|St. Mark's Venice, 1908 Arthur Streeton [1867-1943]|
This is one of my favourite paintings in the collection of the Qld Art Gallery,
one that is almost always on display.
It is Impressionist in style and subject matter, a painting by an Australian artist of a fashionable middle class engaged in pursuit of leisure, part of the spectacle of city life.
It is Venice in the dying years of the Belle Epoque, the golden period in European social history before the First World War.
Sir Arthur Streeton trained in Melbourne and painted with a group known as the Heidelberg School, who were influenced by the French plein aire artists.
He is usually known for his Australian landscapes which are full of vitality, colour and light. His own distinctive way captured beautiful golden sunlight in white, creams and yellows.
After initial success, Streeton travelled to London via Cairo and Italy, where he painted this lovely picture.
His abilities with capturing the Australian sunlight were put to great effect in his version of St. Marks, basking in the morning sun.
Look at the strong diagonal line, as he sets up a black and white contrast - St. Marks VS the people in the shade.
People who remind us of the Parisian paintings of Pisarro, Manet or Monet, painted in a sketchy way, enjoying cafe life in the square.
And soon, we will be going there!
Well, not next week, but in a couple of months...
I am getting nothing done, because I am sitting around eating figs and reading travel books, making plans, and trying to choose hotels online.
I give myself a headache, going from map to google, from brochure to tripadviser.
I know all those wonderful works of art which I have admired from afar, studied at university and wrote essays about, are there for me to see at last!
Of course, we have to choose wisely. Time will be short and a lifetime would be required to see it all.
But the Red Cardinals are not getting any younger, so we have decided this year not to go visiting our beloved daughter and the Canadian grandsons, but to live the dream in Italy...
Got any travel tips for me?