The Fitzwilliam Beauty

Whilst visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, I was captivated by a painting by Adriaen Coorte called ‘A bundle of asparagus’ located on the balcony in the room of British Art 16th – 18th centuries.

Having viewed many different artists still life paintings and trying one myself, I have found that a huge amount of skill is involved in making it effective. Getting the light and tones correct is a challenge and Coorte should be commended for the contrast he created between the dark background and the bright white and green asparagus. The black background gave a strong support for the subject matter, this makes the piece stand out. Additionally, the perspective line painted in bright white colours gives the piece another dimension which enables a more 3D appearance. Its bright colour makes the painting eye-catching.

Still life was meant to provide a record for the future. In many of Coorte’s paintings, asparagus plays an important part. Asparagus was a luxury item in the 17th century. As Kurt Anderson said ‘When I paint a still life, I want it to be anything but still. I want it to shimmer with light. I want it to rustle with movement.’ Adriaen Coorte did just this. I would really recommend visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum, its beautiful paintings and sculptures are an inspiration.


Grotesque beauty?

A few weeks ago, whilst visiting the Saatchi Gallery at Sloane Square, I came across a very interesting piece that instantly caught my attention. It was a 3D piece by Jodie Carey named ‘The Daily Mail – Arrangement Three.’ It is an arrangement of flowers which are made from newspaper.

The great skill and craftsmanship was what initially attracted my attention as it is a vast display and the ‘flowers’ are densely packed. However, on reading its placard, I discovered that the leaves and flowers were stained with tea, coffee and blood. I was even more alarmed when I found that it was the artists own blood that had been used. This made the piece shockingly compelling and I could not help but admire its grotesque beauty.

When artists say they ‘put all of themselves’ into their piece, Jodie Carey can say this more literally. I find this interesting because she has thrown away conventionalities and has created a piece that is outrageous and yet simple. Personally I would not buy this piece, but it is very thought provoking.

The Saatchi Gallery has wonderful displays and every piece has been chosen carefully to make the exhibitions interesting and eye-catching. It is well worth a visit.