Write a short summary of your gallery visit today. Mention 2 or 3 of the paintings that most appealed to you and why.
Visiting the art gallery has been one of my favourite moments while undertaking any of Prof. Michael Griffith’s literature units. To me, it brings a whole new aspect of everything we have learned in class so far. But not only that, it helps us understand the context even more, as we are slowly coming to the end of the semester, where an exam for 19th-century literature waits for us.
The first section of the tour was the 18th-century enlightenment, the time right before Romanticism had its peak. We could see in this section, that all the paintings had some sort of structure. An example of this is Sir Joshua Reynold’s Portrait of James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale. While it is known that he was the artist hated by William Blake, his portrait has a sense of hierarchy. The portrait represents privilege and power, which is possibly the reason why Blake said that “Reynolds is the death of art”. The painting has nothing to do with nature, and it stood out because it shows a contrast between what the romanticism period was about and what wasn’t.
The Second part of the tour was about the Early Australian Romanticism in the 19th Century. While going through this particular section of the tour, I noticed quite a lot of the paintings that we looked at in the Australian Literature unit last year. Personally, it was great to see how the two units can be linked by looking at some of the same artworks again. There is, however, one I found that stood out from the rest, and that was John Glover’s “Launceston and the River Tamar”. The free-flowing tree branches embrace the free-flowing aspect of nature itself, minimising any human impact (besides both him and his wife in the painting, there is no one else.) This painting itself brings a sense of serenity & purity as you take in every little detail.
The final part of our tour was The Victorian Hall and I have, to be honest, this was my favourite part. This was because it was so unique, the whole section stood out to me the most. This was because I found the artworks a lot more interesting and this was because the artworks were inspired by different time periods (e.g. Middle Ages). However, there is one that I really loved the most, and that was Briton Rivière’s “Requiescat”. The painting seems to show a deceased knight, with his dog by his side. To me, this shows the idea of ‘loyalty’ which can be seen towards both the dog’s owner and beyond life itself. Truly showing that Dogs are ‘Man’s best friend’, this also shows the unconditional love between him and his owner, which we can reflect on with the pets that are a part of our lives.
Overall, this semester’s art gallery visit was amazing. I always look forward to them and can’t wait to go again.