Wednesday, March 29, 2006

London Tales - Part IV (and my views on Painting)

Now that it's more than 24 hours I'm back in Rome and I finally managed to sleep 12 short, but precious hours over two nights, it's time to close the London parenthesis.

Have to say, London as a whole didn't impress me favourably. Maybe it's too huge to be appreciated in a matter of 6 days, maybe the fact I like more easily understandable cities (Paris of Saint Petersburg, for instance, one artificially and the other originally laid down with at least a general plan, or Venice, practically immutable in the centuries), maybe the climate, and surely the lack of squares, so common in anglosaxon cities and so crucial in continental ones. Fact is that, while I undoubtly appreciate the single wonderous things it offers, I actually don't like London as London.

There will be other chances, I hope, for me to visit again and maybe revise my statement. In the meanwhile I'll have, when I'll find the time, work on a few things as a follow up of my visits to the British Museum - does the name Jhon Dee ring a bell? - and the National Gallery, as I have to find more about two artists precedently, shame on me, totally unknown to me, Giovan Battista Moroni (above) and Girolamo Savoldo (right).

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention that I was impressed by the quantity of middle age ivories at the British Museum. I always liked the ivory caskets and I had never seen so many and of such a great quality all together. Those, and the immense quantity of jewels from all ages (I really like jewels) were among the most notable things I remember.

Also, I've been asked during the week why I do like paintings so much. I gave an answer, as the fact that I like to see new things and to make parallels between artists I know and see if I can find links between them, not to mention to see how a given story that maybe I knew since childhood (mostly classical myths) has been depicted by a given artist. It's all true, of course, but the question must have been one of those that went to my mind's background to be worked further upon as yesterday I suddenly got a better answer: I like to see other people's vision of the world.

I think that even the most naturalistic painter, the one who strives the most to paint exactly what he sees, yet places his own point of view in his work. Leonardo's balance of composition and lights shows, I believe, his belief of the universe having an underlying perfect armony made of rules that are just there to be discovered, while so many things could be assumed from Van Gogh's crazy colors and brush strokes. And that's probably the reason why I don't like abstract paintings at all, where, even admitting there is a meaning to be found, it's usually unrepairably lost or overthrown by our own interpretation.

In a way, I think I like to imagine what was in the artist's mind just as I like to understand what passes in the mind of the people around me (much to their frustration, I might add, especially a given someone who simply hates when I ask things like "So what are you thinking of?"). What can I do, I'm a curious person.

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