Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Flaneur Writes

Well I'm idle on the town this week, on a rare break from the unsleeping turbine halls of NigeCorp. As ever, without the NigeCorp lash at my back, my brain has gone into sleep mode and I have resumed the life of the flaneur. Yesterday I met a friend for lunch at the National Gallery, so took the opportunity to look round the gallery's two current small exhibitions. One is called The Art Of Light, an interesting and well designed pairing of German stained glass from the V&A with well chosen paintings from the NG's own collections (I can recommend the surprisingly sweet and charming Master of Liesborn). But I was more taken with this exhibition of landscape sketches, some of them very beautiful, some as finished as paintings, all of them from a time when painters could really paint - the sheer ease and fluency and freshness of the best of these 'sketches' is wonderful. In several cases, one suspects these sketches were better than the artists' finished paintings.
Anyway, apart from the flaning (and sleeping), my principal occupation has been trying to get to grips with this new laptop - a much fancier affair than the old one, thanks to the unexpected generosity of the insurance company who so far have coughed up handsomely after the burglary. It's an alarmingly sensitive machine, prone to deleting chunks of stuff for no very obvious reason, so I'll post this now...


  1. ...all of them from a time when painters could really paint

    I have long groped for a new theory that explains modern art. But I pronounce myself baffled. Perhaps I am simply not thinking straight. That the artist must conquer his craft, and the craftsman master his subject, is the principal critical casualty, it seems to me, of an age whose concern has been to revolutionize skill without craftsmanship and to revitalize art without producing creative things. Just because they don’t like to be craftsmen doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be artists, though.

    No sir! Far from it.

    The result has been the nullification of art, a new expression of emptiness that has come to replace the beautiful in a period of creative sterility. Nothing an overpriced plumber couldn’t accomplish. In fact the likelihood of a Renaissance man rising from our artistic wasteland is remote in the extreme. I don’t want to be gloomy. But art has become extinct, no matter how you slice it.

    Positively burn-out!


  2. Selena,

    Hear! Hear!

    I've always worked on the principle that the more a piece has to be explained - and some 'works' now have a whole side of A4 stuck on the wall next to them - the less likely it is to be art. I mean if art can't speak for itself and has to be explained, can it really call itself art?

    Now how about a proposal of marriage?

  3. Love your comment, Recusant, about art not needing to be explained. Sehr gut.

    But, Nige, you lucky ducky. Those "sketches" are beautiful. I love the Leighton ones. That dude could really capture light as it fell over stone, grass, water.

  4. Now how about a proposal of marriage?

    I'm in need of a good proposal for a few hours, and if you are young, virile, unmarried, or blessed with an IQ of hundred and seventy it would give me great pleasure to consider your tender....


  5. Dreamy

    Well since this is online 'dating', I could do as everyone else does and lie.

    And now that I can see the red stilletos I am sorely tempted.

    Young? Impossibly
    Virile? Victor Mature
    Unmarried? Been there. Bought the t-shirt. Want another one.
    IQ? The scale only goes up to 180, so they couldn't give me an accurate count.

  6. Well since this is online 'dating'...

    ...why don't you just come and look me up, honey. I've only this moment issued a post on online dating!