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The Greatest Painting?


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Here is a link to the BBC Radio4 Today Programme poll for the Greatest Painting in Britain.

Take a look and see if your favourite is there, and vote for it.

 

If your favourite is not there, tell us what it is, and where we can see it (it must be in a gallery somewhere in Britain)

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/vote/greatestpainting/index_vote_secure.shtml

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I read about this in the Guardian the other day, one of the columists was observing how the poll wasn't a fair reflection of what the public thought.

Aparently within a few days of announcing it, the aim of the poll changed from the quest to find Britain's best-loved painting to Britain's 'greatest' painting and the public votes were whittled down to a top 10 by a panel of 'experts' rather than the one that got the most votes.. I don't think they trusted the public to vote for a good painting...hmm.

Jack Vettriano was excluded straight away and then even though a Rembrant had got the most votes the specialist panel exluded that because 'they thought it wasn't his best work'. Imagine if that had happened with the Big Read! You can tell its the silly season..shame Radio 4.

 

Well one of my favourite pictures is Combing the Hair by Degas

 

Combing the Hair

 

At the National Gallery - London, it was once owned by Matisse and I just love the colour

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I had a look at the link but didn't know what to vote for. I would be interested to see the original list from which these were chosen but cant find it, anybody know?

 

Favourite/greatest pictures are SO subjective mine change according to mood. (I still love the Pre Raphaelites tho, discovered in Birmingham in my early teens. But then I'm a big renaissance fan too...and I've seen a Picasso or 2 I covet.)

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It's like anything isn't it.. music, books, art... depends on the mood. The impressionists and pre raphaelites were my college phase and then what I liked just got wider, the only art I have a bit of a problem with is installation but even then its subjective and depends on the artist.

Current favs would be Whistler and Freud.

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Imagine if that had happened with the Big Read! You can tell its the silly season..shame Radio 4.

 

The difference is that the majority (well, maybe!) of the adult British public read books and have opinions on them, whereas most of us - myself included - couldn't give a flying one about paintings. I know - I'm ignorant, a phillistine, etc, etc - but we all have our blind spots. It's not that dislike looking at paintings, it's just that I find so much of the discussion that goes with them to be pretentious twaddle.

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It's not that dislike looking at paintings, it's just that I find so much of the discussion that goes with them to be pretentious twaddle.

 

 

I left a book group because of pretentious twaddle.... they told me to cut it out.

 

One of my favourite things is evesdropping on some conversations in galleries... you can spot the ones that might be interesting.. Brian Sewell glasses held in the hand are a good indication that twaddle might be a factor in any conversation.

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Of the ones that were picked, I would probably have gone for 'The Last of England' which is one I'd never seen before by an artist I'd never heard of (not difficult). http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/gallery/gallery_gp_shortlisted.shtml?select=08#gallery

 

So thanks for mentioning it as I got to see something that would otherwise have passed me by.

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What painting would the public have picked if allowed to...?

The one of bulldogs playing pool? or the Clown with a tear?

I vote for the pool playing bulldogs myself.

 

Indeed, or perhaps the giant swan with the couple walking toward the sea?

 

Quality comments by Jassie. 'Pretentious twaddle' accompanies all of the arts, I'm afraid. I think it's great, personally: more to disagree with, that way. I mean, why do folk get so excited by Turner, eh? He's rubbish.

 

Now then. What if your favourite painting isn't in a UK art gallery..?

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Indeed, or perhaps the giant swan with the couple walking toward the sea?

 

Now then. What if your favourite painting isn't in a UK art gallery..?

 

Oh.. yeh! I'd forgotten that masterpiece.. the giant swan, lovers of Athena unite! Up there with the half naked guy holding a small baby.

 

Of course remarking that a favourite painting doesn't happen to be in the UK but in say the Uffizi or the Metropolitan in NY just opens up the scope for not only scaling the heights of talking twaddle but dropping in a few remarks about how well travelled and cosmopolitan one is, just to compound the pretension.

'I saw this in the flesh so to speak whilst on a trip to **** and I was so moved I didn't for - ooh at least half an hour'

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I travelled to **** not so long ago and thought it a bit overrated myself, although I didn't see any artwork whilst there. Still, it was a lot better than ????, which I found to be a thoroughly confusing place.

 

Anyone been brave enough to visit !!!! ?

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I travelled to **** not so long ago and thought it a bit overrated myself, although I didn't see any artwork whilst there. Still, it was a lot better than ????, which I found to be a thoroughly confusing place.

 

Anyone been brave enough to visit !!!! ?

 

Maybe I should have just said insert name dropping destination where appropriate. You should know that the art in **** is actually all around.. one just needs to be in the know you know.

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Of course remarking that a favourite painting doesn't happen to be in the UK but in say the Uffizi or the Metropolitan in NY just opens up the scope for not only scaling the heights of talking twaddle but dropping in a few remarks about how well travelled and cosmopolitan one is, just to compound the pretension.

 

Curses, you saw through my ruse!

 

'I saw this in the flesh so to speak whilst on a trip to **** and I was so moved I didn't for - ooh at least half an hour'

 

(Not a reference to bowels, I hope..?) I assumed **** meant 'Bury', but then again this is apparently in the UK. Not that I've ever been there. Bury, I mean, not the UK - I live there. They have a very fine museum/gallery which houses the work of both Landseer and Lowry, so I'm told (and Turner, but he's just rubbish, obviously). Bury, I mean.

 

I suppose it could be 'Lima' or 'Lyon'?

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I've just plumped for The Fighting Temeraire. I've become more of a Turner fan as time has gone on (he's just brilliant, obviously), even pieces such as Rain, Steam and Speed, which are far more esoteric than literal (a selection at http://www.classicartrepro.com/artistsb.iml?artist=324).

 

The Hay Wain is undoubtedly a superb piece of art, yet it suffers from the old problem of over-exposure. With something like Linda Barker, this simply reveals the lack of any intrinsic value; with The Hay Wain it's a case of familiarity breeding not so much contempt as indifference.

 

I've never been particularly keen on Hockney and the skating vicar is an odd inclusion to my mind. I would agree with the earlier comment that Sunflowers is not the best Van Gogh has to offer, and whilst The Last of England is good I wouldn't rave.

 

I'm a huge fan of the Dutch school but have never warmed to The Arnolfini Marriage - superb skill in the painting of the mirror in the background, but the figures and composition feel too contrived to me. I would more readily go for a Vermeer. Earlier still, a real favourite is Pieter Brueghel. The Wedding Feast and Hunters in the Snow are particularly well known, but I love the more detailed pieces - Netherlandish Proverbs, Children's Games and The Fight Between Carnival and Lent are fascinating - there is always some new detail to find and there is plenty of humour and marvellous characters. (some are here: http://www.artunframed.com/pieter_brueghel.htm)

 

I think many of us have Impressionist/Pre-Raphaelite fetishes in student days. Perhaps a bit like Romantic poets - my tutor at university expressed surprise I hadn't 'grown out of' my love for them when I was only 20! Still haven't! A Bar at the Folies-Bergere would not have been in my top ten, though - it doesn't release the imagination and emotions in the way that 'freer' Impressionist pieces do.

 

The Pre-Raphaelites have come a little more back into fashion recently - incredibly since Andrew-Lloyd-Webber revealed his love for them, which I would have thought would have engendered the opposite effect. An old favourite here is of course Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia, which is a stunningly beautiful and evocative painting. You can see it at Tate Britain and http://www.tate.org.uk/ophelia/. I was surprised it wasn't on the list.

 

Radio 4 seems to be jumping wholeheartedly onto the populist public vote badwagon lately. They've only just had their favourite philospher contest. At least it's not Big Brother.

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