Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sir John Everett Millais. Hearts and Trumps portrait

Sir John Everett Millais was an artist during the 19th Century. He was an Englishmen, born in Southampton who shows great character and perfection in his work. This painting named the hearts and trumps portrait is extremely vibrant and eye catching. The three sisters take up around half the room on the painting, leaving the other half to scenery and location.

I saw this portrait at the Tate Britain on 19th April 2009 where they also presented a large collection of his other paintings. Millais lived a fairly long life who had won himself a place in the Royal Academy Schools. One of his paintings which were not in the Tate Britain named Christ In The House Of His Parents was controversial because of the realistic portrayal of the holy family labouring.

Hearts and Trumps is one of my favourite paintings mainly because Millais makes the location and scenery look extremely exotic and very innocent. The flowers in the top right, the lake, the dresses and the colours are all examples of how colourful and how perfectly he expresses himself. He is successful in representing shade in a flamboyant and intricate manner. The women all look like they have a lot of time on their hands. Playing cards is shown in the portrait. They are all looking rather bored which may have reflected the lack of activities women had at the time. All of The sisters are also all wearing identical clothes and are showing similar expressions. The women in the left shows no interest in the painter but is focused purely on cards. The sister in the middle shows some interest in the cards but also some interest in her sister. Lastly, the sister on the right shows no interest at all in the cards and seems more interested in the painter and other things happening. Therefore, the sisters are all showing similar expressions but at the same time have a different focus. Sister on the right seems to be the most friendly and confident of the three. She even shows us her cards clearly which may indicate that she is the most confident and open. They seem to have competition between them all.

Overall I find the painting a fascinating piece of work that makes you feel calm and at piece. It shows the innocence and honesty of the human nature.

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Friday, 3 April 2009

The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard was written by Anton Chekhov who was born in 1860, in Tanganrog. Chekhov was very well known worldwide as he was very successful with his plays. Anton Chekhov died only six months after the Cherry Orchard was written and he was a great play writer. I went to see The Cherry Orchard on Saturday 4th October 2008 at the Kenneth More Theatre.

Even though the plot in The Cherry Orchard is fairly straight forward and the production was amateurish, the spirit of the play was captured beautifully. I found the use of Chekhov’s language revolutionary and exciting. The characters within the play are varied and all have their own unique status and position.

The plot is about an aristocratic Russian woman who returns to her estate. Just before she returns however she soon realises that the estate is up for auction to pay for the mortgage. The Cherry Orchard eventually ends up being sold as the family are left in tears. The Cherry Orchard was sentimental and especially for Ranyevskaya and her daughters Anya who is 17 years old. They return to find out the news as they are shocked and worried. The Cherry Orchard in the ends up being sold which upsets the whole family. It represents the downfall of the aristocratic way of living as the communist people were starting to take over.

The plot is a demonstration of dramatic changes and circumstances at the beginning of the 20th Century. Chekhov demonstrates a very powerful perception of events that captured its time in a symbolic manner. The society and the people’s lives were changing into a way which suited Russian communists and their ambitions. Socialist intellectuals were becoming more powerful which is portrayed by Trofimov, a student character in The Cherry Orchard. The artistic qualities in The Cherry Orchard make it a really powerful and alerting play that is excellently constructed and made.

The Cherry Orchard demonstrates the destruction from people and how elements such as love, art and culture can be easily destroyed. Subtleties within people are easily crushed by more dominant and forceful means.

Even though there weren’t many people in the theatre the play was intriguing and very entertaining. It was eye opening and brilliantly crafted.

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Gregory's myspace profile and his blog is at: