Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bernie's Ramblings: There is nothing like viewing art in person...

As Tami and I walked the lovely streets of Dublin we came upon many interesting sites. One of the best treats for me was our visit to the National Gallery of Ireland... here we are pictured outside.

My advice... never pass up a gallery or art museum. Paintings should be viewed in person to get a true sense of their splendor where they can literally communicate with the viewer. So many times we only get the chance to see works by the masters in print or online... neither are able to rival the awesomeness of viewing a painting in real life... it's a rush for me!

Some people would be ecstatic if they could see their favorite singer or movie star in person... that's how I felt when I rounded the corner in the National Gallery and came face to face with one of my top five favorite paintings... Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ.
Caravaggio (Michelangelo da Merisi) 1571–1610
The Taking of Christ 1602 (Click on image to enlarge...)
Society of Jesus of Ireland, on loan to the National Gallery of Ireland

The man carrying the lantern at the extreme right, who looks inquisitively over the soldiers’ heads, has been interpreted as a self-portrait of Caravaggio.

I wasn't even aware this painting was part of their collection so this was a special surprise. The gallery was almost empty and it was if we were able to have a private viewing of this spectacular work. I handed Tami the camera and asked her to snap a photo of me with the painting... at that point the private viewing was over... a security guard (who appeared out of thin air) quickly informed us about the "no photos" rule and I was forced to commit the painting to memory... a good one I might add.

The painting has an interesting story behind it and how it came to be part of the collection at the National Gallery...

By the late 18th century, the painting was thought to have disappeared, and its whereabouts remained unknown for about 200 years. In 1990, Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece was recognized in the residence of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Dublin, Ireland. The exciting rediscovery was published in 1993.

Read the complete story about the rediscovery HERE....

YouTube Video... The Taking of Christ - Caravaggio

The guard was very pleasant once we conceded and actually gave us a tour discussing several other works which included pieces by the likes of Canova, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Poussin, Monet, Velasquez, Picasso, Goya and John B. Yeats as well as Jack B. Yeats to name a few.

Another one of my favorite Old Masters was represented in the gallery.... Johannes Vermeer (1632–75). His painting Woman writing a Letter, with her Maid (c.1670) was another real treat for me to see and study intently in person.

Johannes Vermeer
Woman writing a Letter, with her Maid (c.1670)
National Gallery of Ireland

Viewing great art with a great lady in a great city... what more could I ask for?

Those of you who collect art know exactly what I am talking about... a work of art is something to be savored in person!


No comments: