Wednesday, 18 November 2009

It's either this or 'I'm a celebrity'...

Not sure if I've mentioned it on this blog, but I once had a go at being an art historian. It was a time long, long ago, when I had been made redundant from a job in IT support (which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in my life). Being a level headed sensible computer techie, I thought to myself 'with this redundancy cheque what I really need to get on in life is to learn about paintings'. So, armed only with a couple of irrelevant O levels, some self tutored essays and an application form as a mature student, I somehow got a place studying History of Art and Architecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

I shouldn't be too flippant about it really, as the Courtauld is a rather prestigious place- set within the impressive Somerset House between the Strand and the Thames, it has a collection of art that any national gallery would envy. Just my luck then that when I was there the gallery part was being renovated, and the collection was either in storage or on loan. The only thing I got to see in the exhibition space was a dead pigeon and builders’ materials- perhaps it was a Damien Hirst installation?
Where did it lead me? Although I might not have ended up as the paintings expert on the Antique’s Roadshow, I do have an art related cartoon published this month. All that learning didn't go to waste after all.

Prospect magazine has this cartoon of mine in their latest issue- It’s based on Jacques Louis David's 'Marat Assassinated'.

One of the leaders of the French Revolution, Marat used to work at a desk in his bath (I think he had a painful skin condition which was eased by being in water- or something). He was assassinated whilst in the bath, and it is this moment that David represents. I suppose assassination isn't really a jolly subject, but it was over 200 years ago, so I hope no one takes offence.

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