Saturday, January 06, 2007

Holbein in England - and at Tate Britain

Last Sunday we visited the 'Holbein in England' Exhibition at Tate Britain. which presents the work of Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) carried out in England between 1526-8 and 1532-43. It's an exhibition which has received 'rave reviews' but it closes tomorrow.

Holbein was an extraordinarily talented draftsman and painter. The exhibition contains a large number of drawings and partly focuses on the process of producing a work - from drawing to painting and reunites many drawings with the painting which resulted. One special feature is that - for the very first time - one room contains Holbein's portraits of Henry VIII, his queen Jane Seymour and their son Edward VI (as the Prince of Wales) all in one room. It may never happen again.

As it was still the holiday period, "he who must not be bored while I sketch" and I agreed to go in the early morning and aim to arrive just after it opened at 10.00am. We duly arrived at 10.10am, walked in - and it was packed!!! I think maybe a few people had the same idea........

I got home only to find that Shirley (Paper and Threads blog) - who I drew with at the V&A on Thursday - and her husband were about three rooms behind us as they got there about 10.30am! On which basis one of my readers probably also visited it last Sunday and is in one of my sketches unbeknown to me!

(There was an interesting example of 'serendipidity' on Karen Jurick's blog recently. She had been visiting a museum at the same time as one of her readers and then discovered that she'd taken a photo of her - which resulted in a painting and a description of the incident here)

Anyway back to the Tate. my sketches are of people viewing the paintings and of the Tate Cafe. Pen and ink on site, notes made about colours and then coloured pencil added later. You may notice that the lady on the left in the first cafe sketch has a pencil in her hand and, judging by her head movements, she was also drawing! Maybe we should have a competition to all go to a museum and meet up 2 hours after the start time and see how many people have sketched one another without realising that they were part of the participating group! ;)

I used to have some of Holbein's drawings on the wall of my room at college - I just love looking at them. I've got the catalogue of the exhibition which is fascinating - and, as part of my plan for 2007, I'll be studying Holbein more when my drawing heads class resumes in mid-January. So more about Holbein later! But if you'd like to find out more as well I'm including links to resources made available by the exhibition below.

Do take a look at the rooms and admire the drawings - they're sublime.

[Update: Apologies to those who thought I was rewriting history yesterday! My inadvertent error has been corrected]

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  1. This sketchcrawl looks like so much fun. I got here from Shirley's blog. Love all your sketches!

  2. Thanks for the introduction to Holbein's drawings and the links. My virtual visit to the Tate was thrilling and I've ordered the catalog. The link to the essays was also much appreciated--I loved what Chuck Close said: "When a painter looks at another painter's work, even across the centuries such as this, it must be like when a magician performs in front of an audience of other magicians. The question arises - do they see the illusion, or do they see the device that made the illusion?" This fits into something I've been thinking about lately and now have a way of framing it -- it's the difference between seeing a technically excellent, pretty painting that I look at and see the "device" vs. one that moves me, that I resonate with heart and soul where I see the "illusion" -- the real magic, not the trick. That's what I want to strive for in my painting and now I have words for it. THANKS!

  3. There is something so exciting about these pen and coloured pencil sketches, Katherine! I think you are a genius with interiors. You are so good at suggesting complex spaces--- as here, in the Tate cafe. The deeper and more opaque colors in the sketch of two people are stunning.


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