Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Victorians

Gustave Doré - A Flower Girl in Victorian London (c.1870)I was pleasantly surprised by the first of Jeremy Paxman's four-part series The Victorians on BBC One last Sunday evening, Unlike those patronizing professors who inflict their prejudices and poor taste on viewers, Paxman obviously appreciates his subject: Victorian art. He praised one of my favourite painters, John Atkinson Grimshaw, and told me something I didn't know about Gustave Doré: the artist had a photographic memory which he used to good effect when spying on the denizens of the East End. His engravings were published in London: A Pilgrimage (1872) by Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold (CLICK). The Brit. Ant-art Establishment has been giving Victorian art the raspberry for far too long. Jeremy avoided jumping on that stupid bandwagon and gave us the best art programme I've seen in years. Grab it next Sunday on BBC One, 2100 GMT (title link).


At 17/2/09, Blogger Robert said...

On this I agree with you, I thought it well done and am going to watch again next week. I think you should do a project on sculpture Ian as we discussed before!! Any ideas on how to make it so?

At 18/2/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Robert

Do you mean you disagree with me about averything else?

As I think you know, my website has 4 pages of sculptures. Or is it 5 now? So I could write something about sculpture and point the reader to my website for examples.

I haven't written anything about Mark Wallinger's big white beastie having been given the go ahead. Maybe something about the need to go for traditional figurative art when an artist wants to sell a work to a local authority?

I see The Bang is going to be pulled down. Artists who create projects like that need to be engineers as well as artists. That's another possibility, though a bit tenuous. Maybe I could link it in with Wallinger's beastie.

Any other suggestions?

By the way, if you win any more awards or sell a major piece, please let me know so I can feature your website again. Have you finished the update yet? That would be newsworthy in itself.

At 19/2/09, Blogger Robert said...

I can of course agree with everything Ian, even agreeing to disagree! Like that line “I cannot stand intolerance of any kind”.

Thanks Ian, I am spending time in the Foundry at present on some bronzes so sorry for the delay in replying.

I like horses but think a more exciting pose could have been submitted. Perhaps an English version of Sinding’s Valkyrie, (see top of my best 100 sculptures blog), perhaps Boadicea (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica ) would have been more newsworthy and memorable! Boudica is an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom of Great Britain as a whole. (She seems to have a number of spelling variations depending on which British country or area you come from!).

I think the construction of the bang was the problem, bits were falling off. Some sort of regular maintenance was necessary. That wheel in London, by Waterloo bridge seems to stand up ok so why can’t the bang?

I will update my website again soon and let you know, thank you.

At 20/2/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Robert

How could Wallinger compete with the statue of Boadicea near the Houses of Parliament? Only a master could top that, and it's so famous everyone would be comparing it.

Actually I think his white horse is a shrewd move. England is famous for its white horses (cut into chalk and not very good artistically). So it's almost as if the world is waiting for a better white horse. I agree I'd like to have seen it rearing, like the Lone Ranger on his stallion, but having four hooves firmly on the ground is going to make it a lot more stable (pun unintended).

The difference between the London Eye and The Bang is in the engineering. The wheel is elegant, but designed by engineers to be practicable. The Bang was an unrealistic artistic conceit. When it comes to big, heavy things that are liable to fall on somebody's head, give me an engineer any day. That's what they're trained for. Artists aren't.

I must say I didn't think much of The Bang artistically. It looked like a spiky palm tree. So no great loss as far as I'm concerned.

At 20/2/09, Blogger M.M.E. said...

I absolutely love Dore. As an artist who works in pen and ink linework, I wish I could have been alive in his time. I'd certainly be better appreciated.

At 20/2/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, M.M.E.

And what about Durer? His engravings of mundane objects are classic works of art.

If you follow my blog regularly, you'll see that one of my ongoing campaigns is for a better appreciation of illustrators, whether they use ink, pencil or scraperboard. (Search my blog for those media and see what comes up.)

I hate that weird snobbery which reckons some hack who messes up canvases with daubs is a great artist while professional artists producing great line drawings for, say, Judge Dredd comics, are second-class citizens.

Where would Winnie-the-Pooh or Wind In The Willows or the Famous Five or Just William or Rupert Bear be without great illustrators? Nowhere.

Do you have a website I could feature on my blog? I'll need your permission to post one of your line drawings as illustration.


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