GEORGE NEWS - Members of the South Cape Association for Visual Arts (Scava) have started to reproduce paintings of the Old Masters for an exhibition at the George Museum that will be opened once lockdown is lifted.
Scava chairperson, Maura St. John, tells more.
Experiencing art through reproduction is no substitute for the real viewing of the original artwork in time and space.
Seeing the Mona Lisa in the ‘flesh’ without its protective bullet proof glass, would be an experience worth paying thousands of rands for – the ultimate experience for every art lover, in fact. In this affluent world viewing the ‘ultimate in art’ is spoiled by the hoards of tourists who throng the Louvre in Paris to take ‘selfies’ and at the end of the day the real art lover can only view from a ‘distance.
The next best thing is seeing a good reproduction – for free, here and up close.
You can do that once lockdown is over at the Art Gallery in the George Museum. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of dozens of quality pieces – all reproductions of famous works of the Old Masters.
You will see many stunning works of Vincent van Gogh, some of the most recognisable of Matisse – even Kandinsky is represented as well as El Greco. A lovely small painting, a reproduction of another favourite, the “Lacemaker” by VerMeer will be present as well as his “Girl with the Pearl Earring”.
There will be several Modialianis, two by Velasquez, the most important and famous of which is Las Maninas and it will be there full sized and beautiful, being painted by one of the best artists in the Garden Route. It will be a great pleasure to see copies of works done by Sorolla, the Spanish master of light. Monet’s water lillies will also be present, as are some very colourful paintings by Toulouse Lautrec.
A snowy landscape from Cézanne and another surprising addition is The Madonna by the Norwegian artist, Munch. Some of our local artists have chosen selected works of famous South African artists.
The most experienced artists are talented enough to keep true to the actual original, in colour, size and brush strokes. Other ‘modern’ artists are putting their own interpretation on the Old Masters and these will be a marvellous up-dated addition to the exhibition.
Most artists are encouraged by their art schools to paint reproduction of the works of the Old Masters as part of their art curriculum. It has always been the practice of art students to sit in art museums copying a favourite masterpiece. This can still be seen in the less crowded galleries of the Louvre in Paris as well as national art galleries throughout the world.
The original Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1503. It is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco di Zanobi del Giocondo. It became incredibly famous because it was stolen and the international search for this masterpiece grew its reputation and now it is recognised as the most famous painting in the world.
There are actually 9 versions of this famous work, all of which are in art museums. Most were probably painted by students of Leonardo and most definitely were the product of his studio under his supervision. Until modern times, most Old Masters' paintings were a collaborative task, all apprentices or students of studios contributing to the whole, under the leadership of the maestro himself.
Self-portrait of Leonardo
For the local exhibition copies of other recognised masterpieces are given special mention - a special expert drawing of the self-portrait of Leonardo, and the Rubens line drawing of his son. We are hoping to show a very special work by Van Gogh.
This alone is good reason for the public of George to mass into the art gallery of the George Museum to see for themselves the genius of Vincent and the genius of the artist to be able to express his art so expertly.
Garden Route artists invited to take part
This new venture will be put together at the request of Lorinda Hakimi, the manager of the George Museum. Various members of Scava are delighted to oblige. Work from non-members is also included and every artist on the Garden Route is invited to participate. Intake dates will be announced at the appropriate time.
Free viewing after Covid
People spend vast sums travelling the world to see great works in the ‘flesh’. Local artists are painting very good copies, you could hardly tell the difference. Once this Covid-19 pandemic is over, all viewing will be free.
The gallery will be open 6 days per week and a visit will be well worth the effort. I wish to thank artists Barbara Benjamin, Kala Combrink, Hein Botha, and all members of Scava for their hard work and additional expense putting this exhibition together. Contact me on 083 485 4177 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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