I begin by looking at Salvadore Dali. There is a lot of information on this website: http://www.dalipaintings.com/ . (image from here)
‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus is Dali’s interpretation of the Greek myth of Narcissus. Narcissus was a youth of great beauty who loved only himself and broke the hearts of many lovers. The gods punished him by letting him see his own reflection in a pool. He fell in love with it, but discovered he could not embrace it and died of frustration. Relenting, the gods immortalised him as the narcissus (daffodil) flower. For this picture Dali used a meticulous technique which he described as ‘hand-painted colour photography’ to depict with hallucinatory effect the transformation of Narcissus, kneeling in the pool, into the hand holding the egg and flower. Narcissus as he was before his transformation is seen posing in the background. The play with ‘double images’ sprang from Dali’s fascination with hallucination and delusion.’
I have seen Dali’s work in many galleries over the years but never found myself drawn to his work for some reason. This is so brilliant though, having just spent some time really looking at it, how the hand echoes so the well the kneeling figure. I also like the idea that there is a poem to read whilst contemplating this painting, and also that by staring for some time at the kneeling figure it also becomes the hand holding the egg from which springs the flower. I am fascinated as I also like staring at objects until they change into something else. I have found you can do this to yourself in a mirror also.
I found the poem here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamorphosis_of_Narcissus
Max Ernst: ”Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition. ”
– Max Ernst.
I shall endeavor to achieve this!
I found lots about Ernst’s history and work here: http://www.max-ernst.com/
‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’, 1945. This was painted for a film made of the book by Flaubert, which was also panted by Dali, but they chose Ernst’s version to use in the film. The is the Dali one: source: https://www.dalipaintings.com/temptation-of-saint-anthony.jsp
They are both pretty amazing. I think I would have chosen Ernst’s as well. It has more menace to it with all of those strange, nightmarish creatures twisted within it, I find it more disturbing. The colours also add to this. The Dali’s in contrast is more light and open looking, with dramatic perspective.
Giorgio de Chirico: There is a lot of information in this NY times review: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/09/arts/09iht-conway.4533707.html?pagewanted=all
also here: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-de-chirico-giorgio-artworks.htm
image source: https://www.wikiart.org/en/giorgio-de-chirico/gare-montparnasse-the-melancholy-of-departure-1914
Looking at de Chrico’s work, he uses long shadows and an almost simplistic style. The bananas also seem to occur a lot. The perspective here is very disturbing, it does not look correct; the two small figures seem to be going up a hill but it does not recede in the correct way although the building next to it does. The clock and the train in the distance all add to the theme of departure. (I also like his ‘Red tower’ and may use it to inspire my next piece of work.)
Graham Sutherland: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sutherland-black-landscape-t03085
‘This Welsh scene reflects the artist’s anxiety at the threat of war; it was painted during the ‘phoney war’ between 1939 and 1940. Both the title and the ominous twilight effect suggest imminent violence.’ It is also interesting to read that Sutherland was influenced by the pastoral visions of William Blake, as I can almost see a dragon hatching out of an egg. I note the limited pallette which adds to the uneasiness of this work.
Paul Nash: I have looked at the work of Nash previously.
‘Landscape from a dream’ source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4MsMkFbpw5tGKnwPMJxhpYX/from-trees-to-trenches-why-paul-nash-was-the-most-important-landscape-painter-since-constable
‘When the war came, suddenly the sky was upon us all like a huge hawk hovering, threatening,” he wrote, poetically. “Everyone was searching the sky, waiting for some terror to fall.’
Here in this dream landscape, the hawk is watching himself and the world is being reflected back to him, with a dangerous red sky with portent of things to come. To the left it is perhaps a window through which we see the sea and the beauty of the coastline.
German Expressionist :Emil Nolde:
I love the simplicity of this and the colours together, and the yellow of the twilight reflecting back at the bottom in the water. This balances the composition well. There is a real feeling of depth and perspective, with the receding river onto the horizon line, and the distance blue of the hills. ‘Nolde’s fondness for Germany and his homeland are well known. The painter however was always in a particular situation, his northern region of Schleswig-Holstein having been given to Denmark at the Treaty of Versailles. Thus, born German, Nolde acquired Danish nationality while remaining in his “homeland” and defending its identity against the Danish authorities, despite his wife having been born Danish. This region and its inhabitants continually inspired him : portraits of peasants and glorious landscapes, such as the Twilight recall this rooting in the land.’
Symbolist movement: Gustave Moreau:
I have chosen this painting, which I am now thinking I not from his symbolist period…however, it is a wonderful sunset(?) and I love his use of colour in this and the texture of the sky which reflects and works with the earth as well. I imagine the paint has been put on quite thickly giving an impasto effect, something I would like to try although I am not sure how well it works with acrylics.
Leon Bakst: information on the artist here: http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/art/leon-bakst/
‘Leon Bakst was attracted to oriental style; and motifs from ancient Greece and Egypt became signatures in his paintings and theoretical work. The Benua circle also introduced him to symbolism and Art Nouveau. Bakst influenced and developed Art Nouveau style by bringing in a curvy line, as well as bright colours, oriental prints, and flowing drapes.’
He designed costumes and backdrops for the Russian ballet, like this one below, source: http://michaelhampton.blogspot.com.es/2013/08/leon-bakst-and-ballet-russes.html.
It is exquisitely beautiful; I note how the tall trees frame the sides and the blue of the recumbent person in the foreground is also shown in a tree behind, which balances it out. It definitely has an oriental feel to it in the style with which it is painted.
I had not thought of Gustav Klimt as a landscape painter….I found a lot of information here: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/gustav-klimt-painting-design-and-modern-life-vienna-1900/gustav-8
I love this dense forest with only small glimpses of the sky showing through, and the knotty, spotty trees with their dry stick branches above. He has used this speckled technique for the forest floor also. I have some forests of pine trees nearby and this has given me an idea of painting a landscape that is perhaps more enclosed and mysterious…
Frida Khalo. I am a big admirer of Khalo’s work and I feel she is already an influence on me. I have a beautiful book, published by Bullfinch (Frida Khalo) and I found this landscape, full of symbolism, within. ‘My Dress Hangs There’, 1933, pokes fun perhaps at America, with the toilet and the golf trophy. The cross on the church seems to be a dollar sign and there seems to be a graph on the hall steps and has Mae West set the theatre on fire? And Frida is in the centre, her Mexican dress proudly displayed. Wonderful.