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.


Anonymous said...

I love that one too:) Ah, the National Gallery in London...I loved visiting the National Portrait competition show that they had at the National Portrait Gallery in DC after it reopened in 2006, it was really amazing. I think they plan on showing the 50 finalists paintings every time they hold the competition (about every two years, methinks)

Julie H. Rose said...

I need to get out of Maine more!!!

And Nika, you've got good taste ;-)