Newsletter - Autumn 2016
Royal Society of British Artists Annual show at the Mall Galleries
Once again, in partnership Wymondham High Academy, the picture chosen by Norwich DFAS has been has been selected for exhibition at the 'Rising Stars' Exhibition in February and then at the RBA's annual show at the Mall Galleries from Tuesday 21 March to Saturday 1 April 2017. This prestigious event organized by NADFAS House takes place every year and we have had entries selected from Wymondham on three previous occasions.
Megan Elliott's Norwich Cathedral, was chosen by Fay Gammer and Madeline Weston from the school show organized by Neil Moulton, the head of art, at the end of the summer term and reflects the high standard of work at the school.
Special Interest Day November 2016
Those of us who attended the Special Interest Day at the Great Hospital were rewarded with a trinitarian treat of words and images. The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert presented us with three quite splendid lectures on the'Incomparable 15th century Artists of Bruges'.
In his first lecture, romantically entitled 'Bankers, Burgundy and Pirates', he introduced us to the political, economic and religious background in which the great artists of the Northern Renaissance worked. With his usual mix of humour, insight and knowledge, he painted with broad brush strokes a picture of Bruges in the 15th century – a city of great wealth and prosperity, whose economic and social life was dominated by powerful guilds, merchants and bankers; whose political life was dominated by the Dukes of Burgundy who under Philip the Good had moved their capital from Dijon to Bruges; and whose cultural life was dominated by the church and the deeply held religious beliefs of the day which centred on the celebration of the Mass.
These were the circumstances which together encouraged and influenced the work of the great 15th century artists in and around Bruges. Rich patrons, like the Dukes of Burgundy and successful bankers like Tommaso Portinari, and Nicholas Rolin commissioned paintings for their guild chapels and churches as well as for their own devotional 'Book of Hours'. Many fine altar pieces were painted together with an increasing number of portraits, some of which were unfortunately lost to unscrupulous sea pirates on their journey to foreign ports. Artists like Jan van Eyck, Rogier Van de Weyden, Hans Memling, Van de Goes and Robert Campin (Van de Weyden's tutor), pioneered new techniques with oil paints and fine brushwork to bring about a new realism in their work – a new way of looking at the world, which differed from their Italian Renaissance colleagues.
In the following two lectures, Christopher examined in detail the way in which these artists, especially Jan van Eyck and Rogier Van de Weyden, were breaking new ground with their use of colour, symbols, realism and landscape. In particular, we studied at some length Jan van Eyck's fine Ghent Altarpiece 'Adoration of the Mystic Lamb', his 'Madonna with Canon van der Paele', and the 'Madonna of Chancellor Rolin' And in the last lecture of the day, among other things, we were treated to a masterful exposition of Rogier Van de Weyden's 'Descent from the Cross', which is arguably the finest of all the Flemish religious paintings.
This was a day well spent. - spent in the company of a stimulating lecturer, surrounded by copies of great paintings, and in the appropriate historic setting of the Great Hospital which is not unlike that of 15th century Bruges where these incomparable Northern Renaissance artists lived and worked. And it was a good lunch!
Something to look forward to -
Paul Nash at the Sainsbury Centre, 8 April to 20 August 2017
Paul Nash, whose work we looked at during the lecture in October, The Art of the South Coast, is the subject of a major exhibition at Tate Britain and is going to arrive at the Sainsbury Centre next Spring. Spanning a lifetime's work from his earliest drawings to his iconic war time paintings, the exhibition will explore Nash's central role in the development of modern British art.
Something to see now –
Art and Life in the Pacific, Sainsbury Centre until 12th February 2017
I suspect very few of our members will ever get to Fiji, an archipelago of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific and a British Colony between 1874 and 1970. So do not miss the exhibition currently showing at the Sainsbury Centre, the first exhibition of its kind to bring works from Fiji Museum to this country alongside remarkable pieces in British Collections such as the British Museum, Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford.
You will get an insight into the culture, history and traditions of Fiji, seeing stunning sculptures, textiles including paper clothes made from bark cloth from mulberry trees, ceramics, ivory and shell regalia.
A highlight of the exhibition is an 8 metre long Fijian canoe commissioned for the exhibition and made entirely of wood and coir cord with no metal components.
Exhibition curator Professor Steven Hooper says "An important aspect of this exhibition is that the many exhibits on display are not presented as 'ethnographic specimens' or 'illustrations' of Fijian culture, but as works of art in their own right as worthy of attention as any art tradition in the world."
Our most senior member
Joan Henderson, a long standing member of Norwich DFAS, achieved the age of 100 in June this year, and was presented by a bouquet by Liz Pierce at the June lecture to celebrate. Joan attends regularly and in spite of impaired sight, she very much enjoys listening to the lectures. This news was featured, with a photograph, in the Autumn NADFAS Review. It would be interesting to know if she was the oldest member of any NADFAS group.
Young Arts project 2016 - Norfolk & Norwich Festival Open Studios
Our Young Arts project this year was to make a donation of £1,520 to Norfolk & Norwich Festival Open Studios work with schools in Norfolk in 2016. The schools programme encourages young people to create their own artwork and appreciate the work of more skilled and experienced artists. The scheme is open to schoolchildren of all ages from primary through to GCSE and covers schools across Norfolk. The experienced artists involved in the demonstrations vary, but last year their art forms included: painter, jewellry maker, stone engraver and paper cutting artist.