The Easel

15th August 2017

Painting for Pleasure

It’s just as well that Gainsborough was a great portrait painter – his interpersonal relationships were often lamentable. One of the many he quarreled with was Joshua Reynolds, the Royal Academy president. Friction arose not just from rivalry but also different artistic styles. As one critic notes “Where Reynolds would paint you a portrait full of classical allusions and gravitas, Gainsborough would show you at ease and full of sparkle.”

Lawrence Alma Tadema At Leighton House

Alma-Tadema was the Victorian society painter par excellence. Hugely popular, his specialty was paintings of antiquity populated with Victorian characters. They have long been regarded as “sickeningly twee” but current opinion is shifting in his favour. His paintings, exemplars of “painterly technique”, expressed a view of the world as seen from Britain at the height of empire.

8th August 2017

Matisse in the Studio review: Inside Matisse’s mind

Matisse, like Picasso and others, found inspiration from his studio – his world within a world. “[My] state of soul”, he said, “is created by the objects that surround me”. However he did not simply reproduce the interior of his studio on the Cote d’Azur. “He was a great ruthless violator of normal appearances. [This show gives] a really good lesson in what makes a Matisse a Matisse.” More images are here

Bonhams to Auction Collection of Andrew Grima Jewels

Post-war jewellers in London focused on loading up their pieces with precious stones – a case of more is more. Grima instead drew inspiration for his creations from art and sculpture. He promptly became a favoured jeweler of the rich and famous and his pieces are still avidly collected. He was, according to one collector “the great impressionist of jewellers.” More images are here.