Saturday, June 27, 2015

How Much for No Shadows? --- Day 4/149

Walk: Presidio, Sloat Garden Center, Pier 1
Distance: 4.5 miles and home yoga

Ciwt was asked by an older friend to give input on furnishing an apartment at a retirement community she was considering.  Apparently Ciwt is quite thin-skinned about 'certain topics' because, after spending a few hours in the retirement community, Ciwt was up all night trying to figure out where to place her own pieces of furniture in that apartment. (Memo to self: keep these visits to a minimum).

She also began thinking of Turner's hauntingly poignant sketch for a painting of Petworth Park:

JMW Turner, Petworth Park: Tillington Church in the Distance, @1828 Sketch, o/c,  25 3/x 57 3/8" 

The first study for the painting - shown above - tugs at the viewer's eye and emotions. A solitary figure is silhouetted against the sun as it sinks below the horizon. With its curving composition, long shadows, empty chair on the terrace front left, a distant master whose dogs run to meet him, the whole painting moves inexorably away from the viewer. All this makes for Ciwt one of the most moving paintings she has seen.

It was also one of the most irreverent landscapes of its time, starting with that elliptical structure  continuing onto the recognition of mortality embedded in the work.  This simply was not how acceptable landscapes were to be painted.  Nor was impending mortality the feeling any wealthy patron (in this case Lord Egremont) would have in mind in commissioning paintings of his estate.

Shockingly irreverent enough in fact that the final version - which still hangs at Petworth House Image result for petworth house art collection - omits the empty terrace and is more conventionally painted.  After her day at the retirement apartment, Ciwt is happy for Lord Egremont that the painting he got to live with was more removed and uplifting.

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