Wednesday 1 May 2013

Victoria Gallery and Museum


Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool, on the corner of Brownlow Hill and Ashton Street, designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1892. It was the first purpose-built building for the University of Liverpool which was housed in a disused lunatic asylum before.

A majestic Victorian building as can be seen from this photograph of the coffee place on the ground floor.

The same, seen from the first floor.

The ceiling of the gallery on the first floor which used to be the library.

Goggle Head, Elisabeth Frink, 1967

Part of a series of male busts in which the eyes are concealed by goggles. The obscured identity of the person creates a sense of menace and aggression, presenting a general impression of a person rather than the identity of an individual. She considered these busts to be her first explicit comments on the world's inhumanity and said later that 'they became a symbol of evil for me'.

I thought it was a shame that this was exhibited next to the lift as it would have been so easy to miss it.

The Eruption of Sourfriere St Vincent on 30th of April 1812, J.M.W. Turner, 1815

This is the first of a series of pictures of volcanoes by Turner. He did not see the actual eruption but based the painting on a drawing by Hugh Perry Keane.

I thought the story behind the acquisition of this painting was interesting and funny. It was apparently donated to the Geological Department of the University on the basis that it was the painting of a volcano. For years it hang in the lobby of the department before someone told them that it was a Turner. They then donated it to the Gallery.

Landscape by Night, Nathan Theodore Fielding

Icons  (all are tempera with gilding on panel)

The Beheading of John the Baptist, Russian, 19th c.

A narrative icon, it shows in sequence the Baprist in prison and under the executioner's sword before the presentation of his head to Salome.

St George and the Dragon, Russian, late 16th c.

The Entry into Jerusalem, Russian, 19th c.

This icon is both a description of an event and a symbol of Christ's entry into the kingdom of god.  The children are symbolic of those who received Christ in all innocence, and his garments are those of an anointed king.

The Harrowing of Hell and the Resurrection, Russian, late 17th c.

The image of Christ's descent into hell, trampling on the gates and pulling Adam towards him, is known as Anastasis in Byzantine art. Many 12th c. mosaics and wall paintings depict the same scene. In the foreground the Resurrection is depicted as Christ climbs over a sarcophagus over the sleeping guards.

SS Paraskevi, Charalambos and Theodore the General, Kastoria School, Greece, 1723

St Paraskevi was known as the patron of women and trade. Charalambos was a saint martyred in 202 A.D. at the age of 113. Theodore the general was the third of the soldier saints of the Orthodox church along with George and Demetrius.

The Holy Trinity with a Dove, Cretan, 17th c.

Many saints established themselves in Crete after the fall of the Byzantine empire. Crete was still part of the Venetian Empire until 1669.

The Transfiguration of Christ, Russian, 19th c.

Classical iconography of the transfiguration. Christ is with Moses and Elias on either side of the mountain top, with the Apostles agitated below.

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