As I was on holiday in Southern Ireland, I decided to seize the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Ireland in order to gain inspiration for my future media production work and final media piece. I was also looking for what was deemed ‘great art’ and to see whether it had an impression on me. Unfortunately, most of the gallery was closed due to renovations and so only the ground and half of the first floor were open to view. Despite this, I still had the opportunity to witness some great artwork.
The most prominent piece of art that the gallery seemed to be most proud of holding and one that was on all of the banners advertising the gallery down the surrounding streets was The Taking of Christ by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
As I am not well versed in art or particularly famous artists, I was only acquainted with Caravaggio’s work earlier this year during a lecture in my second year of media production. From then on I have always been able to identify his work due to his very distinctive style both in setting, colour scheme and lighting. Caravaggio is one of my favourite artists as I like how he is able to adapt the scenes from the Bible and make them appear as if they are almost being performed on stage, or in a very cinematic way. He is able to do this by mostly using a black background which gives the illusion of infinite space and allows the viewer to solely focus on the subject. Although it’s not unheard of for artists to apply this technique, Caravaggio has painted himself in the top right hand corner as the person holding the lantern. This could be interpreted in a number of ways but I interpret it as comparing it to his artistic technique by shining a light on the subjects, emphasising his preferred and flawless use of lighting. When trying to think of what I could take away from this piece when applying it to my media work, lighting was a prominent area for consideration. Usually in my past films, I have always used natural lighting as setting up lights tends to add a lot of time to a shooting schedule and can also take up a lot of much needed room if the scene is in a small area. I also like the inclusion of Caravaggio himself in the picture. It literally makes you a part of what you are creating and is something that may factor in to one of my ideas for my final media piece.
When comparing the works from the National Gallery of Ireland to the Tate Modern, there really is not any contest in my mind; I dislike all but one piece of art in the Tate Modern. I have never been a lover of modern art and, although if you go by the definition of the word ‘art’ you technically can’t call it otherwise, but there is nothing in there which appeals to me. Which is fine, as art is all subjective and what personally doesn’t appeal to me may appeal to a great many other people. To me, great art is something that looks photo realistic or something shows an incredibly high level of skill; whether it be from people, landscapes or still life. To me, sticking a small white paper circle on a wall and calling it ‘art’ is completely ridiculous and cannot even compare to the work of Caravaggio or Da Vinci for example, sculptures or any other piece of art that, when observed, immediately shows an incomparable level of skill. That being, said. There was one piece of art I liked at the Tate Modern. To hear me talk about what I thought of the picture and how it inspired me, you can watch a video here:
And finally, local artistic talent. My friend, Daniel Ward hosted his first ever art exhibition at the White Hart Tea Room in Atherstone in January. I had seen a few pieces of his work before but this was my chance to see a lot more of it in one room. This would give me a better understanding of his style and plot his artistic career from some of his early art to the much more recent.
The exhibition contained many canvases, oils, drawings, paintings and sculptures. Most were stills (cutlery, clocks, candles) or drawings of things from the local area (buildings, brickwork, postboxes). What’s great about Daniel’s work is how spontaneous most of it is. He can rapidly think of ideas for artwork, and always carries around a journal of his art to begin drawing something when he needs to. For example, he might decide to draw someone on a bus journey as a quick sketch, or focus on an area and go into all of its detail as a still.
An aspect I like in all of Daniel’s work is the fact that you can see every detail that has gone into the piece. Take these sketches for example. Though they are not vastly detailed and photo realistic from the subject, you can see from every pencil line the work and skill that has gone into it. In the shading and sketching. You can see everything that has gone through the artist’s hand onto the paper and that is an area I think is important to think about for my final media piece. The piece should contain the maker’s imprint somewhere, or visual style; whether it be through the script should it be a film, or in certain angles and shots that are common in that media practitioner’s work. This is something I will consider when thinking of my final media piece, and find a way to put forth my style into what I make, which can only make it a more personal and enthusiastic project to be a part of.
My favourite piece however from the exhibition was this:
The use of colours in this painting is what makes it immediately striking to me. The bright colours of the Union Jack flag complement the yellowy browns used for Big Ben. My favourite aspect of the painting however is the impeccable detail on Big Ben. The shading and mix of colours used for the different shades and shadows is beautiful to look at, and the ragged edges at the top and bottom of the picture once again lends to the style of the artist. The very personal touch that shows that this is painted by someone and is indeed a work of art; one of Daniel Ward’s traits that is evident in all of Ward’s work. A very patriotic picture indeed!
To view more of his work and projects, a link to Daniel Ward’s artist Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/PencilAndPaperAddict
In conclusion, I feel I have more of a grasp on what I would like to produce for my FMP based on the inspiration I have gained from visiting these art exhibitions. All of the artwork I love boasts spectacle and memory, with the very best including power also. The highly cinematic feel of Caravaggio’s work, and the simple elements of Daniel Ward’s work in which you can see every detail that he has personally put into it, are areas I would like to include in my work. Keeping it cinematic, but still retaining my own personal qualities and my own interests in order to achieve a much more enthusiastic project for me to helm and be involved in. My piece must be cinematic and visually stunning which, like art, leads to the viewer or audience reacting to its spectacle, power and memory. This will allow the audience to have a much greater cathartic experience and become more invested in my work which is what any media practitioner should seek to achieve.