Matisse’s ‘Still life with a Magnolia’ (1942), and its apparent Simplified drawing is nothing of the sorts. Rather, the painting, that took more than 12 years to complete, is not only a revolutionary way to represent life, it is also representative of Matisse’s underlying idea that colour possesses great healing powers and that art has the strength to communicate to the soul of man in mysterious ways. A man that believed in the greatness of beauty despite all the tragedies he lived through, he infamously, and very correctly, claimed: ” There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”…. just one of the many significances embodied in this little masterpiece.
“Ocean waves, self willed waves, whether at rest or play, how full you are of wondrous life! Laughing in the sun, tossing back the sky’s reflection, heaving, throwing breakers at the world, in your watery wild wilderness, I find your quiet whisper sweet, caressing, love-filled; your restless murmuring I hear, your prescient moans. In the wild element, gloomy or glad, in your quiet, blue night, guard the secret you have taken. Not a treasured ring-gift, did I drop into your swell. Not a precious stone, did I bury in your deeps. No, at a fateful moment, lured by mysterious delight, all my soul, my living soul, I buried on your bed. ” Ivan Aizazovsky
The mysteries and depths of Aivazovsky’s soul…. as wide and as encompassing as the vast ocean he so much loved and admired.
The passage of the Jews, Ivan Aivazovsky.
The museum was designed by Portuguese architect Siza Vieira, and collects various contemporary works by many international artists ( Anselm Kiefer, Anish Kappor, Richard Serra, Sugimoto, and others). I profoundly enjoyed the works, specially the individual site specific installations.
One of the things I loved most about yesterday’s exhibition ( a collection of Almada Negreiros works) was the diversity of interests and means of expression that the artist possessed. He was both compelled to painting in oils, and drawing in many different materials. He loved photography as much as he did creating with his bare hands. He Searched for the soul, but also loved understanding and expressing social gatherings. He wrote and illustrated his own ideas. He loved geometry and the human body, colour and black and white. He recreated dreams and at same time was inspired was reality itself. It is indeed quite admirable and rare to see such a diverse quest in life last throughout their lifetime. We see this in some great artists…. like Picasso. Others it is the opposite: they develop one form of expression and keep it ( such as Van Gogh or Rothko). But I think this constant exploration in new forms is definitely a lesson for us all to learn…. to never stop exploring and searching. Ever.
Just came back from the opening of the Almada Negreiros exhibition at Gulbenkian. An amazing Portuguese artist, whose artworks are deeply influenced by the soul and by the beauty and simplicity of drawing. Will write more about him tomorrow. But for now, some pictures of the exhibition.