23 December 2021

Vincent Van gogh meets an unknown British painter (?)

I wish I could remember just where I picked this up because I was immediately impressed upon first seeing it. It's funny how one can spot a good painting in a flash because it always comes together despite any clunky flaws and wonky technique. In this image above, I like the subtle drawing which hides its discrete sophistication but also because it is intelligently organised in a pictorial way. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Naif, yes, and this reminds me so much of our continuing admiration for Vincent Van Gogh, particularly, as his painting showed up on my telephone yesterday. And wouldn't he be flabbergasted by something as spooky as that???

For me there is a kind of primitive 'plasticity' in both these images reminding me of the landscape elements in Giotto. And here, they have been subordinated to a graphic unity of the whole image. In both pictures each of the elements are barely recognisable as objects in themselves. What I mean to say is that they both possess an almost flagrant disregard for the anatomy of the parts of the paintings. The small trees, the bushes, windows, stairs, the wall of stones, the horse, the human figures (the woman with the large bosoms on the left!) etc, etc. They seem to break every rule in 19th century painting. If by chance, they were books for instance, it might be as if the writers had misspelt and badly punctuated entire stories which were otherwise quite brilliant. 

But the genius of this is that everything works together like a well oiled engine. We are immediately taken into the whole feeling of each of these two paintings. Everything in them is in service to the picture as a whole. There is no proud display of virtuosity or technical arrogance displayed in their details. In both the light is evenly disbursed, avoiding  the dreaded local lighting which, unless one is Vermeer, is virtually impossible to achieve.
As I like to say about Art: 2 + 2 always = 5,
and now there is nothing more to add, just enjoy Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. British painter reminiscent of Stanley Spencer.
    The well oiled engine, a 2CV.