Saturday 24 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 24

So today is the final day of Advent! I thought that it was only appropriate that I pick something traditional.

As my masters and indeed my preference goes towards the Florentine Renaissance it was only sensible to pick one of the multitude of paintings from this period and this location. So, after a while, I selected Leonardo's unfinished adoration at the Uffizi. I think that when you look at this work it is evident that it could never have been completed. He has infused the image with so much spatial complexity, and such a variety of scenes, including those in the foreground and the background, that I would suggest to complete it would be unachievable. However I am very grateful that this exquisite underdrawing exists as it allow us an insight into his working practice, showing a variety of ancient sources such as the charging horses in the background on the left, taken from a medal. It made sense to choose a Leonardo image as the artist is forefront in my mind after my visit to the exhibition:

However I could not resist putting in a few more equally incredible nativity scenes so here is an extra arty treat!

Duccio, Nativity, 1308-11

This is the earliest of my nativity selection and still includes the gold background that is more common in this period, It is the only one of my selection to do so. In the flickering candelight of the church this would have given the painting a very other-worldly feeling.

Giotto Nativity from the Scrovegni chapel in Padua

This unlike the previous two images is a fresco (wall-painting) This was the image from my advent calender at home today, which was a nice suprise when I opened it!

Botticelli's Mystical Nativity 1500-1501

To finish, as I could go on for a long time, I have selected a painting which you could see in London's very own National Gallery, this is a truly bizarre nativity image, breaking with many of the previous conventions.

So finally, HAPPY CHRISTMAS!! It has been great to share some of my favourite wintery images with you this advent!

Friday 23 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 23

I think today's image might just be one of my favourite images of all time, there is something about the atmosphere that is at once inviting and foreboding.It is painted by Monet and is one of his earlier works painted between 1868 and 1869. It is called magpie and is exhibited in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

The treatment of the long shadows cast in the snow is exquisite. They include a beautiful range of colours. It is a truly atmospheric work of art I think I could look at if for hours, if I wasn't so busy doing my christmas wrapping!

Thursday 22 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 22

I'm not sure it gets chillier than this image of the ex fashion designer current artist working in the unforgiving Norwegian landscape.
Ian Garlant Radient Space 2011
His work is born out of this landscape both literally and symbolically. He uses materials that are particularly significant and relevant to the place, such as boat building materials. Arranges these materials then covers them with bitumen and sets fire to them, something you really can't imagine happening in a studio in central London. There is something about the raw beauty of the works that can't help but evoke the Nordic wilderness.

Not to mention their fascinating relationship with ancient runes which I was given an insight into by a tour with Love Art London!

His work was recently shown at an exhibition at the Andipa Gallery on Walton Street. The pieces were incredible to see firsthand as it allowed you to fully appreciate their incredible textures and the way in which they reflect this inhospitable landscape.

Definitely one to watch!

For more information on Andipa Gallery and this intriguing artist go to:

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 21

The only appropriate image for today was this wintery photograph of the bronze Barbara Hepworth sculpture 'Two Form (Divided Circle)' in the snow.

This sculpture was stolen from Dulwich Park (on the night of the 19th December) where it was placed in 1970. It is believed to have been stolen by people wishing to melt it down and sell on the metal.

As I am sure you will all agree it is worth much more than its weight in metal.

Anyone with information please go to:

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 20

We have entered the 20's so I thought we needed an extra special christmas post today! Enjoy!

For today I have chosen the Tate Britain Christmas Tree series, specifically last years offering by Giorgio Sadotti. Every year since 1988 Tate Britain have comissioned a Christmas Tree by a different contemporary artist to sit in the Rotunda. As you can imagine there are a huge range of examples, all with a different take on this traditional icon of christmas. The list of artist is impressive including well known names such as Tracey Emin and Cornelia Parker.

Here are just a couple, I wanted to include all of them but had to restrain myself!

Here again is last years christmas tree by Giorgio Sadotti. The 9 m Norweigen Spruce was left unadorned by the expected tinsel and baubles.

Julian Opie's take on the Christmas Tree brief in 1996, instead of including a real tree he chose to construct a mini-forest.

Catherine Yass chose to suspend her christmas tree between these two neon bars, giving it a very eerie effect

Here is a Video about Tacita Dean's Christmas Tree for the Rotunda in 2009.

For a list of more examples and to pick your favourites check out:

Let me know which ones you like best!

Monday 19 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 19

For today's image I have chosen the Skating Minister by Raeburn the Scottish portrait painter. It is a portrait of the Reverend Robert Walker and was painted in the 1790's.

Reverend Robert Walker was minister of the Canongate Kirk and a member of the Edinburgh Skating Society. What is thought to be one of the oldest skating clubs in Britain. They met on Duddingston lake which is were this portrait is believed to be set. The artists evident interest in capturing a figure in movement is unusal for the painters of the time.

This painting is currently in the National Gallery of Scotland and is considered one of the highlights of the collection. There is even a Christmas tree decoration!

For this and more art themed christmas gifts check out:

Sunday 18 December 2011

Advent Calender - Day 18

Today there is a painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds for you by a pupil of Rembrandt.

This can be seen at the National Gallery. It uses Rembrandts distinctive style with an interest in chiaroscuro.

For more information have a look at