Old selfie, old portrait

beautiful self portrait (Minnette Vari) cannot go un-noticed

beautiful self-portrait (Minnette Vari) cannot go un-noticed

I was lucky yesterday. I managed to get away from my desk for an hour and went on a guided walk-about of a new art exhibition! Again I was blown away by the beautiful art works and the knowledge of the curator in this gallery. How do people remember all these dates, names and history facts? I kept telling myself that I better start reading some of the art books I have collected over the years…there is so much to learn, so much I don’t know.

Maquette for statue of Jan Smuts

Maquette for statue of Jan Smuts

This exhibition entitled from “From Sitting to Selfie” is absolutely the most ingenious exhibition I have seen, it’s divided into four periods for this display. Now you can’t divide years of art into four or any other number and you can’t put so many years of art in one exhibition even if the title is portraits there is just tooo much. But this was very cleverly put together into four sections/periods in art history.

Go back to 1600s before cameras – Baroque and Romanticism. They sat for hours or days for a portrait. Only royalty or the very rich had portraits done. Masters left us with Realistic and Truthful and Accurate paintings perfectly capturing the resemblance on the portrait.

 

something to admire...these were painted in 1617

something to admire…these were painted in 1617

And then cameras were invented, late 1800s or early 1900s and paintings changed a bit. From the realistic portrait to beautiful modernism and impressionism and cubism – art works that for me offer a bit more thought…these are the pieces that you need to admire from a distance. My favorites are these, all the art eras of the ism’s.  Food for thought and little more character and personality. The portraits had their own disposition, some were odd and eccentric. Makes me think that artists in this time were all rebellious and a bit nutty. But I love that about them….

 

Portrait of Annie Mavata, you have to see this real life, she is almost ready to talk to you. Love this painting, it is incredibly beautiful

Portrait of Annie Mavata, you have to see this in real life, she is almost ready to talk to you. Love this painting, it is incredibly beautiful.  I you look away and then back at her quickly it looks like she has moved her hand, just amazing

Jan Smuts - reminder of history class when I was in school and paid little attention, only now I'm interested in history. This is one of my favorite paintings there...

Jan Smuts – reminder of history class when I was in school and paid little attention, only now I’m interested in history. This is one of my favorite paintings there…

And then postmodernism was born…in the 20th century, interesting but not my favourite time in art. This is like the one chapter in the school book that I would skip and just look at the pretty pictures.  Maybe one day I will change my mind about this and understand it a little better. Still I found some really beautiful pieces, that had me staring for a while.

Reshada Crouse painting (1994) so much to talk about in this painting, so many stories to tell...

Reshada Crouse painting (1994) so much to talk about in this painting, so many stories to tell…

Enter the selfie and digital era, the era where we snap and happily share and print every moment of our lives. Internet changed the world for ever and changed the way we do things. A lot of our private moments have become quite public. It is fast and quick and it has moved from a gallery and photo frame to cyber space. Everything is different, it’s lifelike or totally unrealistic. Experimentation, revelation and exposure.

smoke portraits (2005) painting with smoke, unbelievable

smoke portraits (2005) painting with smoke, unbelievable

I’m not sure this is the best era, and I’m not sure I like this one either.  I want to go back to the 1900s and admire Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cassatt, Morisot, Degas, Van Gogh and Gauguin….

 

"Queen of Hearts" oil and gold leaf (1860) photo does not do it justice

“Queen of Hearts” oil and gold leaf (1860) my photo does not do it justice

…that is where I draw my inspiration from 😉

 

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