Archive for March, 2010

Monet’s View of Ventimiglia at Kelvingrove

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
View of Ventimiglia Claude Monet 1884

Image courtesy of Glagow Museums

Monet was one of the founding members of the Impressionist group.  At their first exhibition in 1874 it was Monet’s painting Impression : Sunrise 1872 that led a critic to give the young artists what was considered to be the derisory name of Impressionists.

 In 1883 Monet and Renoir made a short visit to the South of France.  Inspired by the light and colours of the Mediterranean, Monet decided to return to the South by himself.  He stayed in the Italian seaside resort of Bordighera, but found more inspiration along the coast, finding an open view looking down on the town of Ventimiglia and across to the Alps on the French Italian border.  He wrote of the area that ‘one needs a palette of diamonds and jewels here because of the blues and pinks’.

 Monet conveyed the clear blue sea using horizontal brush strokes of blue and green. The calm surface of the sea contrasts with the vigorously painted foreground of shrubs which frame the view.  Elsewhere Monet captures the coastal landscape and sky almost entirely with blues and pinks.

 Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and see this painting in the French Room in the East Wing.  Compare the colours in this painting to is painting of his French landscape Vetheuil.

 To book a gift voucher daytime tour or private evening tour contact us on 0141 636 6929 or by email

Matisse – The Pink Tablecloth

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Henri Matisse is considered the most important French artist of the 20th century. A student of the masters of Post-Impressionism, Matisse made a reputation for himself as the leader of a group of painters known as Les Fauves.

Fauvism, a style of painting, used pure, brilliant colour, applied straight from the paint tubes in an aggressive, direct manner to create a sense of an explosion on the canvas. The Fauves painted directly from nature as the Impressionists had before them, but their works were invested with a strong expressive reaction to the subjects they painted. The name was given to them by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who, because of the violence of their works, dubbed the painters “Les Fauves” (Wild Beasts).

This painting was purchased and owned by William McInnes, a Glasgow collector. He was persuaded to buy it by Alexander Reid, a Glasgow art dealer, and Leslie Hunter (one of the Scottish colourists).

It was painted in Matisse’s apartment in Nice in 1924/25 and the vase, the fruit stand and the tablecloth appear in many other still lifes he painted there. He simplified the objects in the painting and played shapes off one another. He also heightened the colours and the shapes which provide both harmony and disharmony. The result is both startling and joyful.

The Pink Tablecloth, Henri Matisse, 1924/25

Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums

Who Were the Glasgow Boys?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The Glasgow Boys are described as a loose group of up to 25 artists, with a core of about half that number, including James Guthrie, James Paterson, Joseph Crawhall, Arthur Melville and John Lavery. They rejected the highly finished style of the Scottish art establishment in Edinburgh for their more naturalistic west coast approach and examples of their work are currently on show in Kelvingrove.

They are not to be confused wit the Scottish Colourists, who came later, nor the New Glasgow Boys who were a group of artists painting in the 1980s and included Peter Howson, Ken Currie and Steven Campbell.

In the late Victorian period there was a fascination for all things Scottish, due largely to Queen Victoria’s love of Scotland, and paintings of Scottish scenes became fashionable and were hung on the walls of the English middle classes. These paintings however, bore little resemblance to real life in Scotland and began to be viewed by emerging Scottish artists as “chocolate box” and unrealistic.

Thus the Glasgow Boys, youthful and rebellious, began to paint real Scottish life, out of doors, and their rural scenes transformed Scottish art and provided them with an international reputation.

Intermezzo are organising exclusive evening tours of Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880-1900, which runs from April to September 2010

James Guthrie

Old Willie - The Village Worthy - James Guthrie (Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums)

Why was Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross controversial?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


Salvador Dali - Christ of St John of the Cross (1951) Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums

This painting has always aroused admiration, criticism and controversy since its purchase in 1952.

Students of Glasgow School of Art submitted a petition against the purchase because they thought the money would have been better allocated to artists in the City.

Art Critics didn’t like it because Dali was known for his surrealist works and pushing the boundaries of art – and they believed this painting didn’t do that.

Religious groups felt that someone with Dali’s reputation shouldn’t be painting religious works.

Inded it was physically attacked in 1961 and the torn canvas had to be repaired.

See this painting before it goes on tour to the US in August this year.

Salvador Dali – Christ of St John of the Cross

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Image courtesy of Glasgow MuseumsDali’s painting will be leaving Kelvingrove in August for a trip abroad so take the time to see it before it goes. It was purchased by Glasgow Museums in 1952 and is an iconic image. The model for the figure of Christ was Russell Saunders a Canadian born Hollywood stuntman who was Gene Kelly’s body double in Singin’ in the Rain. He was chosen by Dali for his perfect physique.

There are no nails, no crown of thorns, nor other signs of physical torment because, Dali said, “My principal preoccupation was that my Christ would be as beautiful as the God that he is.” This is why he chose the 32 year old stuntman.

More interesting facts about this painting to follow…..