Wednesday, 22 March 2017


This week I've dodged the hailstones and high winds by going into town to look at a couple of exhibitions. They could not have been more different. At the Victoria Gallery in Bath they are showing an amazing collection of photographs, a profoundly disturbing assemblage of images, many of them very well known.The background information was fascinating; two versions of Russian soldiers, the initial untouched print displayed above the one that was used, where plumes of smoke had been added to the sky for dramatic effect and the second watch on the soldier's wrist blocked out so that there could be no suspicion of looting!
The stories that the photos captured were heart-rending and when I came to the final image I reflected that virtually all this tragedy has taken place in my own lifetime and still continues. Carnage on the streets of London today. How strange that many of these photos can also be described as beautiful. One example is of a soldier during the Irish troubles photographed in closeup behind his shield. The shield is battered, scratched and scored so that the very large print appears marked in a painterly fashion. Another photograph, printed on a massive scale, is surely a vision of hell, soldiers caught in the instant of an exploding mine. The whole surface is a whirlwind of moving fragments. This exhibition is a must see if you are anywhere near Bath.
From there I walked up the street (clinging on to my brolly) to

to see
Quite a difference! People having fun, being silly, enjoying life. The detail above is from a painting of a country wedding. Once again the background information was very interesting and helpful, with a family tree to sort out which  Bruegel I was looking at! I was surprised that a painting on display of tulip gardens had once been owned by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Rossetti.