Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Canaletto- Invented by An English Man

One day,I had some free time and went to the National Gallery,to get a deeper and broader understanding of artwork and discovered a fine painter,Giovanni Antonio Canal or better known as Canaletto.By this time, I had been to The National Gallery at least five times, but I felt a bit empty, because I never really got to learn in depth about any of the artists and my knowledge felt very superficial.

That day,as I left my house,I made a determination to go to The National Gallery and hear the Artist Lecture that takes place everyday at 1pm.That particular day, they were lecturing on Caneletto Canaletto an 18th Italian Rococo Era Painter, 1697-1768.What I discovered is that although at first glance, Canaletto is not really my style of painter, usually I like painters that use vibrant colors and have a whimsical flare.Amongst the Impressionist painters, I enjoy Renoir and a bit of Monet and Pissaro.I also adore Chagall and love Toulouse Lautrec just as much that he was an eccentric artist as for his art.I deplore Picasso and think he's over rated.He was also a first class wanker and woman abuser, but that's neither here nor there. But, to me, the Impressionist have always been a bit over rated.I enjoy looking at artwork from different centuries, besides the Nineteenth or Twentieth. I am not big on Modern Art. OK, well, I guess I have my opinions about Art.) I enjoy the artist from the eighteenth century and especially from the Baroque Rococo period, like Fragonard or Boucher( See: French in London blog).Upon seeing Canaletto, for the first time,I didn't fancy him initially at first glance. However, upon studying him in depth, I found his style of painting and legacy to be quite intriguing. And, thanks to the lecture which helped me get a deeper look at the artist and man, instead of being a shallow purveyor of art, I got to learn a few things and here would like to share them with you.

In the 18th Century,the love affair between Venice and the English really got going with the popularization of The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour, would consist of a classical education, which primary value lay in the exposure both to the cultural artefacts of antiquity and the Renaissance and to the aristocratic and fashionable society of the European continent. A Grand Tour could last from several months to several years. French and German gentry were also inclined to go on the Grand Tour, as it was called, south to Italy. But the British were especially enthusiastic, and Venice was a mandatory destination. Venice, being a city of pleasure, of carnivals, masked balls, and music. That was perhaps one reason why it became fashionable to buy a view or set of views to recall this delightful place. paintings portraying the grandeur of Venice became popular at the dawn of modern tourism. British visitors on The Grand Tour created a demand for view paintings of celebrated sights and Venetian festivals to take home with them as souvenirs. Many gentlemen – so-called milordi – sought the works of Canaletto.

An agent -an Italianised Englishman named Joseph Smith, who was ready to negotiate a price with the artist, pack up the pictures and dispatch them to Britain.He sold much of his collection to George III( the Mad King George who was said to have gone mad because he had porphyry,King from June 1738 - January 1820), creating the bulk of the large collection of Canaletto's owned now by the Royal Collection.Smith also bought Canaletto's work himself, so prolifically that when he finally sold his collection to George III, it contained 53 paintings and 140 drawings by that artist - the greatest array of Canaletto's work in the world.

Canelleto was such a skilled painter and painted the minutia of daily life in Venice in such great detail that art historians agree he used what is called a (the Mad King George who was said to have gone mad because he had porphyry,4 June 1738- 29 January 1820) camera obscura.A Camera obscura is a box fitted with a lens at one end and a mirror on the other that reflects an image onto a canvas.

His finest work is perhaps The Stonemason's Yard (1729)and the topic of the lecture that lovely afternoon at The National Gallery.

His views went beyond topographical accuracy to capture the poetic play of light, water and architecture, unique to the experience of Venice. Prompted by declining tourism, in 1746 Canaletto moved to England, where he painted views of London, Oxford and other cities as well as the country seats of his patrons.

Eton College (1754)

Venice: The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day from Two Venetian Ceremonial Scenes

A Regatta on the Grand Canal from Two Venetian Ceremonial Scenes

Canaletto's views always fetched high prices, and even as early as the 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs vied for his grandest paintings. The record price paid at auction for a Canaletto is £18.6 million for View of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto, set at Sotheby's in London in July 2005.

The Los Angeles County Museum houses Canaletto. Believe it or not.

Piazza San Marco, Looking South and West (1763)

Some Other Interesting Articles on Canaletto:
-A Gallery of Canaletto Work
- See More Canaletto at The Royal Collection
-How Canaletto was Invented by an Englishman
-Canaletto and The Grand Tour

More Tales and Adventures in Sabrina's London Diaries

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Muslim Women in London

When, I first came to London I was astonished and surprised by the enormous Muslim population. It is a delicate subject for Americans because so many Iraqi's and Muslims hate Americans. Well, many people all over the world hate Americans,thanks to Bush. And, I am so relieved we have Obama in office.But, living in a Bayswater(5 Minutes to Notting Hill),a big Arabic community, I want to be the first to bridge the gap of peace. Where I frequent, the internet cafes,hoteliers, restaurants, cleaners,store owners all are owned by Iraqis. I have never been in contact with so many Iraqis and Arabs in my life.I just smile and tell them I am American, and little by little, they know who I am, and I have become friends with many of them. They are very kind and warm hearted people, and they always are very nice to me. Once in a while,the Iraqi owner of the Internet Cafe I frequent says some subtle snide comment about Americans, just enough to sting slightly.I take it with a grain of salt and just think whatever. Bush made a mess out of Iraq and maybe he doesn't like Americans because of that.I am not sure. But, I can't blame him. But,what I am sure of is that I want to debunk any kind of ideas people have about Americans.That we are all arrogant, ignorant, pushy,loud,and stupid.So, everywhere I go I try to act as an Ambassador and try to be on my best behavior.Well, I am not a saint, but I do try to remember how I behave is a Cause and it will have it's effects.

I have been fascinated by Arabic culture for a long time. I think it started with my Belly Dance Classes that I took at Berkely and the beautiful exotic Arabic music my Teacher Nana used to bring to class. I want to know much about the Arabic culture as possible.I am learning a bit of Arabic everywhere I go. After all, Spanish is about 60% Arabic. All the words beginning with al in Spanish are Arabic derived. After all,The Moors were in Spain for 700 years and with them left their legacy of culture,architecture and language. If your Spanish, chances are you probably have Arabic blood and likely to be Jewish as well, since many Jews stayed during the Inquisition.

I often find the women dressed in full hijab amazing, how do that do it. It's written in the Koran, that women are supposed to cover their head, because they don't want to tempt men. I don't understand how women do it, in full hijab, in the hottest of summers in Saudi Arabia. Speaking of Saudi Arabia, I was befriended a woman from Saudi. She was the most interesting and intelligent woman I met. She was a French translater in Saudi Arabia and originally of Lebanese descent. She told me,"Sabrina, go to Lebanon, go to Palestine, go to Egypt, go to Hell, but dont' go to Saudi Arabia." Apparently,she told me that the women are still treated very badly.It doesn't come to much surprise to me.I have always heard that,but hearing it firsthand from the horses mouth had more resonance to me. According to her,if you want to get a divorce from your husband Saudi Laws make it very difficult. She said,"Your husband could be a firstrate abusive jerk, and STILL may have a very hard time divorcing him.

Will the Laws in the 21 century in Islam ever favor women?
Are Islamic Women content with these laws? Some, I spoke to said they were.
Some said they get better treatment and more respect in Saudi Arabia than they would in London. I spoke to a few Islamic women and they ALL concurred that the Koran considers women very precious, which is why they need to cover themselves with the full hijab.In Saudi Arabia, they are not allowed to drive. The men have to drive them everywhere. I heard from one man that in Saudi Arabia the population of women is much higher than of the men, and that if the women were given power that eventually they would end up taking over the country.Anyway, I am not an authority, and I am just going by hearsay. I would not be able to tell you my real thoughts on Saudi culture,until I visited Saudi Arabia myself and learnt about the culture firsthand.

A Market on Edware Road

A Family Man shopping for food on Edware Road

A Muslim woman walking through a thick crowd by medieval London Bridge Horror museum

For some reason, I am not supposed to be taking any photos of Muslim women. So, all of these had to be taken very quickly. If your Muslim, and reading this, please don't be offended, this blog is meant to act as a breach of peace and to build understanding between cultures. And, hopefully trust and friendship.

This is my Gorgeous Goddess Dance Teacher Nana Candelaria

More Tales and Adventures in Sabrina's London Diaries

Friday, 12 February 2010

Sabrina's London Diaries Update

Dear Beloved Subscribers !

I wanted to inform you that I have been extremely busy and
travelling around a bit. However, I will be continuing this blog, until infinitum.
I have so many blogs in my drafts and my head that can last until eternity.

Some articles you can expect in Sabrina's London Diaries in the future are:
1) Dating in London- Where's My Mark Darcy
2) More Fashion Blogs
3) What I love about The English
4) The Painter Canaletto
5) Arabic London
6) The Bloody French in London

Stay Tuned and Keep Enjoying London !

love, Sabrina Grace-

More Tales and Adventures in Sabrina's London Diaries


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