Art Appreciation Meeting July 2013 Report

Night watch by Rembrandt                                                                         Parquesol Restaurant El Morche

This was as usual, a fantastic DVD and discussion.  We are watching Private Life of a Masterpiece Series from the BBC, which is a delight to watch.  The whole episode gave us an overview of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, it’s history, survival during WW2 and the modern view of the painting.

 I never liked Oil painting.  They are too dark and dismal, just old people in old paintings.  I love Turner and watercolours.  I love the smudgy look and the allure of watercolours.   I adore the idea of a shape and then you have to imagine what it is!  In this way the canvas speaks to each one of us.  Well, this DVD has changed my mind!!!  A life time’s attitude changed in one hour of knowledge.   Let me explain the reason for this change.

Firstly, the content is wonderful.  It was the original group photo and Rembrandt changed it to make it dynamic.  Each person has a role and they are all interacting.  Everyone in the group paid an amount and they all had their picture painted.  Well, if Rembrandt invented the dynamic group idea, what an idea!  I think it is fab.  After all we are still arguing about these things today.  My granddaughter’s school picture has all the kids doing something and some parents do not like it.  People don’t change.  Well, I have.

Secondly, the detail and attention to detail is wonderful.  Can you see the dog?  Well, look and it is there.  Lovely hidden detail, the captain’s hand is pointing to a lion which was the troop’s emblem. I never had looked at these before because I decided that I did not like oils.  I have missed so much.

Thirdly, the faces and costumes are wonderful.  One can almost feel the fabric and see the facial expression.    The little powder boy looks so naughty and mischievous that he reminds me of my nephew.   Which man in the troop is the most handsome for you?  Let’s have a vote!!  The lady at the back, who is she?  Her face does not match her body. There is some thought that the face might be that of Rembrandt’s wife.  I am giving these people personalities so it must be a realistic painting.

Finally, the size is awesome.  I struggle with A4 size of paper.  This was 14 feet by 10 feet which is the size of a small wall.  Amazing, I just cannot imagine painting or seeing something that size.

I think I have proved a point, that although the choice for the month is not your favourite then come along and you might change your mind.  If not you will definitely have ammunition to defend your dislike.

This painting and others were put in special vaults during WWW2.  My father landed D Day plus 4 and was stationed in Holland until 1945.  He ran a supply depot as he was a butcher.  He said the Dutch were starving and felt angry at the Dutch government for putting it’s treasures before its people.  I am not sure I agree with him but I do see his point. However, I am glad that this painting survived.

Our next meeting, is on the  at Parquesol, El Morche.  We meet at 11am on  21 August.  Next month we are looking at Rodin’s The Kiss.  Please come along for a chat, coffee, watch the DVD and talk.  Everyone is welcome.

Janice Galloway July 2013
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