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Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare London walks’

George Braques Bottle of Brandy

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Returning now to our Walks of Art inside Tate Modern we take a wander into the States of Flux wing to have a look at a painting entitled Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepiece.

This was painted in 1911 by the painter Georges Braque, who together with his great friend and ally Pablo Picasso was a pioneer of the early 20th century art movement that became known as cubism.

At first glance Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepiece appears to be little more than a jumbled series of distorted shapes and lines. Indeed, at first glance your mind might struggle to make sense of what exactly it is that you are looking at.

Where is the clarinet?

Where is the bottle of rum?

Where is the mantlepiece.

Well the one thing we stress over and over again on our London walks is the need to really look at things. Look at as opposed to see things.

So let’s start by looking for the bottle of rum in the painting. If you look at the top centre of the painting you can make out two, black vertical lines across the top of which has been laid a horizontal black line. This is the neck of the bottle.

So straight away our London walks mantra of look at things starts to make a little more sense in Tate Modern.

In fact the bottle is made easy to discern by several visual clues.

Firstly, just beneath the neck of the bottle are the letters PARL, which could be a make or a brand of Rum.

Further down underneath that are the letters RH and the start of the letter U, the first three letters of the French word for rum.

So from the jumbled mass of shapes and lines we have managed to distinguish the shape of the bottle.

We’ll look for the clarinet in our next blog. In the meantime why not have a look at some of the Dickens Walks or Shakespeare London walks that take in the exciting and vibrant area where Tate Modern is located?

Incidentally, for copyright reasons we cannot reproduce the artworks on our London, Walk of Art blogs. But do a google image search for Tate Modern and you will be able to see these works.

London Walking – A Surreal Experience.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

In our earlier post we took a look at a work in Tate Modern by the Surrealist painter Salvador Dali which is entitled Mountain Lake.

We explained how the painting emphasises an important point that we make time and again on our London walks, that you really have to look at things in London not just  see them.

So what is Mountain Lake about.

We ended our earlier post by explaining that the painting confronted some of Dali’s own deeply buried issues.

Before Dali was born his parents had had another son, who would have been his older brother, whose name was also Salvador. However, this son died before Dali was born and his grief stricken parents went to the Catalan region of Spain to recover from their loss.

It was a mountainous coastal region, and it is in fact the region that Dali Depicts in Mountain Lake.

Throughout his childhood Dali’s parents would take him on an annual pilgrimage to the region and his mother would often burst into tears when she beheld the beautiful landscape.

So Dali’s feelings about the landscape you can see in the picture were very mixed. he had happy memories of it but he also had some very sad memories, which could account for the dark and somber mood that seems to emanate from the work.

So when set against that background Mountain Lake  takes on a whole new meaning and you start to see something of the autobiographical aspect that Dali introduced into his painting.

But the painting’s sense of foreboding could also be taken to refer to a sense of unease and foreboding that was gripping Europe at the time that Dali painted it, for it was becoming more and more apparent that war was about to break out in Europe.

We will discuss this aspect of the picture  further in out next blog.

We have several tours that look at London in the Blitz and in addition our Shakespeare London walks cover the area where Tate Modern is located.

In addition you can join us on any one of our fascinating London walks that take you all over the historic streets of London.