Sunday, 25 May 2014

Finding inspiration

Hello lovelies,

The other week I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of the Italian Masterpieces Exhibition at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria).
So I hobnobbed with local celebs and politicians (not that I spoke to any of them I must say), and was able to enjoy some amazing art.

I had no idea that the Spanish Royal Family were such avid collectors of Italian art from the mid sixteenth century.  In fact, I had no idea that Spain’s dominions at this time included the Italian regions of Naples, Sicily and Milan, almost a third of the Italian peninsula!  No wonder there is so much Italian Art in the former collection of the Spanish Royal Family.

It was really interesting for me as I have had little exposure to the artists in this exhibition. The exhibition is really well curated by both time and geographic slices.

To have this collection in Australia is a real coup.

I was most interested in a couple of themes.  The first was the Buen Retiro Palace.  This "country villa" was an amazing undertaking of approximately forty buildings set amidst lavish gardens. A lovely little country retreat!!
The palace interiors required a decoration scheme that included the commissioning of more than 800 paintings by artists working mostly in Spain and Italy. This constituted the single most ambitious programme of artistic patronage ever seen in Europe.  There are a dozen of these paintings in the exhibition and they are amazing. My favourite from that theme was Elephants in a Circus c1640 by Andrea di Lione. While the elephants are possibly a little disproportionate, the colours were amazing, and in real life the painting was full of movement.

The other exhibition theme I really loved was the still life theme.  I'm not normally a still life person - too many bad memories from high school art classes I suppose.  These still life paintings were also from the Buen Retiro, and were a "new genre" of art in the mid to late 1600's when the villa was being decorated.  They were the modern art of their time.  Talk about amazing. In particular is the piece of work that is being used in the shop for the bags (the first picture above).  It is from a pair of the most amazing still life floral arrangements I have ever seen, called Flowerpiece by Andrea Belvedere c1694-1700.  Here's a close up of some of the detail in one of these paintings
 I am feeling quite inspired by these two paintings and artists.  I am thinking about channelling them into some art work over the weekend. 

I'll keep you posted on my progress!  'till next time


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