Sunday, March 30, 2008

millais & van gogh - realism & more (monet also)

how looks can be deceiving. knowing millais primarily from reproductions, my expectations were enough to visit the current exhibition in the van gogh museum amsterdam. unfortunately, i found millais' paintings to be little or nothing more than photographs, sometimes attractive, agreeable, but often a bit cloying, too sweet to my taste. and i couldn't find anything lifting me to a level beyond what the eye can see at first glance. the use of paint i found very traditional and limited, no experiments, no texture/brushstrokes/layering expression...etc.

john everett millais, portrait of louise joplingjohn everett millais, portrait of louise jopling

of course, in the van gogh museum there is plenty to enjoy so it wasn't a wasted trip. i am always (i never use the words always or never since they are so absolute as to contain no real meaning) inspired by van gogh. i don't need to consider every painting of his to be a masterpiece, for me to be uplifted by his clear intention of looking beyond what the eye can see at first glance to what the heart feels when the eyes are looking soulfully.

vincent van gogh, self portraitvincent van gogh, self portrait

[postscript 1 dec 2008:] somehow i added `monet' as a label to this post...and i now see from statistics that people looking for monet come to this post... so let me add a little from and about claude monet.

claude monet, the seine at argenteuilclaude monet, the seine at argenteuil

monet here is a true impressionist, with a realism that is still very sharp, but already coming under attack from the brushwork and the colour enhancement. the painting already wants a bit to break free, to go beyond what the eyes see at first glance. later, monet throws off many previous shackles, but still retains a ever weakening link to depicting reality. abstract art is a fingertip away.

claude monet, waterloo bridgeclaude monet, waterloo bridge (one of many from an ever light-changing series)

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