Following on from What Caught My Eye At The National Portrait Gallery, here are a couple of paintings at Tate Britain that I want to talk about.
This is Our English Coasts, otherwise entitled Strayed Sheep by the Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt.
Some paintings are garish and I don’t give that a second thought because it fits with the work – van Gogh for example. But Holman Hunt’s painting is realistic and detailed. And that is at odds with the colours. I know that the Impressionists really took to heart the notion of seeing the colours that make up things in a scene and using them.
But there is something different about Hunt’s painting. It is almost as though it has been embellished and turned into a design.
This is Cookmaid With Still Life Of Vegetables by Nathaniel Bacon, painted in about 1625. I remembered an article by Art Moscow about the use of cucumbers in art, so I went hunting around the painting looking for cucumbers.
Finally, there is Brighton Pierrots by Walter Richard Sickert, painted in 1915. I like the way we the viewers are given an insider’s view of the reality behind the show.
I may be wrong, but given that Sickert painted it in 1915 during World War I, he might well have thought that the world needed to be looked at through a long lens.
Getting To Tate Britain
Tate Britain is in Pimlico, which is a couple of stops down from Victoria.
Coming out of the tube station, you are met with white painted stone buildings in classical style, iron railings, and all very elegant and yet modest in size. In fact the buildings in the whole area are modest in size.
There is just one main road to negotiate and then into streets of small Georgian period houses.
The street leading up to Tate Britain is lined on both sides with London Plane trees (or Baobab trees as Tamara jokingly likes to call them).
The area lives on in the memory, and I can walk the journey in my mind and absorb the relaxed atmosphere (barring the busy main road). I think it is the very fact that it is in central London that causes this effect.