National Museum, Cardiff

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Quite recently I visited the National Museum Cardiff to take a look at the art exhibitions they have there. Since moving to Cardiff in September, I have only been to the museum once which was for a lecture in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre. So this was a chance for me to take a look inside and see what kind of collections they had to show. The museum had quite a range of pieces which were created by many talented artists ranging from the year 1500-2000. All of these pieces were either painting or sculptural. Two painters that stood out the most to me were the works of Ceri Richards and Dorothea Sharp.

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Ceri Richards

Cycle of Nature, 1944

Ceri Richards was a British painter, print-maker and maker of reliefs who died in London 1971. This piece of his named ‘Cycle of Nature’ is an abstract oil painting sized 102.2cm-152.7cm.

This torrent of human, animal and vegetable forms is reminiscent of earlier Surrealist landscapes by Max Ernst. Richards is also exploring visual imagery the evokes Dylan Thomas’s poem of 1933. ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.’ In 1945 he was commissioned to illustrate the poem in Poetry London, for which he made three lithographs incorporating the entire text.

What I really enjoy about this piece by Richards is the pale colours he uses and how he has used them to create tone. This adds more depth to the painting and also creates a less flat look. The fact he has also used oil paint to create this piece of work also means that the textures on the canvas are quite interesting to look out. This is one of the things that I love about artists who choose to use oil paints as their media as it adds a more unique character to the art work.

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Close up photos of ‘Cycle of Nature’ I took in the museum

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Dorothea Sharp

At the Seaside, 1943

Dorothea Sharp was a British landscape, figure and flower painter who died in London 1955. Sharp trained at Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art and also in Paris.

Sharp lived in London and Blewbury in Berkshire, but also spent time in St Ives in Cornwall.  This work is typical of her idyllic and sunlit scenes of children or the seashore inspired by her Cornish sojourn. Such paintings enjoyed a huge revival in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s but in her own lifetime her reputation rested upon her accomplished flower pictures.

One of the many things that I love about this painting of Sharps is the way she has used the pale blues and the darker greens to create the illusion of moving water. The way she has painted this has captured the movement extremely well and is a clear representation of what she must of been seeing at the time. Another added detailed that I have noticed about Sharp’s paintings are the textures of the canvas she is working on. This really adds something to the painting I think and gives it a little bit more detail. Detail is also added where she has applied thicker amounts of paint in areas which gives the painting a more three-dimensional effect. I really like this and think this is one of my favourite paintings that were in the museum.

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Close up photos of ‘At the Seaside’ I took in the museum

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