Albrect Dürer

I’m watching the documentary ‘Ego:The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits‘ on BBC 4 and what a wonder it is. It begins with the now obligatory nod to the Selfie Revolution and today’s all pervading narcissism.

It then moves onto one of the most glorious self-portraits made by an artist ever.

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The self-portrait by Albrect Dürer painted in 1500 is like the ultimate hipster having let his top-knot down for a vain, self-conscious mirror selfie to post on a famous ‘swipe right’ site. His golden curls are tight and precise, draped evenly over his shoulders, like a pyramid, like his capital ‘A’ & ‘D’,  his initials with a cropped crown. He is dressed in silk and fur with the shadow of the latest iPhone just peeking from his hand. The self-portrait is strong and confident and face on to the viewer, yet the eyes are looking over the viewers left shoulder. Like the viewer is less important than the reflection of the artists’ image in the mirror. Dürer is Rock-God and I am his ultimate groupie. Shocking in his time for the likeness to Jesus. This painting is mesmerising and I had almost forgotten how much I love him and his work. A consummate draughtsman and printmaker, one of the artists I had to study during my traditional art school training. Revisiting an artwork, or even an artist, ensures you revisit yourself and your own practice, and ultimately grow & develop  that practice  further.

In addition to the image above, the documentary, presented by Laura Cumming (the Observer’s Art critic), looks at 5 centuries of Self-Portraiture and there are many examples of fine work. In particular, the closer look at the variety of Rembrandt’s self-portraits and her visit to the Vasari Corridor, in the Uffizi Museum, which houses the largest collection of Artist’s Self-Portraits in the world.

The link to BBC iPlayer is only live for a further 23 days and please be aware that you may not be able to access this programme from outside the UK.

 

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Here goes…2017!!

​Things always get worse before getting better…lets cross fingers that was it, yes 2016!

Bloody terrible. A whole year of bad news & humanitarian disasters.

But is it healthy to dwell on the negative? Especially if these terrible disasters haven’t occurred to us? Should we bemoan the death of celebrities, who we do not know personally, when people are really suffering in the world today?

My year was actually really good!  My celeb heroes might have died but none of my personal heroes did, I count that a blessing, though I feel for their families & loved ones. I also have a roof over my head & food on my table for my children & even managed treats this year. I saw my distant loved ones, some more than once & due to the miracles of science hope to see some of them again real soon. 

So many people in the world are displaced, cold & hungry or dead due to the machinations of the rich, powerful & greedy. I am grateful that, for now, that doesn’t include any of mine. We shall make what we will out of 2017, but let’s not forget those who our powerless to do the same. 

Find your cause.

Take a stand.

Get angry.

Speak up & speak out.

Smile.

Be kind.

Lend a hand.

Step out of your echo chamber.

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As Chamas

A minha Madeira.
As chamas do meu coração,
Só lagrimas tenho
Para as extinguir.

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Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

 

My response to the wicked wildfires that took control of the Island of Madeira in Aug 2016, my birthplace & spiritual home. The result of arsonists.

Madeira’s Laurisilva forest is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Funchal, its capital city, was settled in the early part of the 15th Century.

 

Translation:

My Madeira.

The flames of my heart,

Only tears do I have 

To extinguish them.

 

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