Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Study of sunlight

I’ve just been to the Sir John Soane Museum to see The Tragic Genius of Joseph Michael Gandy. It is a small exhibition (free entry) prompted by a new Brian Lukacher book, Joseph Gandy: An Architectural Visionary in Georgian England. Here are some links to articles about the exhibition: Christopher Woodward, Deyan Sudjic, Kevin Jackson.

Joseph Gandy, cut away perspective drawing of the Bank of England as a ruin, 1830

Joseph Gandy (1771-1843) is probably most famous for being the first European artist to depict contemporary architecture in the form of future ruins, in his paintings of Soane’s designs for the Bank of England. In focusing on Gandy rather than the work of Soane, the exhibition reveals the latter’s qualities (and defects) as a painter in his own right. Perhaps the most interesting quality of his work is the varied use of light to create atmosphere. Soane called the magical light effects in Gandy’s architectural interiors ‘lumière mysterieuse’, and the exteriors often employ soft warm light that flatters Soane’s designs. The exhibition has a few small landscape watercolour sketches, some of which are exercises in light effects. One of them, for example, a Study of sunlight (March 1827) includes a note describing a parhelion: ‘this Phenomenon was an inverted Iris its colour vivid & Pure’.

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