Monday, 23 February 2009

Oh Those Victorians

I'm enjoying Jeremy Paxman's exploration of Victorian art and how it reflected, exaggerated and downright misrepresented the age. I was especially intrigued last night by the story of Punch cartoonist and respectably married man Linley Sambourne, whose excuse for taking photographs such as this on the left was that he really needed to see a naked figure to work out how to draw it properly.

It was nothing to do with being a kinky perve at all!


  1. Heh. Being a kinky.

    I know nussink about art. As visiting an art gallery on Saturday proved. I am basically still in schoolgirl mode, where I just point and say I like that. I don't like that.

    Not like Janine Ashbless, and her mega brain filled with masses of information about all the hot dudes with marshmallow pecs in pictures. And you, who watches stuff that Jeremy Paxman does on art, while I'm watching Masterchef and cramming fizzy worms down my neck.

    I'm such a pleb.

  2. I know very little about art, honest - "but I know what I like" and what I happen to like is Victorian art. And that Paxman series!

    Oh blimey, some of last week's episode was shocking: the "Hush!"/"Hushed" pair of paintings (about the death of the baby) was just tragic. And I didn't know that stuff about how droves of unmarried mothers would (as a matter of course it seems) drown themselves in the Thames.

    Apologies to Charlotte for dragging her round the art gallery!

  3. Hey, Masterchef is culture! At least, it was when Loyd Grossman was doing it ;).

    I'm not remotely artistic, or knowledgeable about art really, but I am mad for the Victorians. Their books, their music, their paintings, their insane fashions - it's all a bit like a drug to me. But yes, they were harsh times. I had to look away from some of the paintings on Sunday, especially the ones of dying children. There's one painting I don't think they showed, of a destitute family huddled together on a bridge, that always makes me bawl my eyes out.

    But I'm jealous that you got to see the Ford Madox Brown. And you didn't even use it as an excuse to nose around Agent Provocateur, unlike Mr Paxman!

  4. Janine- don't apologise! I loved it! I may no nussink about art, but I still like eyeballing it and making stupid assessments. It was worth it just to see that big painting of...that girl...all in black...who, er...

    Charlotte Stein: Amazing Art Critic.

    And Justine- do you forgive me for preferring the new Masterchef? Say you do. I can just be yours twos dunderheaded friend. I LIKE FOOD MAKING!!1! SHOW ME PICTURES OF NICE THINGS!11


  5. Big painting of that girl all in black:

    It's Sappho, the ancient Greek lesbian poet. My favourite picture that day too.

  6. LOL! It's really true! You do need to see the naked body and learn how it works, to draw it properly. In fact, they used to believe that young artists needed to study anatomy too. Art students used to sit in on cadaver dissections, right along with medical students. I think that is why Michelangelo’s painting are so muscular, even his women. He was obsessed with drawing every muscle in the body.
    Fortunately they don't believe that you need to do that now though. I would have hated to sit through an anatomy class. Eeeewww!

  7. No, that would put me right off! A bit like having to watch graphic porno films if you want to be an erotica writer. No thanks!

    Funnily enough, though, Sambourne obviously thought he was OK with the male body, because all the photographs are of women. Hmmm. Unless all his cartoon figures were versions of him, perhaps.