I have been fascinated by this painting since I first wandered into the Scottish National Gallery. It’s of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargeant who was born in Florence of American parentage. It was my favourite work of art for a long time but other favourites are creeping in which I shall write about some other time. You really have to go and see her in the gallery. There are nuances that aren’t apparent in reproductions. I have stared at her for hours and now I can see an enigmatic smile I think. The raised eyebrow, what’s all that about? Click the picture above for more information about the painting.
Of course I am in love with her.
One of the best bits for me is the bracelet. When you see the original close it’s just a few simple brush strokes of gold coloured paint which are rendered metallic by his skill.
I went to see her once and to my horror she had been loaned to the Australians! I was distraught. A while later I happened across an Edinburgh prospect on a dating website. Tongue in cheek I asked her to go look to see if Lady Agnew had returned. She did and she had. I suggested we go see her together. We did. I am still single. Interesting conversation though Irvine Welsh had been her neighbour for a while.
Has this painting had an influence on my work? I believe it has for example in nudes. When I first used a model for nude work I wondered what would happen. I had photographed people I was close to. My favourite nudes up to then were probably by Ralph Gibson. What happened with my pictures? Portraits of the model is what happened I have done a few more and the same thing happened. I will write a blog with examples soon. If you are reading this and would like to be photographed please get in touch. I will provide images and pay reasonable expenses.
Here are a few snaps I have taken of the painting at the National Gallery of Scotland who welcome photographers. They were all taken with Lumix cameras and an Olympus 17mm f1.4 lens. The national galleries of Scotland are much better looked after than the English ones, generally the cafés are clean. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a delight, there are two of them on opposite sides of the road with a choice of caffs. Their portrait gallery is in a magnificent red building. I will have a root around to see if I have enough snaps for blogs. If not I will have to go back 🙂