Tuesday 3 March 2015
Painting the frozen North
At the moment, I'm writing a book about storms, so I was lured into London's National Gallery to see an exhibition of paintings by the 19th century Norwegian artist, Peder Balke, of his country's wild and windy Arctic regions.
In the spring of 1832, Balke sailed along the coast of Norway, right up to the North Cape, and drew on what he saw there for inspiration and subject matter for the rest of his life. He was not particularly successful, and soon turned away from painting to property development and left-wing politics.
Still the exhibition, which is free, is an interesting portrayal of places seldom seen in paintings. Personally, I felt his moonlight scenes worked better than his daylight works, though he had a disconcerting habit of putting a rowing boat in an identical position in a number of his compositions. The exhibition also has some atmospheric depictions of mountains looming out of mist.
Many of the pictures have never been exhibited before in the UK, and the exhibition runs until April 12.
*This article on heatwaves quotes from my Disastrous History of the World. http://roadtoinsure.com/heat-record-setting-heat-waves-history/