What is Art?

I love this foyer.  The simple but striking red and blue striped runner creates a strong presence amidst the white backdrop.  Bold but elemental in design; a real show-stopper.

Right?  Wouldn’t you agree? Voice of Fire Actually it’s not a foyer and it’s not a runner but rather the powerful vertical painting, Voice of Fire, acrylic on canvas, 1967, by Barnet Newman hanging in the National Gallery of Canada.  Voice of Fire (1)I visited the National Gallery this past weekend and had a chance to sit in Gallery C214, where this 8 ft. x 18 ft. painting hangs.  The walls in this gallery soar to almost 40 feet high toward a room-length skylight and when the National Gallery was built in 1988 it was decided that an “assertive anchor” was needed for this space.

Assertive indeed!  When the painting first appeared in the National Gallery it created huge controversy.  “How could 3 simple stripes cost $1.8 million?”

And many asked, “Is this really art?”

After viewing this painting I headed towards the area of International Art where the Old Masters paintings hang.  I came across this painting by Nicolas Poussin, The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus, 1628–1629. The Martyrdom of St Eramus

This oil on canvas painting with its ‘forceful diagonals, rich colours and strong light effects’ definitely has history as it is almost 400 years old but I ask you, “does disembowelment make for art!!??”  (Yes I’m talking about the ripping out of a person’s intestines.  Yikes!)

Voice of Fire may be controversial but isn’t The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus offensive?

So I ask you “what is the definition of art”…..????

It’s all about interpretation I suppose.

And oh by the way Voice of Fire is now valued at more than $40 million!

PS.  If you find yourself in Ottawa check out the National Gallery of Canada and see for yourself.National Gallery of Canada

 

All images by MODMISSY

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Henry Moore

“Please do not touch!”

4 words that sum up the rules of an art gallery.  Look and enjoy but never, never touch.

I understand – art from the Renaissance and Baroque eras do not do well with the human touch.  If we want following generations to enjoy works of art dating from the 1st century to present day keep your hands off!

But sometimes the urge to touch is incredible……

On Friday I visited the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) to see the Frida and Diego Exhibition.  Amazing, you could feel the passion in their work.

But as usual it is the Henry Moore collection of sculptures that always has the greatest draw for me.  Housed in a large room painted a very deep shade of grey, with minimal illumination are the bronze casts of Henry Moore.  The room is very sensual and the sculptures are very tangible.  Some appear very smooth, others very rough.  I have the greatest desire to touch them, to feel them.   But I don’t!

Instead I just truly enjoy looking at them.  Experiencing them.

Henry Moore Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Woman and Oval With Points

Henry Moore Woman and Oval With Points

Henry Moore Draped Reclining Woman

Henry Moore Draped Reclining Woman

 

Henry Moore Working Model for UNESCO Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Working Model for UNESCO Reclining Figure

Henry Moore Working Model for Three way Piece

Henry Moore Working Model for Three way Piece

All images via Modmissy

 

My Summer Away

I have been remiss on my posting duties of late.  I apologize but summer seemed to have had a strong pull on me.   When I visit my cottage in the north all technology and ‘city’ responsibilities get pushed away – happily.

I thought I would share with you some of the reasons why I went missing.

This is the first thing I see when I open my eyes each morning at the cottage.  The view from bed with the sun streaming in and the sparkling lake – what’s not to love!

Once up I go for an early morning ride in this vintage boat while the lake is still like glass.

Of course the early morning call of the loon is like nature’s melody that lulls you into awe and harmony.  And even more special if you happen to witness the union of adult and offspring during feeding.

Watching nature – colourful.

Observing wildlife – amazing!  Notice the little fawn I came across on a quiet walk through the forest.

Bunnies too!

An afternoon water ski!!

The magnificent spectacle following an afternoon rain shower.

And the setting sun after a wonderful day at the cottage.

What’s not to love and possibly make you forget all of life’s commitments?

All images via Modmissy

 

Metropol Parasol

Summer time to me announces ice cream season and what better way to enjoy your favourite flavour than atop a waffle cone.  Forget the Styrofoam-like cone and never out of a cup – I pay the extra $$ and always get the waffle cone.

In my neighborhood there is a small shop specializing in hand-made ice cream and last week I made a point of having my first ice cream cone of the summer season.

When I recently came across this photo of outstanding architecture I was reminded of my favourite waffle cone.

The Metropol Parasol is a unique infrastructure located in Seville, Spain in the old quarter district known as the Plaza de la Encarnacíon. The ‘Parasol’ scheme with its impressive timber/concrete/steel structure was designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann and completed in 2011.  Standing at an impressive 26 metres high and 70 by 150 metres wide the building claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world.  Designed in 4 levels, the underground level houses the Antiquarium where Roman and Moorish remains discovered on the site are displayed.  Level 1, the street level, is the Market and Level 2 & 3 is where the panoramic terraces and a restaurant are located.  There is also a raised winding walkway that allows for amazing views of the cityscape.

The Metropol Parasol has become a new site of ‘identification’ for Seville as one of the most fascinating cultural destinations in the world today.  Its role as a unique urban space within the dense fabric of the medieval inner city of Seville allows for a great variety of activities and tourist locale.

And now another destination to be added to my ‘Must Visit’ list!

Images via J. Mayer H.

 

Paris in Spring

Paris in spring.  How lovely.  My friend visited Paris recently with her husband.  I was not invited as three is a crowd!  Instead each day my friend sent photos of her sightseeing adventures so in spirit I was there too traveling to all of Paris’ beautiful attractions.  The wonder of technology!  The gears are already in motion planning my ‘Paris in Spring’ adventure for next year.  In the meantime I thought I would share some of my/her photos to showcase some sights of Paris.

When one thinks of Paris the Eiffel Tower always comes to mind.

And the Eiffel Tower at night is just as beautiful.

Of course a bit of culture is always on the travel agenda.  This is a photo showing the veil of undulating glass of the restaurant in the Paris Opera House – Palais Garnier; named in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier.

 

One must shop in Paris.  My friend knowing I would love the streetscape and window dressing of CHANEL sent this photo just for me.  Quite dramatic isn’t it?  My friend’s husband could not figure out why this photo was taken.

When in Paris one must dine like a Parisian.  Quand à Paris il faut dîner comme un Parisien.  This is a photo of Steak Tartare with a raw egg in the middle!!  Apparently ‘we’ scraped the plate clean!

Not being able to see all the beautiful sights of Paris (in reality) my friend brought me home a ‘taste’ of Paris – French macaroons from the famous bakery Ladurée.  The decoration of the original 1862 pastry shop was entrusted to Jules Cheret, a famous turn-of-the-century painter and poster artist.  Cheret sought inspiration from the painting techniques used for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Garnier Opera.

What a great vacation!