Seduced by Art…

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January 3, 2013 by skyebecks

Last week I took a trip to London and visited the Seduced by Art exhibition at The National Gallery. This was a fantastic exhibition and I would recommend it to anybody (although it does finish on Jan 20th!).

The exhibition presents work from photographers along side ‘Traditional’ art hundreds of years old. It shows how the photographers have drawn inspiration from classical artists and portrayed this in their own work.

One artist that I thought was amazing was Maisie Broadhead – She is doing exactly what I want to do in Major Project A and she is doing it beautifully.

On her website, you can view previous projects she has done and they all have a strong link with more traditional art. You can tell she has a fondness for Vermeer, as she has photographed her own interpretations of quite a few of his paintings.

In the exhibition, two pieces of her work were displayed. The first one I came across was a Video that she made with fellow artist Jack Cole, called ‘An Ode to Hill and Adamson’.

This video is sped up, so you can see a whole day’s events take place in a matter of minutes. It shows Broadhead and Cole recreating a picture that was taken by photographers David Hill and Robert Adamson in 1845. The picture is of a woman named Elizabeth Rigby who later became Lady Eastlake.

The film shows the artists creating a set that begins with a picture frame. They then build a scene behind the frame, which will become the picture. You see the model going through different stages from setting a position ‘in the frame’, to changing clothes, to having her hair and make up done.

The team then build a wall around the frame, paint it and then add stencils to make it look like old-fashioned wallpaper. A light is then put in front of the wall and another frame is also hung on the wall, with a table underneath it. These objects are all at the edge of the shot, so we do not see the full objects. We can however see that they are there and tell what they are and it gives us a feeling that we are looking at a wall in a room, rather than something that has been freshly constructed.

The film ends with the wall and picture complete. The girl is so still that you think it is a Photograph and then right at the end she winks and smiles.

I absolutely loved this film! I watched it at least half a dozen times whilst I was there. I found it so inspiring and so very clever! I urge all of you to click on the link right now and watch it at least twice!

The second piece of work Broadhead has in the exhibition is a large photograph called ‘Keep them Sweet’

Keep Them Sweet by Maisie Broadhead

Image curtosy of:

This is a stunning picture and as it is large in size, you can see every deliberate detail. This picture is an interpretation of a painting by Simon Vouet called ‘Allegory of Wealth’ (1640).

Allegory of Wealth by Simon Vouet 1640

Image curtosy of:

The picture is an accurate portrayal of the original painting, but Broadhead has added her own personal touches, to make it hers. Firstly, the necklace was made by Maisie herself as she is a trained jewellery maker. It is made up of silver beads and edible candy beads – hence the title ‘Keep them Sweet’.

The child with the angel’s wings is wearing a modern day nappy and there is a child’s book open on the floor – looks like spot the dog to me! Modern day touches remind us that we are looking at a picture of this age, even if at first it appears to be a historical picture.

The other thing that I love and I can relate to is that Broadhead uses family in her portraits. The woman in this picture is her sister and the children are her own daughter and her niece. In my pictures for Major Project A, I have used members of my own family as that is personal to me. I love how Maisie Broadhead does exactly the same thing.


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