Random Encounters With Various Centuries

Began the day (after yet another trip to the Greenwich council to sort Sarah out with school....still somewhat unresolved) with a trip to the National Gallery. Sarah decided she wanted to look at paintings from the 15th century. This is certainly an odd request for a 7 year old, but we complied. She really enjoyed moving through the rooms on that side of the gallery, looking at the various ways religious iconography was represented. Of course, being 7, any painting with a dog or a horse was immediately of interest. Also amusing was a 17th century peepshow from a Dutch painter whose name is escaping me. I couldn't help but think about how remarkably old and yet new this idea was, and was drawn back to an exhibit of Wanda Koop's work that I had seen over the winter at the WAG. The feeling of actual overt voyeurism in art, reminding me of the necessity of a level of voyeurism for the audience of any work of art...otherwise what is the creation for?

Another thing that stood out was a friend's comment, upon looking at some Rembrandts, that he seemed to "get lazy" as he got older. In fact, the relaxing of the lines in his later work signifies to me a more intense level of work; his ability to capture the human spirit evolved with the seeming devolution of rigidity in his lines. Just thoughts, I suppose.

On to class..today we had the Birkbeck portion of Scene Study, in which we discussed The Oresteia triology (Aeschelys). The discussion was interesting, but I found it frustrating for a couple reasons. First, we seemed to focus a lot on the plot details, and only at the very end got to the ideas within the play, never reaching the images through which these ideas are examined. Secondly, I sort of felt throughout the discussion that I wanted to speak and jump to these points, but could sense that this would not be well-received. The focus on things such as who made up Greek Audiences, etc, tended on the Anthropological for my tastes, today at least. I was itching to discuss the meat of the play, but didn't really get the chance. I am hoping the debate in this class is able to progress beyond; i would love a great discussion of the nature of Tragedy.