Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pitmen Painters and the Idea # 187 is The Baroque

Play poster
On Saturday we went to see Pitmen Painters at Richmond on Thames theatre it's a play based on a true story about the Ashington Group of Miner Artists (not Minor Artists) .
 Lee Hall  who wrote Billy Elliot got the idea after reading an article in the Guardian  and then buying the book "Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984" by William Feaver .
Pitman painting
The story is  about a group of miners who pursued  an interest in art under the auspices of the WEA their teacher finding they had little to inform them of art got them to paint and the experience was life changing for them.

Of course the play uses quite a bit of artistic licence, reducing the number in the group and creating a (female) patron who offers the most talented of the miners a way out but the play was well realised and a strong message came through of the power of art and working class solidarity.
(Note: Nice performance by the Understudy Jennifer Gabriele in the role of Helen Sutherland on Saturday 10th August)

Big Idea 187 is The Baroque

Conversion of St Paul Santa Maria del Popolo,
If someone asks you what Baroque means you've got a couple of choices when you answer - one possibility is the irregularly shaped pearls but chances are though they're really on about a big art movement ..which relates to   an elaborate style of music, architecture, and art of the 17th and 18 centuries-  The Baroque style or period.

From around 1600  to 1750 the was the Baroque epoch in European visual arts, encompassing architecture such as the Palace of Versailles and the art of artists like Caravaggio whose  Conversion of St Paul Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome  (1601) is such a fine example of the genre.

Palace of Versailles (near Paris)
Originating in Italy the Baroque arts falls into the period of Counter-Reformation led by the Catholic church against the Protestants. Much of the Baroque art, reflects the reaction to the dominant Mannerism, as well as the social turmoil of the time. According to the Council of Trent and the Catholic church artworks should be a clear, intelligible subject realistically interpreted in order to stimulate piety. This was part of the reason that the artwork turned towards naturalism, becoming emotionally engaging and intense.
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