Vincent Van Gogh – golden fields and starry skies

Van Gogh was a Dutch painter. His parents were very disapproving of his becoming an artist and he survived by the financial support given him by his brother Theo. He studied art, firstly in Netherlands and later in Belgium, before he finally headed to France. He met many of the Impressionist painters in France, and…

The weirdness of Escher

MC Escher (1898-1972) was a Dutch artist, who made mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Many traditional art critics find his work ‘too intellectual’. I love his work because it’s endlessly interesting, and I sometimes think that critics have a somewhat narrow view of what can define art. He makes use of mathematical constructs, geometrical…

In praise of the Cello

It would be hard, I think, to find someone who doesn’t enjoy music. It does seem to be a universal human pastime. Tastes in music, of course, can vary widely, and people will often enjoy the sound of some instruments more than others. For me, it’s the cello. Also known as the violoncello, it has…

Sunlight through Stained Glass

Even if you’re not a person of faith, there is nothing like attending a church and looking at stained glass windows. While they do vary in artistry, at their best they can be truly breathtaking. I was curious to look into the history of this art form. It’s believed that the technique of staining glass…

Memento Mori

‘Memento mori’ is Latin for ‘Remember death’ (or ‘remember that you will die’), and refers to a medieval Christian practice of contemplating one’s own mortality. Cheerful, indeed. The idea was that you were supposed to remember that earthly riches and pleasures were fleeting and time on earth was short, so the pious person should devote…

Beauty on the wall

My local art gallery is currently hosting the most wonderful exhibition, of Impressionist art on loan from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Last week I went to see it, and i spent a couple of hours lost in appreciation of over 65 works of exquisite beauty.   Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterised by…