeless Dream—Frank Bramley

    I considered buying postcards of some of these images, but looking at them in the giftshop, I just was not affected by the image in the same way as when I viewed the original painting. I don’t know what that says about artwork and facsimile, but I do know that I didn’t buy the cards.


    Kelly said...

    Speaking of postcards... I received yours today and it is simply the most amazing piece of mail that I have ever received. :)

    Zilli said...

    Thanks for writing this.