Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Discovery of Spain: From Goya to Picasso

This afternoon I went to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and saw some great stuff.

They're currently showing an exhibition about the influence of Spain on British art called The Discovery of Spain: From Goya to Picasso.
The exhibition consists of a large array of paintings from British art collections related to Spain; and as well as British artists who worked in Spain, the exhibition also includes several high-profile paintings by the likes of Velazquez, Picasso, and El Greco.

I was unfamiliar with most of the paintings in the exhibition, and although there are many paintings I'd like to bring to your attention, I can only remember the names for a small series of work by El Greco.
I didn't know much of his work before visiting this exhibition, but it certainly held my attention the most. There is a wonderful - almost Old Master or Romantic - sense of lighting and contrast that makes these appealing paintings really stand out.

A massive copy of Lady In A Fur Wrap [above] was used as the poster image at the top of the staircase, which looked really impressive from a distance, however the small scale of the original is much more intimate and captivating.
The contrast between her light skin and the dark background is really strong, which makes this image cry out for attention before her big brown eyes seduce your attention away from the other four El Greco paintings aligned around it.
There are few other paintings that have captivated me like this one, but as much as I really admire it, it is the El Greco painting called An Allegory (hanging right beside it) that had a stronger impact on me.

An Allegory [below] is darker and has a much cruder painting style than Lady In A Fur Wrap, but by utilising a single light source it has much stronger visual impact...

This digital image is terrible for conveying the actual lighting and colouring of the original painting, but it held me in awe.

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