November 2020

Ronnie Ireland

Our November virtual talk was given to us by Ronnie Ireland, on Rooms in Art. Ronnie is an artist and lecturer and his talk was titled Take 6: Interiors.

He had selected 6 pictures by various artists, in various centuries and situations which were concentrated in rooms, showing a variety of people, costumes, and styles.

The first was by Edouard Vuillard showing a highly decorated work room with a man appearing through the door and two women at their work. It was difficult to identify the people in this real room as the walls were so highly decorated and the emphasis was on pattern.

The second, by Jan Vermeer – Allegory of Painting – is set in an artists studio and is a stylised room

with a well-dressed artist seated at his easel, painting intersting details of maps, eagles on the light fitting as well as the woman by the window. Most of his paintings are set in a similar style with the light coming from a high window to the left of the picture.

Francis Bacon was the next artist. His 'In Memory of George Dyer' is a triptych, painted during their stay in a hotel room in a Paris hotel when Bacon was mounting an exhibition in that city. He's well known for paintings of lone figures who've come on hard times..

The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck was next and is an example of a set picture showing a rich merchant and his wife with all their wealthy accoutrements. Clothes made of the most expensive cfabrics and dyes, red velvet furnishings, mirrors and chandeliers were pointed out and it was spectulated that it amy have been a memorial painting as one or two indications led to that belief – the channdelier has two candles, one of which is snuffed, and a cherry tree in blossom outside the window, showing the brevity of life.

The fifth picture was by Van Gogh – his bedroom in Arles. He painted three versions of this and the red paint on the floor has faded. He moved there, full of hope of forming an artists colony, but his career only lasted ten years. He wrote a lot of letter sto his brother, Theo, describing this painting.

The final picture was 'Office at Night' by Edward Hopper. It shows a glimpse of a moment into an office in Manhatten, which is simple in style to allow the picture to give the message. His wife, Jo, kept a journal of his works.

It was a fascinating evening.

Diane Bell