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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

1001 paintings



Some time ago I was given '1001 paintings you must see before you die'.
It has sat on my shelf and I view it with some puzzlement, as I always have difficulty with the concept of HAVE to, it always begs the question...well, what if I don't?

However, great paintings can make you see the world differently, how to express feelings, colour, form, all sorts of ideas, invoke memories and just please the eye. So I decided to systematically 'look' at the pictures, even though they're not the real thing. I have seen some in my travels and I'm sure I'll see some more of them in the future. Right now, the book will serve as the beginning of a different sort of journey.

The book is organised by the different centuries, which is good for comparison and seeing the change in art over time, but I think I might just open up randomly and look at just one. A sort of I Ching of painting. So here is the first:

'Entrance to the grand canal, Venice' by Bernardo Belloto. c1741

This shows in incredible detail the magnificance of Venice from the extraordinary grandeur and, if you look closely, also the intimate details of daily life. This is a important, busy, beautiful place.

This was an interesting first choice and it brings back memories of my first trip overseas (some 25 years ago) where I made my one and only visit to Venice.

I did love staying there and wandering the streets and canals, riding the water ferries and getting lost! The colours in the painting are muted and soft with touches of light. I have a different memory, however, looking back at my photos reveals that little has changed.


The colours are surprisingly similar, as is the city. Alot of what I loved about Venice was also the small and intimate, the houses, tiny waterways and walkways.

Lovely memories.

PS. I haven't put in a picture of my wheel yet, but 'Yes' I do have a little Poly wheel, made by Phillip Poore of New Zealand.

There is a wonderful website documenting New Zealand wheels, past and present. What a wonderful resource: www.nzspinningwheels.info

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