Monday, January 21, 2008

Leningrad

It's on its way to London.

Did you see it in 'Guardian Weekend'? The article was titled 'Is this the most Beautiful modern painting in the World?'

When I saw this massive painting on a visit to Leningrad in the eighties it zapped my eyeballs and dropped my jaw! After a few minutes the Jaaazzfan thoughtfully rearranged my face.

I was already a Matisse fan - but to find him in communist Russia on the top floor of the Hermitage was a mind blowing surprise. Yes that's me in the photos - from that day my liking turned to semi obsession.
The trip to Leningrad (it reverted to St Petersburgh in 1991) was jointly organised by NUT and NUPE (now Unison) and fuelled by gallons of cheap vodka. We visited a school and sat in on perfect lessons.


In spite of the fact that this school was called A1, we were assured that all schools were exactly the same. This myth didn't survive the next day when we came upon a school trip of badly dressed, cheeky students smoking behind the teacher's back.

'The Dance' was commissioned in 1909 by Schukin - Matisse's Russian sponsor who almost lost his nerve when he saw the finished painting. In later years Matisse became much more conventional and painted interiors and reclining ladies (odalisques).


According to the Manchester Evening News it's now cheaper to travel Virgin Atlantic to NY than to go to London by train. So you'll have to go and see it for me.

I shall now throw off all my clothes and dance naked in the park. But - hold on - it's a bit chilly and a bit wet and I don't want to frighten the ducks. Do I?

KAZ

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23 Comments:

Blogger Oswegan said...

Love the Matisse.

12:22 am  
Blogger Rimshot said...

When you make it to Chicago, I shall host your trip through the Art Institute Museum. I can't find anyone here to go with me. :-(

MATISSE AND THE METHODS OF MODERN CONSTRUCTION
March 20–June 6, 2010
Overview:

In the career of Henri Matisse, the time between his 1913 return from Morocco and his 1917 departure for Nice witnessed the production of the artist’s most demanding, experimental, and enigmatic works: paintings that are abstracted and rigorously purged of descriptive detail, geometric and sharply composed, and dominated by the colors black and gray...

...The exhibition will include approximately 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints primarily 1913 to 1917 in order to consider fully Matisse’s meaning of the “modern construction.” In doing so, Matisse and the Methods of Modern Construction will be the first sustained examination devoted to the work of this important period.

2:36 am  
Blogger Roses said...

Matisse *whimper* *dribble*.

If only I wasn't bloody skint!

As someone who has been known to strip off in public for various art projects, I have no qualms about you dancing in the park.

I'd advise caution though. Check the grass for beer bottles and other sharps. You wouldn't want to step on anything nasty.

9:46 am  
Blogger garfer said...

Ah, a trip to the socialist paradise that was the USSR during ye olden dayes.

They used to do trips to Cuba and East Germany. I believe trips to tractor factories were compulsory in the latter.

Stalin didn't like Matisse because he didn't paint proper Socialist Realism stuff. Naked bazoombas had no place in the workers paradise.

10:01 am  
Blogger Murph said...

Youi look a bit chilly in both shots.

I don't know my arts from my elbow but there was a good discussion about this on Start The Week yesterday morning. I dozed off.

11:42 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Oswegan:
Good - I know it's not to everyone's taste.

Rimshot:
It's a date - by 2010 it will probably cost next to nothing to fly to the States.
Bugger the carbon footprint - for once!


Roses:
(mops up keyboard)
Did you hear on the radio last week that nude models (Italian I think) are demanding a pay increase? Could beat selling perfume.

Garfer:
Good thing Matisse sneaked in before the revolution.
Otherwise he may have had to paint fully clothed babooshkas instead.

Murph:
I was pixelated (yes I know that's your joke) in the indoor shot -blame the Vodka.
ER - do dogs have elbows?

12:43 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

Are you wearing a nun's habit?

Or impersonating Sister Wendy?

1:00 pm  
Blogger Mopsa said...

Of course you do. The ducks will love it; mine do.

6:34 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

mj:
That is my virtual disguise.
Sister Wendy only looked at the postcards.God knows what she made of it all - that painting looks like one of the pics on Infomaniac.

Mopsa:
Are you suggesting that you treat your ducks to naked frolickings ?
All in the best possible taste of course.

10:12 pm  
Blogger Hyde DP said...

The amount of stuff in the Hermitage is amazing - they say if you look at each thing for 1 minute it'll take you 11 years to see it all!
Our guide led us all over the place for about 3 hours and my feet were dropping off at the end of it. Amazing that with the exception of a few special galleries you could photograph everywhere but you weren't allowed to have a bottle of water with you!
I must get around to putting my pictures of the Hermitage online soon.
The entrance fee was over £30 each so I reckon the guide was anxious for us to get our money's worth.

11:55 pm  
Blogger Arabella said...

The Hermtage - I really really want to go there. Good job you're nice or I might have to hate you jealously!
Right now there's an exhib in New York of strange scenes set inside snow globes....how fantastic is that? I'll have to go. At the POW gallery in Chelsea - take a look.

12:30 am  
Blogger Arabella said...

i

12:31 am  
Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

I'm sure the ducks have seen much worse Kaz.... ha!.. I cannot comment on the art as I would like because of my ignorance on this subject. I know I found the picture pleasing, as I always find your posts.

12:40 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Gerald:
We didn't have a guide so just wandered around freely.
I remember reaching out to a massive malachite urn and the scary uniformed guide blowing his whistle.

Arabella:
I used to have snow globes in my kitsch collection - but nothing quite like that.
Most of the best Matisses are in the states - especially New York.

Thanks for the i - may need it someday.

Wom:
I'm sure that's true of the ducks in Pl@tt fields.
When in doubt say nowt! .. especially about arty stuff.

3:14 pm  
Blogger ziggi said...

"From Russia with Love" can just imagine you in one of those big furry hats, teacher my ar*s, you're a spy really aren't you?

6:36 pm  
Blogger tony said...

That Must Have Been A Cool Trip.Have You Been Back Since it has become Putingrad?
I have never been to Mother Russia (its on my "to do before i die list".)
I had been a few times behind the Iron Curtain (East Germany&Poland).The thing i notice since its become "free" is a collective Amnesia about the Past.Which i find strange (be the past good.bad.indifferent) you would think some lingering zeitgeist would exist?But no.The end of Communism became Year Zero for them.Anything that wasnt communism was automatically Good
I bet the teachers backs are still smoky.but the ciggies are a 100 times dearer! Ha! Market-Forces!

9:54 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Ziggi:
Well you don't really think I'm called a daft name like Kaz do you?
The birth certificate says 'Mata Hari'!

Tony:
I'm so glad that I saw Leningrad in the soviet days. Great for tourists - a bit grim for the residents. A few years later vodka was as difficult to find as Levis.

I still haven't been to Prague - is it too late?

10:30 pm  
Blogger Roses said...

I haven't been to Prague either. So...which to do first? Spain or Prague?

7:59 am  
Anonymous NiC said...

Mrs.LDNP has just bought tickets to this exhibition...I can't remember if I'm going or not though.

Never too late for Prague.

11:16 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Roses:
Weekend in Prague - proper hol in Spain - it's got everything.

NiC:
Perhaps you could ask - er no - silly idea.

re Prague - I keep hearing reports of binge drinking Brits on stag parties.
Sounds too much like Manchester on Saturday night.

11:58 am  
Anonymous NiC said...

I agree with only doing a weekend in Praha and sadly the last time we went there was some evidence of the binge drinking stags and hens. We were lucky enough to be being taken out by a Czech (or maybe Slovak) Mrs.LDNP used to work with so got taken to some slightly different bits.

Perhaps going early in the week rather than towards the weekend might miss the stags?

5:14 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Kev has loads of airmiles unused - so I think it'll be Prague.
Early in the week? No problem.

8:54 pm  
Blogger Pete said...

i had read this before i posted. and promptly forgot it!!

doh!!

9:59 pm  

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