Look at the image to the right and consider how you might work with unusual or multiple viewpoints. Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format, etc. Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.
I can’t see why should we be limited ourselves to contemporary artists. For sure, we can still learn from old masters’ pieces!
Josep Vila Costa (1953 -) Spanish artist. Website http://www.costavila.com/. Most of his paintings are busy and fussy and quite traditional genre composition but interesting use of colours and brush works.
Interior I (1977), an etching and drypoint print on paper by Richard Artschwager from the Tate Collection. Interior I plays with our expectations about particular types of media : it was based on a magazine photograph, but the exaggerated brush-strokes on the surface echo painterly gestures. The room showed in an angle which gave a sense of three dimensionality. That is more credit to the original reference photo than to the copier. I like the strong lines and almost Impressionism handling of the very traditional medium. However, it would be even better if there are some of tonal variation.
Duncan Grant (1885 – 1978) was a British painter and designer of textiles, pottery and theatre sets and costumes. The Kitchen (1902), oil paint on canvas from the Tate Collection, was painted when Grant was 17. The colours are earthly and limited yet rich and harmony. The shadows are not all consistent and the perceptive are not all correct. However, it showed his talent in young age. It is encouraging to look at early works of any artists to see how far they had progressed. Not all artists were born geniuses. Early drawings of Vincent van Gogh were another good example.
Girl at the Piano (1940), oil paint on canvas from the Tate Collection is a more matured work of Duncan Grant.
Patrick Caulfield (1936 – 2005) was a British painter and printmaker known for his bold canvases. His figures were often flat interplaying with negative spaces.
Interior with a Picture (1985-6), Acrylic on canvas from the Tate Collection. The image is a reinterpretation of an illustration of Meal by Candlelight by the German seventeenth century painter Gottfried von Wedig (1583-1641). Patrick Caulfield’s investigation into the nature of pictorial representation was staged within a highly contrived but spatially logical composition. However, during the mid to late 1980s, as is evident in Interior with a Picture, the stabilising element of rational pictorial space was discarded, and varied textures and a uniformly warm palette were introduced.
The black descriptive line, which had been the primary means of defining form and space in earlier paintings, is used sparingly in Interior with a Picture. For most of the picture Caulfield uses flat blocks of colour to suggest form and space. Directly below this highly illusionistic passage of painting is an oval motif, perhaps a mirror frame, formed from three thick strands of acrylic paint squeezed from the paint tube onto the canvas. The dialogue between two-dimensional, naturalistic representation and three-dimensional reality is a common theme in Caulfield’s work during this period, and part of his wider exploration of the artifice of painting.
Caulfield’s paintings explore alternative ways of picturing the world. After Lunch (1975) was one of his earliest works to combine different styles of representation. In this case, what appears to be a photomural of the Château de Chillon hanging in a restaurant is depicted with high-focus realism, contrasting with the cartoon-like black-outlined imagery and fields of saturated colour of its surroundings. Caulfield deliberately makes the relationship between these varying representational methods uneasy and ambiguous, so that the picture appears more real than the everyday world around it.
There are some similarity between the two painting.
Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864 – 1916) was a Danish painter. He painted portraits and landscapes, but is best known for the interiors he painted of his house at Strandgade 30 in Copenhagen. His palette was a harmonic tonality of gray, soft black to white, which he mastered as by few, accentuated by warmer colours. In his work, there was also a slight tension and mystery present while his paintings of buildings in Copenhagen and London were devoid of people, something that occurred in his landscape paintings. In many Hammershøi painted interiors by his wife Ida central state as a model, usually from the back imaged. Hammershøi’s first works exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001, with their simplicity and showing the “banality of everyday life,” had a hit with the critics.
Carl Larsson (1853 – 1919) was regarded as the most loved Sweden illustrator and painter, representative of the Arts and Craft Movement. His house and family members were his favourite motifs.
Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954)
Matisse loved pattern, and pattern within pattern: not only the suave and decorative forms of his own compositions but also the reproduction of tapestries, embroideries, silks, striped awnings, curlicues, mottles, dots, and spots, the bright clutter of over-furnished rooms, within the painting.