I visited the Vatican Exhibition currently hosted at the Asian Arts Museum yesterday. I had the good fortune to be accompanied by a friend who has visited Vatican and a book on all about the Vatican paintings. I have just one comment to make on it.
Not impressive, not at all impressive.
Let me explain. After having read about the exhibition from the newspapers, I was bugging everyone left, right and center to accompany me. I was literally counting the hours to visiting the exhibitions and see the paintings. And what happened? The first thing that greeted us were brochers on the exhibition in all sorts of languages other than English. Dang!
We decided to chuck brochers and enter the galleries. Instead of seeing the actual exhibition, we found ourself right into the Singapore history art gallery. hmm…..Ok…..nevermind, should have guessed this after all the years of staying here. So on we go, open the next gallery door and wham! We are in the south east asian section!! What on earth!!!
By now, I decided to pay a bit more attention to the signboard and found the answer: A journey of faith. I was stunned, A journey of faith!!
Now I have nothing against this show and I certainly have nothing against showcasing different faiths, but isnt this cheap? Almost all the people there had come specifically to see the Vatican exhibition. Every other gallery was empty but for the Vatican one. All of us were forced to traverse through the entire museum before they could reach it. I found that a pretty immature way of attracting customers or promoting art, whichever was their intention.
Despite all these, when we did reach the exhibition, it did not fail though it did not live up to my humble expectations either. I must admit though, I was biased here. After having toured the british museum and the british art galleries and having had a first hand account of the paintings pocessed by Vatican, I did expect to see at least one painting by Raphael or one of the more famous painters. And I happen to be an avid fan of Raphael. Thus, I guess not seeing even one of his paintings did disappoint me.
However, I must point out that even those paintings on display were awsome.
How on earth did they manage to paint so realistically? The thin veil on the ladies, the staircases, the shadows on the columns, the chubbiness and the rosy-cheek of the infant. I hope someday, I can achieve at least 0.1% of the skills needed to paint them. They were realistic to the core. Expecially Paolo Caliari’s ‘Vision of St. Helena’. St. Helena was the mother of Constatine. She looked regal in a splendid white satin dress which embriodry. She was seated on a chair which according to the incription was rare for a Saint to do. Her eyes were closed and she was leaning her head on her hand. Her expression was one of worry, as if something was worryng her but she was tired of thinking. There was an angel nearby protraied as a baby with wings, which was a common protrayal in those days.
It was the elegance of her posture and the richness of her dress which stupified me. It was so realistic that I was actually tempted to touch her and ask ‘Whats bothering you my lady’.
And the background!. How did he manage to paint the gold sculpture on the wall behind so realistically?? Having said that Caliari was a very famous Venetian painter. Guess its sometimes just fustrating to think that I cant even get half the globe close to what they have achieved………*sigh*…enough about cribbing
There was one more painting of ladies plucking and eat strawberries in the garden while their little ones played around. Unfortunately, I neither remember the name of the paintings nor the painter. Guess, its time to head back to ACM
Vision of St. Helena by Veronese (Paolo Caliari)