• josutherstphotography

Informing Contexts – Venice Art Galleries

Whilst on a trip to Venice, I ventured into many art galleries and museums to view the work.

Figure 1: Sutherst 2017


Figure 2: Sutherst 2017


Figure 2 shows many textures, colours and patterns of Murano glass.  The range of colours, shapes and translucency really appeal to me.

Figure 3: Sutherst 2017


Figure 4: Sutherst 2017


Figures 3 and 4 are the two parts of a work by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).  The etchings are called The Dream and Lie of Franco and were made by Picasso beginning January 8th 1937. This eighteen-scene narrative is a satirical work designed as comic strips and expressed Picasso’s outrage against war and the regime of Generalissimo Franco.  Picasso felt war was senseless and horrific. When originally published, they were accompanied by a poem by Picasso that described his grief and horror the undefended Basque town, Guernica, that was bombed by the Nazis in 1937.


These etched versions are printed in reverse, and as Picasso worked on the originals from left to right, these versions should be read from right to left.  Franco is depicted as a monstrous grinning figure in the first image top right hand side of figure 3.  The bull in the images represents Spain.  The last four images in figure 4 were added on 7th June 1937, just 6 weeks after Guernica was bombed.

I am drawn to the rawness and the layout of this work.  The use of symbolism is clear and engaging in this work.

Figure 5: Sutherst 2017


This pencil drawing drew my eye from across the corridor where it is displayed in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  It is an untitled work from July 20th 1938, by Yves Tanguy.


I was drawn to the addition of the feather to the artwork.  It adds a layer of narrative to the image and makes it a very tactile piece of work. This may be an idea I return to as I go through my MA course.


The lack of additional colour makes the image quite intriguing and reminds me how interpretations can be dependent on the colours chosen by the artist of photographer.  Without colour, the image open itself up to many more options of interpretation, in my opinion.

Figure 6: Sutherst 2017


Figure 7: Sutherst 2017


Figures 6 and 7 are both statues celebrating the male nude.  I am interested in them as I have a male nude shoot planned and they present interesting poses for consideration.  Figure 6 depicts Pugile (Boxer), 1939 by Napoleone Martinuzzi and figure 7 is Uomo che face (Man Who Stays Silent), 1899 by Adolfo Wildt. Both were displayed at the Ca’ Pesaro.  Both remind me of life model poses and will be useful to refer to during my shoot.


Figure 8: Sutherst 2017


Figure 8 shows just the top part of a sculpture by Arturo Martini.  The sculpture is Il Buffone (The Fool), 1913-1914.


This reminded me of Spencer Murphy’s portraits which are often taken against a plain background.  I often shoot against a plain background and I like this effect for display in a gallery context and will consider this further moving forwards.


Figure 9: Sutherst 2017


Figure 10: Sutherst 2017


Figure 9 shows a shell that has been decorated with a pretty erotic image. I found this image when my colleagues and I stopped for a snack and a drink whilst walking around exploring Venice.  It was placed on an antique cash register and it was quite striking.


The image itself is not inspiring to me, but the medium on which it has been produced does.  I am really interested to consider all medium for presentation of my work and this will help when I consider that as part of my work.


Figure 10 is an abstract crop of a sculpture by Gianfranco Meggiato.  The sculpture is part of his ‘Genesis’ exhibition at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice. The exhibition has more than 50 sculptures.  the scale of some is truly monumental.


I particularly like the contrast of materials and the colours he has chosen to make this sculpture, and the blue reflection in the central ball.

Figure 11 shows the work Couple Zoomorphe, 1933 by Max Ernst.


I am drawn to the darkness of the image and the struggling figures, which include the ever present birdlike form that so many of Ernst’s works possess.

Figure 11: Sutherst 2017


The other figures are vaguely humanoid, but the viewer’s imagination is left to interpret Ernst’s intent somewhat.


The dream-like (or nightmarish) forms in this work are open to interpretation.

In my practice, I like to leave some of the interpretation to the viewer.  By truly engaging with the image, we can all gain something meaningful from the scene in front of us.


Venice was a fantastic place to visit and I have come away with many sources of inspiration that will take me quite a while to discern into my practice.  Exciting times ahead.

#March2017 #Venice

Recent Posts

See All

Informing Contexts – The Viewer

“Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” – David Lynch REFERENCE Lynch, D. From BrainyQuote. (2017). Photography Quotes – BrainyQuote. [o

Informing Contexts – Next Steps

Having resolved this body of work, I am off in a slightly different direction as the next module begins. Picking up on comments made when I presented the naked portrait a few weeks ago, that I photogr

©2019 by Jo Sutherst Photography - Critical Research Journal. Proudly created with Wix.com