Appreciating art – guest article

I would like to thank Andrew for allowing me to guest post here. I hope you will enjoy it.

Phyllis Stein.

This morning I accompanied Mr. & Mrs. Ha to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum so they could continue their education in art appreciation. I was surprised to see how much time they spent searching for canine elements in paintings. The old masters were quite rewarding. I had never looked at it quite from their perspective before but I am sure it has a lot of validity. Here I share some examples. Firstly 2 dogs examining a human skull (which Mrs. Ha thinks is just a canvas bag – but if it is then it contains a human skull). Sadly the artist has docked the dog’s tail on the right, a practice we frown upon today. Also the Canine Association of America no longer has human skulls on its recommended food list. Beware.Dogsskull

Next a clear error on the part of the artist. Dogs are not allowed in wet markets and if they were they would surely chase away a stork. Andrew also told me he had to work this picture hard in Lightroom to bring out the detail. A good artist would have done this himself. DogwetmarketSelf-explanatory. Dog with blanket. Gets a tick.DognblanketThe artist has made a grave error here as this dog is sneaking under a car park barrier. Everyone knows that car parks did not have barriers in the 17th century. It was all free parking.DogbarrierThis artist should have known better – clearly signed by a chap called Gauguin. The caption says these are dogs but Andrew thinks the lower one is a cat. Artists should always be very clear if they are trying to be realistic. Dogs and cats don’t look alike.This just gives a bad impression. GaugindogsA ghastly thing next – a lapdog. Unrecognisable. Should never have been given gallery space. Andrew & Shirley agreed.LapdogHere is a real dog. He’s on the left.GSdog

There were quite a few modern works on show. I tried to convince Mrs. Ha that PP could really paint. She said it was a load of old cock and bull. And here they are to prove it. Bull first.Bull

CockWe did find one picture by PP that suggested he had been quite good once.PablonaturalIts principal failing is the absence of a dog so it doesn’t really cut the mustard but not bad for a beginner. Andrew suggested adding a dog now. I’ll discuss this with the curator.

There is so much more to come but I have to draw a line under things here. Tomorrow we may go for advanced critiques including some Kandinsky and maybe even a Roy Luxembourg. We’ll see whether their flight to Venice lands in time.

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11 thoughts on “Appreciating art – guest article

  1. Ah, Phyllis ! – you’re always to be found in art galleries, eh ?[grin]
    A wonderful selection you’ve made here, and I’m sure the Has (there is simply no better way to write that name) feel all the better for your thoughtful and informed input. Me too !!!
    I thank you, and hope to read more guest posts from you – providing Mr H doesn’t come to resent your popularity …

  2. Oh, my style of art appreciation. Can I make an appointment with you for next March/April, to decipher the mysteries of the paintings in a small gallery in Florence, Italy? I think it’s called the Fizzy, or something like that. UffizzY? Uffizzeee? I’m sure you know the one I mean. Will an hour be enough, do you think?

    I’ll buy your lunch after this. I hope you like tripe.

  3. Ha, ha. Yes indeedy this was a fun read. Some of the paintings in my opinion are just stupid, sorry but I just do not appreciate some even if the painting contains an animal. Look closely Andrew, at the animal you think looks like a cat. Check out the front legs and all the way to the tail. It really is a dog. Believe me. 🙂

    PS: maybe the artist was drunk when he painted that one.

  4. You are quite right, PP could almost paint when he was a beginner, and just think how the painting would be improved with a dog. I’ve so enjoyed your art class~ glad you could augment Andrew’s site.

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

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