Art History – February 2021

In January the group enjoyed a Zoom meeting where we looked at paintings on the theme of Food and Drink.  These ranged from still lifes by Caravaggio, Monet and Gris to the Potato Eaters by Van Gogh and scenes set in a restaurant, a Dutch kitchen, and a grocer’s shop. Finally we compared a still life with a lobster by Willem Kalf with a relatively recent one of the same subject by Stephen Rose.  In doing this we also learnt the difference between a cooked lobster, bright pink and live one, dark brown!

Our topic for February is ‘Winter Scenes’ which turns out to be quite appropriate given the recent weather.  The subject of snow was especially popular with the Impressionists. Pissarro, Monet and Sisley produced a significant number of winter paintings. Although each responded differently, they shared a fascination with the so called effets de neige (effects of snow) and often sought out opportunities to paint wintery landscapes. Monet created over 140 winter paintings; his haystacks covered with snow being one of the most repeated images.   I look forward to another interesting selection of paintings.

Last week, I enjoyed a talk from the National Gallery which was organised by the Third Age Trust. The subject was Van Gogh in Arles and was given by the author Bernadette Murphy.  Her book ‘Van Gogh’s Ear – the True Story’ is meticulously researched and is a gripping read.  I understand that the Trust hope to arrange some more of these events.

Angela Deane