Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí 1951, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
At the start of May this year (2017) I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgowm, there are many great works of art there, including a full collection of works by the Glasgow boys group of artists, I will share some of their paintings very soon.
One of the most famous works of art in the Gallery is “Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí painted in 1951”, the painting has its own viewing room with subdued lighting and a set of seats, so you can spend sometime viewing this amazing work of art by Dali. It was while in this room that I captured the above image of the painting.
There is something deep and spiritually moving about this painting even if your not a believer in its subject matter.
Here are some details :
Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns, because, according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle evident in the painting was revealed to him.
The painting is known as the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the “three” but in the four, merry they be.
On the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained its inspiration: “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!”
In order to create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle  and also envisage the pull of gravity on the human body. The depicted body of water is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí’s residence at the time of the painting.
The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s by Tom Honeyman, then the Director of Glasgow Museums. Honeyman bought the painting for £8,200, a price considered high at the time although it was less than the £12,000 catalogue price, and included the copyright, which has earned Glasgow Museums back the original cost many times over.
The purchase was controversial and a petition against it, arguing that the money should be spent on exhibition space for local artists, was presented to the City Council by students at Glasgow School of Art. The controversy caused Honeyman and Dalí to become friends, corresponding with each other for many years after the original acquisition.
The painting first went on display at the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on 23 June 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands. It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display. In 1993, the painting was moved to the city’s St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but returned to Kelvingrove for its reopening in July 2006. It won a poll to decide Scotland’s favourite painting in 2006, with 29% of the vote.
It is said that the Spanish government offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting.
This painting has continued to generate controversy. At the time of its purchase by Honeyman, the verdict by Modern Art critics was that producing such a traditional painting was a stunt by an artist already famous for his surrealist art. In 2009 The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as “kitsch and lurid,” but noted that the painting was “for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century.”
In May 2013, in BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives, British poet John Cooper Clarke described this image as being utterly different from any other image of the crucifixion, as the angle of view conveys the hanging pain of this method of execution, whilst hiding the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen in such depictions.
At the end of last week I posted an introduction about the artist LS Lowry, he is one of my favorite artists and from my home town of Manchester in the UK. I have started a full study of his work and intend to post a few times relating to his artistic development as well as the different styles he worked in and area he selected for his art works.
It think its important to match Lowry with his night school teach Pierre Adolphe Valette, who was a French Impressionist painter. His most acclaimed paintings are urban landscapes of Manchester, now in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery. Today, he is chiefly remembered as L. S. Lowry’s tutor. I post here some of his painting as they cover a lot of the inner Manchester city areas that Lowry also later work in.
L S Lowry is known mostly for paintings,however the artist valued his drawings just as much.
Lowry was concerned with the qualities of line and tone. He continued to draw compulsively until the last years of his life, producing a huge range of works. His work does not just consist of his industrial scenes, but also includes highly finished drawings of the life model, careful portrait studies, rapid sketches made on location and harming sketches of children and dogs.
Lowry did not merely see drawing as a means to an end in producing his paintings, but as a significant and worthwhile medium in its own right. He would often makPierre Adolphe Valettee sketches, in situ or from memory, and later produce a much more detailed, fine piece of art from this sketch. In his early work, Lowry drew in a very strict and linear style, with little or no shading. Over time, however, he came to prefer a technique of rubbing out and over-drawing. Lowry would rub heavily worked areas of tone with his finger to achieve a dense velvety smoothness.
This technique of layering often gave his work a sense of ghostliness especially where traces of an earlier drawing can be seen underneath. Lowry did use mediums other than pencil for his drawings and his collection of work includes pastel, chalk, pen and ink, felt-tip and biro drawings.
Lowrys Night school teach was Pierre Adolphe Valette, when Lowry became a pupil of Valette he expressed great admiration for his tutor, who taught him new techniques and showed him the potential of the urban landscape as a subject. He called him “a real teacher … a dedicated teacher” and added: “I cannot over-estimate the effect on me of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of French impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris
Valette’s paintings are Impressionist, a style that suited the damp fogginess of Manchester. Manchester Art Gallery has a room devoted to him, where the viewer may compare some of his paintings with some of Lowry’s, and judge to what extent Lowry’s own style was influenced by him and by French Impressionism generally.
The Lowry hosted an exhibition of about 100 works by Valette, alongside works by Lowry, between October 2011 and January 2012. It included paintings of Manchester from Manchester Art Gallery and loans from private owners.
I feel that you can see just how well these two artists click in the night school classes, as the influence that Valette had over Lowry clearly stayed with him all his artistic life ….
The Painting of Pierre Adolphe Valette
More painting by Pierre Adolphe Valette here
Selection of drawing by LS Lowery
At the start of January while I was back in my home town of Manchester in The UK, I spent sometime with family members in visiting the Lowry Gallery in Salford, Manchester, UK.
Lowry is a much loved English artist, particularly in the North west of the UK, being born in Stretford, Manchester.
Here are some basic details about him,
Laurence Stephen Lowry was born 1 November 1887 in Barrett Street, Stretford. His father, Robert, worked as a clerk in an estate agent’s office. His mother, Elizabeth, was a talented pianist. By 1898 the family were living in Victoria Park, a leafy suburb in south Manchester, but in 1909 financial difficulties necessitated a move to Pendlebury, an industrial area between Manchester and Bolton. Lowry’s mother hated it, and so did Lowry, but, ‘After a year I got used to it. Within a few years I began to be interested and at length I became obsessed by it.’
After leaving school Lowry took a job as a clerk with a Manchester firm of chartered accountants, Thomas Aldred and Son. In 1910, after being made redundant from a second job, he became rent collector and clerk for the Pall Mall Property Company and stayed there until his retirement in 1952.
As a child he had enjoyed drawing, and he used part of his income to pay for private painting lessons with the artists William Fitz and Reginald Barber. In 1905 he began attending evening classes at Manchester Municipal College of Art. His tutor in the life drawing class there was the Frenchman Adolphe Valette, who brought first-hand knowledge of the Impressionists, such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro to his classes. ‘I cannot over-estimate the effect on me at that time of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette… He had a freshness and a breadth of experience that exhilarated his students.’
By 1915 Lowry had begun attending evening classes at Salford School of Art, based in the Royal Technical College on the edges of Peel Park. One of his tutors there, Bernard Taylor (art critic for the Manchester Guardian) advised Lowry that his paintings were too dark. In response, Lowry tried painting on a pure white background, a technique he was to retain for the rest of his career.
Peel Park, and the views across it from the Technical College windows, appear regularly in Lowry’s work. He had begun to see the possibilities of painting what he saw on his doorstep, rather than more conventional landscapes based on the countryside nearby. The best known story Lowry told of how he became interested in the industrial scene described how, after missing a train at Pendlebury station, he saw the Acme Spinning Company’s mill turning out, ‘I watched this scene – which I’d looked at many times without seeing – with rapture.’
A closer study of Lowry
Over the next few days and weeks I want to take a much closer look at the paintings and drawings that Laurence produced, looking at the subjects that he worked with and the technique’s he used to record his world.
As an artist he has been labeled and stereotyped as a naïve “Sunday painter”, based on the way he painted his landscapes and drew people along with animals.
During this visit to the Lowry Gallery however and with the help of the guided tour, it became very clear just what a complete artist Lowry was. Having a chance to see a collection of his work from his very early days at night school, until the final works of art he produce has helped to show me just how diverse and skilled an artist he was.
The areas of his work I want to study can be seen in his work I have selected below, including (Life drawing, pencil sketches, oil paints, landscape and city scape work), I will enjoy very much looking at his art work and I hope to learn a great deal from him, for my own efforts at drawing and painting.
Art works by LS Lowry
Friday Art reviews
Back in the Summer I did a weeks worth of posts that related to some of the artists I like the most. I really enjoyed doing the research behind these posts and so I want to start looking at some more artists and their work , In the long term I am planning to put each Friday aside for these posts, this December however I may post a lot more than one day per week, as I want to dig a lot deeper into the subject of landscape and cityscape art and artists ……
Artist Edward Bawden
British Artist Edward Bawden, one of a group of artists associated with a community of artists that existed around Great Bardfield in Essex, England during the middle years of the 20th century.
Great Bardfield :
is a village in north west Essex, England. The principal artists who lived there between 1930 and 1970 were John Aldridge RA, Edward Bawden CBE RA, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Walter Hoyle (principally a printmaker, who ran the printing workshops at Cambridge Art School when I was there, and taught me to do linocuts in the style of Bawden and himself), Eric Ravilious, Sheila Robinson, Michael Rothenstein, Kenneth Rowntree and Marianne Straub. Other artists associated with the group include Duffy Ayers, John Bolam (who taught me painting at Cambridge Art School, and later became the Principal of the school), Bernard Cheese, Tirzah Garwood, Joan Glass, David Low and Laurence Scarfe. Great Bardfield Artists were diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art, making the group distinct from the better known St Ives art community in Cornwall, who, after the war, were chiefly dominated by abstractionists.
Edward Bawden (1903 – 1989)
can be seen as a key artist in the Bardfield group. His long career spanned most of the twentieth century, and comfortably straddled boundaries and borders between the fine and applied arts, boundaries which are seen as so immovable today. Even before his appointment as an Official War Artist in 1940, Bawden had established a reputation as a designer, illustrator and painter. As well as these areas his output over the years include murals, posters, designs for wallpaper, ceramics, lithographic prints and watercolours.
Edward Bawden was born in Braintree, Essex in 1903, and was perhaps more firmly rooted in Essex than any other artist represented in the North West Essex Collection. Bawden attended the Friends’ School in Saffron Walden. At the age of eleven he strained his heart and was excused participation in sports. This may have allowed him to devote more time to drawing, and his portraits and caricatures attracted the attention of his tutors who arranged for him to spend a day a week at the Cambridge School of Art. The school, now part of Anglia Ruskin University, had been founded to comply with the Ruskinian philosophies of improving design for industry, and encouraging amateur aspirations. Bawden fitted perfectly.
Before long, he had gained entry to the Royal College of Art. Here he was taught by Paul Nash (a lasting influence on Bawden and his contemporaries), and the popular E. W. Tristram. It was at the RCA that Bawden first met his ‘kindred spirit’, Eric Ravilious, the two quickly becoming firm friends, though entirely different in temperament. Shortly after leaving the college, the pair gained a prestigious commission to paint a mural for the refreshment room of Morley College in London. He first rented half of Brick House, the imposing Georgian house in Great Bardfield in the mid-1920s with Ravilious, and after his father purchased the whole house for him on his marriage to Charlotte Epton in 1932, he continued to live there until moving to Saffron Walden in 1970 after Charlotte’s death.
On a Personal note …..
I really like Edwards London market prints, his use of limited colour and strong geometric shapes, to me this is print making at its very best. They are almost poster like yet retain strong connections to art not commercial based prints.
I like very much the sense of movement and activity that he captures from the people he includes in these prints, you can almost hear the noise and imagine the chatter that is taking place, the sound of wheels on the flag stones. The cold in the winter and the heat of the city in the summer.
These prints are full of life and capture London markets in 1967 in an almost timeless way 🙂 🙂
In 1967 Bawden made a series of six prints of London markets, commissioned by Curwen Prints. The markets were Billingsgate, Borough, Covent Garden (2), Leadenhall and Smithfield:
Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
I am taking time this week to do a study of some landscape artists/photographers who’s work I very much like very much.
I feel the need to take a look at the work of the artists I know of again, who use the landscape of Ireland both North and South along with the British Isles, in there drawings and painting and Photographs.
I first came across the art work of Joseph McWilliams when I visited an exhibition called “Landscapes north and south”, the the exhibition was held at the Glebe House Gallery, County Donegal.
A little about : Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
Joe McWilliams was born in Belfast in 1938. He studied at the Belfast College of Art and at the Open University. Later he lectured in Art Education at the Ulster Polytechnic in Belfast and was Senior Lecturer and Senior Course Tutor at the University of Ulster. Since 1986 he and his wife, artist Catherine McWilliams have managed the Cave Hill Gallery, Belfast. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has been represented in major Irish group shows both in Ireland and abroad; Recently his work was seen in an exhibition entitled ‘Dreams and Traditions: 300 Years of British and Irish Painting’ from the Ulster Museum Collection which toured the USA in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. His work is held in numerous collections including: NI Arts Council, Queen’s University, Coras Iompair Éireann, the Department of the Environment (NI), AIB, the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland.
McWilliams is a regular lecturer and broadcaster on the Visual Arts in Northern Ireland and has been invited to speak on the Arts a number of times in Boston, USA. He has also published articles and reviews on the subject. He has written many scripts for BBC radio and has presented, his own script “The Way that I Went” which was seen on BBC world services as well as locally and in Britain. His own work has been exhibited at a variety of venues in Ireland, Britain, Europe and the USA. He is perhaps best known for his paintings of ‘The Troubles’ evidenced in exhibitions such as ‘Art for Society’ Whitechapel Gallery, London; ‘Documenta 6’ Kassel, W.Germany; ‘A Troubled Journey 1966-1989’ and ‘Colour on the March’ both at the Cavehill Gallery, Belfast.
I liked Joseph’s paintings very much for both their painting style and the fact that he used the world around himself for subjects to paint, even using his own back Garden for much of his work.
Here I link to his web page http://www.josephmcwilliams.com/, for some of the painting I like the most.
About Peoples Art
At least once a year I try to visit the Peoples art exhibition and sale at St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin , this is a great day for an art lover as its one of the biggest open air art displays in Europe.
The images posted here are all taken on a very warm summers afternoon and I got lots of great images of the artists and their work along with getting to see some great painting and drawings from Landscapes to portraits.
People’s Art Dublin is a voluntary, part time, non profit making group, brought together by Dublin City Council to promote the visual arts to the public of Dublin. Each year after expenses are paid, donations are made to various charities.
The co-operation and assistance of Dublin City Council and The Office of Public Works ( OPW ) , which makes these events possible, is gratefully acknowledged by all the artists involved.
Any artist can apply to exhibit but there are some rules that apply, it costs each artist just €25.