Monday, August 1, 2011
better things to do!
Time for a break! I see that my readership is falling off - hopefully people are taking a rest from the internet. Better things to do! So I will probably do the same this month when I will be going up to the mountain house.
The book which has been gripping me these last few days has been a door-stopper of a book (in the sheer weight of its 790 odd pages and illustrations) - Art; a new history by Paul Johnson (2003). It's the most informative of any art book I've ever read - by someone better known for more conventional (but broad-sweep) political histories. The book is written by someone with a clear vision of what is interesting art and what is spurious. Realist at is his love (as mine) and he therefore dismisses a lot of modern art (including the impressionists - a fairly meaningless label anyway). His style is clear and personal - with the historical context of (and social relations between) painters being sketched out in a highly illuminating way. A lot of neglected artists from northern europe, russia and america find their way into the book. Even those critical of his prejudices have to admire the result.
Robert Weir Allen is a 19th century Scottish painter in the realist tradition (not mentioned in the book) and this is his Home from the Herring Fleet