Sunday, January 4, 2009
Roger van der Weyden's "Portrait of a Lady" (c.1455) has always been one of my favorite portraits.
I realize that not everyone appreciates painting of this sort. Though, I have to admit, I find it difficult to understand. Just the sheer workmanship is awe inspiring. But that's me.
I wish I could hop over to London right now, for there's an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art entitled Renaissance Faces.
In 1994, I purchased the book, "Giotto to Durer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery", a book that is now pretty dog-eared. It is one of the few art history books that has in-depth analysis of technique. The National Gallery in London was restoring a significant portion of their collection, which is reflected in this book. They used high-tech methods to unravel the mysteries of what mediums and methods these artists used.
In 2000, I went to London with another tattoo artist to work at a tattoo convention. We had a few days free to explore the city. I realized that the hotel we were at was only a few blocks from the National Gallery and I was excited to visit. I asked her if she'd like to come along. She had no interest. I found it astounding. Wasn't she an artist? I presume she found it equally astounding, judging from her reaction ("how boring!"), that I found anything of interest in such old art. She went to the Imax theater. I went to the National Gallery. I found myself sitting next to a woman from Japan, who was having the same response as I was - awe that brought tears to our eyes, and gratitude for the opportunity to see such glorious art in person.
As they say, to each his own.