Saturday, July 10, 2021

Lockdown art #2: Lowry and VE Day

Art UK this week posted a review of The ten most popular artworks on Art UK during lockdown on its website - during the period between 24th March and 14th May.

The top ten paintings are NOT what you might have expected.

As I read through the list it did not help that #10 was The Great Fire of London, 1666 by Jan Griffier I (c.1652–1718)- with the reminder that fire tends to follow pestilence!!

However as I progressed down the list - past the painted whale eardrum (which featured in featured in Yorkshire Museum's Curator Battle on Twitter for the creepiest exhibit!) - we finally got to a sublime painting

When you're in the third lockdown, what do you yearn for?

The end of course!  Plus people!

The bunting also seems quite apposite for this weekend....

The TOP painting was VE Day by LS Lowry (1887-1976) - a painter much loved by the British public. I've always thought his paintings with lots of people were the most loves of all - and that's in part because although he's often described as painting "matchstick people", his people are in fact individuals who are doing things, conversing and engaging in activities. They are in fact the very opposite of stick people!

The painting belongs to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery - in Argyle Street, Glasgow - and is described as follows

Thousands of ant-like people are seen thronging the streets of this city to celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe. The industrial buildings are enlivened by flags and bunting. Lowry manages to convey the lively atmosphere of the scene by including so many people, painting them in a very simple manner. Lowry was famous for his 'matchstick' people and his townscapes showing factories and mills. Many of his pictures were inspired by things he actually saw in Manchester, Salford and other towns in the north of England. Few artists painted ordinary people going about their everyday lives so Lowry's pictures became very popular.

There's something very weird about the Kelvingrove website. It doesn't have its own website and when you click the collections page I get an error message. Which is a pity as I was trying to create a link to the artwork on its website - assuming they include it for public view.

Feel free to suggest more artists and artworks as examples reflecting how artists have responded to lockdown.

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