Your Favourite Painting

Spurred on by Kevin’s ‘Exhibition’ topic I thought we could try a ‘Favourite Painting’ topic.

‘Arrangement in Grey and Black no1’ (better known as ‘Whistler’s Mother’) is one of mine. It’s a wonderfully organised canvas with its muted palette and serene sitter. The composition, extending outside the frame, is what draws me to it.

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I can never choose between these two Rembrandt late self-portraits. For me they are the ultimate in self-revelatory art, somehow Rembrandt captured in paint the entire essence of his personality and his life. (Left picture is in Kenwood House London, right is the National Gallery canvas.)

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He made 93 self portraits. I saw one from inches away at the Queens Picture Gallery once. Mesmerising.

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Given your avatar, I was expecting The Scream. :grinning:

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There are 2 Rembrandt self portraits in the same room in The National Gallery, one from his 30s/40s when he was at the height of his success, and the one above. The difference is amazing, the earlier work shows him posing with immense self-confidence, he looks out of the canvas with cool arrogance, he is dressed richly and poses in the style of Old Master portraits. The later work shows a man who has had a challenging life, he no longer poses for effect, he looks out of the canvas with an expression of a man who’s seen ups and downs and is who he is. It’s a room I can spend an hour in just between the two, and do so more than once a year. (If you’re ever in that room and see a middle aged bloke in black jeans rapt in front of the late self-portrait, then moving to look at the younger one, come up and says”Hi”, it’ll be me.)

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From a gallery visit in Netherlands a few years ago.
Sometimes think it’s a picture of me during a Naim rebuild.

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This is interesting - every time I visit a gallery I am amazed by detail colour and composition, so rather than pick one let me share with you my favourite picture that hangs at home. It is by Jess Littell and is a still life based around my coffee table - an unholy mess when I lived in Prague. In those days I ran a Sony Walkman and a CDS through my Nait and Mordaunt Shorts.

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A Shadow by Michael Andrews

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I always wondered why it was called ‘When I forgot the cups on the lowest shelf’.

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http://media.overstockart.com/cache/data/product_images/overstockart_2379_18671951469-1000x1000.jpg
New York New Haven and Hartford from Edward Hopper.

I can completely loose myself into that picture. What or whom took the last train away? What will the next one bring? There is so much promise, as well as the question of leaving this place in it.

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Bruegel the elder - The Hunters in the Snow

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Difficult to choose just one, but here goes for a couple of works where postcards repros have been pinned up in the studio for inspiration. Plus anything from the Surrealists, Vorticists and, well, just about any image by Stanley Spencer…

Francis Bacon: Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X

David Hockney: A Bigger Grand Canyon (any from this series).

Andy Warhol: Marilyn Monroe.

Lucian Freud: Portrait of Francis Bacon

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Gerhard Richter. Betty.

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It would be too difficult to name a favourite painting, I have too many favourites, though I tend to favour portraiture I think.

Here’s a wonderful portrait, La Velata, by Raphael. Raphael died at just 37, but he was an astonishingly prolific painter during his short life (1483-1520) and is regarded by art historians as one of the “holy trinity” of High Renaissance painters (the other two being Leonardo and Michaelangelo). He also, by various accounts, bedded a fair few women and the lady with the veil was Margherita Luti, his mistress of the time (about 1515).

It’s a strikingly sensuous and opulent portrait, rendered with exquisite attention to detail. It’s one of the sexiest painings of all time.

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Ms Luti is also the subject for La Fornarina, one of Raphael’s late paintings (1519) and perhaps his most enigmatic. Despite being 500 years old, there’s something strikingly modern about it, and her gaze is unflinching, suggesting that she was very close to the artist.

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Alongside Rembrandt and Van Dyck, one of the greatest portrait artists ever was Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1520-1579). His portraits are partly of the nobility, but also of artists and ordinary craftsmen. Here’s his most famous work, The Tailor (c.1570), which has all his signature trademarks - realism, elegance, an eye for small detail, cool objectivity and psychological penetration. It’s in the National Gallery in London, and we’re very lucky to have it and the other Moronis there.

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Another great Moroni portrait, this time of the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria (c.1552).

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image https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/50/Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-The_Tower_of_Babel%28Vienna%29_-Google_Art_Project.jpg/300px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder-The_Tower_of_Babel%28Vienna%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

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