Category Archives: Art

Me versus Erwin Panofsky

A long time ago, in 2004, when I was prepared to study at the university – I began to do art analysis. Mostly over the whole exhibition, not on single art work. I used a method I was comfortable with and perfect for my own thoughts (own constructed method).

Today, many years later – efter my degree from the university and with a master thesis in art history, I know more about other art theories in the field of art analysis. My thesis is about heraldic influences on emblems belongs to sport clubs. I done a symbolic and a comparative study about it.

The point is how my method is nearly the same as Erwin Panofsky’s (1892-1968) method to analyze art. Today, I’m more familiar with his theory, so I see likenesses and some minor differences. His first step or level of three in his method, is about what you see in the picture (pre-iconographic). My method when I do my analysis is the same, but with little more. According to Panofsky, it’s to analyze colours, lines, forms, objects, surfaces, directions and people etc. in the picture. I however, analyze movements and dimensions too. How objects can looks to be in a movement. The second is to look for depth through 3D. My favourite part is to look for 3D, (central perspective), as Leonardo painted it. I also analyze the texture, technics and the material etc.

One other task differ from Panofsky. That is how or on what part the analyze will be made. Mostly I do the analysis on the whole exhibition, not on single art works. I put shorter time on every art work and the same to do research about the artist. The background research is a important point for the second level in Panofsky’s method (iconographic), which is more time consuming than what I have time for. But sometimes, there is enough information about the artist in the folder at the gallery, so I do a minor background check.

Further in level 2 comes one of the most central point in my analyses. Find symbols and see the symbolic meaning with different elements in the picture. The same with icons. Hidden or non understanding icons and symbols, are what I love to find. Both my thesis for bachelor degree and the thesis for my master degree in art history, are studies on symbols and icons (but in different artistic areas).

So in my last part of my analysis, I’m already in the Panofsky’s third level (iconological). That is what I think and what I see as the painting’s message and to get my perceived feelings and my thoughts so I can give a final assessment of what I just viewed. My main focus is in what I see and what the painting want to say or tell me, and what I hear. Everything are to perceive it personally. Not even a artist know what am I perceiving and to feel in that moment when I look at the painting – also if he or she has a meaning to create an indignation at the viewer.

The conclusion is how I analyze art and how it is similar or not with Erwin Panofsky’s method. He of course, has many more parts in the analyze and I have no expectations, just hopes and discoveries when I visit an exhibition. So my point is how similar our methods are, even before I had knowledge about his method.

There are, of course other art historians and methods to explore. Svetlana Alpers and Heinrich Wölfflin for example. My point is to compare my method to analyze art in comparison with Panofsky’s method. 

Björn Blomqvist 2017-08-27

Dolt under ytan

Skrevs för drygt 2 år sedan, men den är ändå aktuell då och då.

Blommans Art & Poetry Blog

Något är trasigt något värker
där inuti där ingen märker
Smärtan finns smärtan går
där bakom där blöder ett sår
Ingen vet ingen som vågar
ser det dolda ser eller frågar

Bara jag vet bara jag känner
oron som är oron som ränner
Ovetande om ovetande svar
ger signaler ger allt som är kvar
Håller tyst håller er på halster
bakom en mur bakom mina alster

Björn Blomqvist 2013-10-24

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Contrasts and Zorn

IMG_1205Time again – guess what? Where am I? Stupid question anyway. Of course I’ve been on art gallery again. As usual – Galleri Sjöhästen (Nyköping) and the opening of the exhibition ”Kontraster”.

A good choice to be inside in an art gallery when the weather outside, paints the sky in gray with a rainy paint brush.  

First, graphic art by Lennart Jirlow, Olle Bærtling and Theo Tobiasse. For example, motifs of King Salomon and other art works with motifs in French theme. Mostly common people and the artist himself (Lennart Jirlow) in center of the composition. Today, I’ve learned about the color, “Jirlow-blue”. A color named after Lennart Jirlow, and his work or visit at a printing house in Paris. The color can be seen on the artist’s clothes in some of the art works. In addition to Jirlow-blue, are his compositions colourful.

Other art works at the exhibition are works of more abstract style. Olle Bærtling uses mostly strong colours by a base in turquoise. I like them. There are also art works by Theo Tobiasse – mostly the same theme – motifs with King Salomon and masks (Kent Wahlbeck). The style is modern and a little bit of fauvism.

Thereafter, a huge exhibition of works of art by one of the most famous artists in Swedish art history, Anders Zorn (1860-1920). About 50 etchings by the master himself are shown in a collaboration with Mollbrinks Art in Uppsala. They are covering the walls in the gallery. Etchings from late 19th century to early 20th century.

For me as art historian, Anders Zorn is not my field of knowledge and research. So I had a lot to learn today. My fields of research in art history are the symbolistic art in seventeenth-century and chiaroscuro (baroque art) plus symbols in modern heraldic art and modern architecture. So to know more about Anders Zorn, I’m recommending you to visit both this exhibition and also Zorn museum.

© Björn Blomqvist 2015-11-07

Om akvarellmåleri – boktips

För en gång skull har jag ett boktips – vilket var länge sedan. Jag har iofs recenserat en och annan bok här, men det var ett bra tag sen. Att jag nu plötsligt vill ge ett boktips, har egentligen med ett annat syfte att göra. Jag har under dagen, plöjt igenom en bok om akvarellmåleri. Jag är som ni vet, konstvetare, konsthistoriker och konstnörd, men absolut inte konstnär.  

Boken jag talar om är Måla i akvarell, av Håkan Groop. Författaren och konstnären själv har jag träffat några gånger vid hans galleri här i Nyköping. Boken är lika matnyttig som hans berättelser vid galleribesöken. Det är inte så att jag tänkt börja måla akvareller, utan bara läsa konstböcker jag kommer över som ger min konstvetenskapliga kunskap, än mer kött på benen, så att säga. 

Det som boken berättar är lika intressant för mig som konstvetare som det är för alla som målar i akvarell. Håkan Groop är en duktig akvarellmålare och mångårig kursledare i just akvarellmålning. I boken ges tips och råd om motivval, proportioner, perspektiv, djup och vinklar. Just det är mycket intressant inte bara för akvarellister, utan också för mig som ägnar mig åt konstanalys. Håkan ger också råd kring material, teknik och främst färgval och färgblandningar. 

De tekniska och materiella kanske inte är vad jag bör veta om jag inte börjar måla själv, men viktigt för akvarellister. Jag gillar däremot nästa del i boken där Håkan berättar i text och bild hur han bygger upp sina målningar. Just detta är speciellt intressant för mitt nördiga intresse för konst. Exempelvis vilka delar han målar först och hur han bygger upp sina kompositioner. Djup och balans, men främst den konstnärliga friheten att inte fotografiskt återge ett motiv. Det finns så mycket matnyttigt i boken att jag ska införskaffa den i egen ägo, då den jag just läst är lånad på Nyköpings stadsbiblioteket (Culturum). 

Nog om detta. Jag ska läsa boken en gång till. Det är många begrepp och råd jag vill samla på mig inför nästa konstmöte på ett galleri någonstans. Och det där med annat syfte jag nämnde i början, kan jag inte gå in på än, men jag har en hel drös med konstböcker jag ska plöja igenom härnäst. 

Björn Blomqvist 2015-10-01

Found this :)

I found this in a drawer. I hope it’s worth something 😉 

Examensbevis2(3) - Björn Blomqvist

Björn Blomqvist 2015-09-27

Oil by knife

Today I visited another art gallery and the closest I could come a fish this time, was candy in a bowl on the table – liquorice fish 🙂 The exhibition at Galleri Fiskhuset is by Mary Ahl Ljungström. Mostly oil paintings by knife. There are some acryl and pastel too. I could find different quality of technique and colour. Not in the same class as saturday’s opening.

There were both linear and scenic motifs. Many compositions with typical 3D perspective with central point in the middle. It was only two paintings I liked, because they are painted in oil by brush. The art work “11. Skugga” for example (oil by brush) has a soft texture and light colours. The tree facing the sunlight while the shadow throws to the wall.

Autumn colours in the motifs from “29. Central Park” light up a singel wall in the gallery. In the painting “Solnedgång Manhattan”. The artist paints a split screen. The sunlight splits the motif – with Empire State Buildning to the right and other high buildings to the left. This give focus on single buildings.

In “13. Blåsväder”, the artist paints a movement when she show how trees moves by the storm and in the background, she amplifies the movement by waves hitting the coast. The difference in techniques and style doesn’t interest my curiosity. Since the last exhibition at Galleri Sjöhästen, it’s difficult to find same good art.

To paint forest fire three times in three different set of color, is to much. For me, it’s ok with one. I didn’t say that is bad or not high quality art, but I like strong colors, cubism or abstract paintings and surrealistic art.

© Björn Blomqvist 2015-09-22

Colorfulness through the eyes

IMG_1045My first proposal was to visit more than one opening today, but… At the Galleri Sjöhästen, there where so many impressions and good stories from the artist, so I decided to stay. It’s the first exhibition by Karima Ben Otman in Sweden. My first impression consist of powerful and warm colours with its own expression and an individual style.

Between me and one of the colourful art work I’m looking at for the moment, the artist suddenly came and asked what I’m thought about the art works. My answer was the first impression of colourful art work and a cheerful artist and it became even better. It felt like everyone had an eye on me. Both the artist and all the art works. An eye contact between me and the motifs on the wall through the hall. It’s always nice to discuss and to know more about the art works and to knowing more than all you see on the walls. I appreciate that.

IMG_1052I started to read the article about the artist and her work, technics and life. So to know more about it, I recommend you to read the article in the newspaper. My focus here, is how about I appreciated the exhibition, the encounter and the works of art.

First I wondered were the inspiration came from? Maybe Picasso, Matisse or the Egyptian art, but through our talk, I perceived her art works as an expression of herself, by the artist and no one else. Every composition express a feeling. Apart from the colourful art works of motifs with one or two eyes and linear contours, there was also many faces and fishes. Some of her paintings became directly my favourites. For example (see photos below).

IMG_1046 IMG_1047

As usual, I’m searching for movements, lines, depth and symbols in the composition. The 3D perspective is not in the motif. Rather in the materials and technics. Thick layers of material form shadows in the mold and creating the depth in the image. Movements in the pictures are the results of our imagination, the viewer’s. A talk and a shy conversation between to motives, are both a movement in the eyes and a current feeling, “42. Be my Friend”. 

Apart from the interesting discussion with the artist – a cheerful artist, I wrote down some notes and learned that the paint on texture is acryl and material consists of newspaper and special paper to get right texture. I can say that, there are many good artists and good art, but this exhibition and all impressions and the expressions from all her works of art will be in my memory for a long time. 

A short note about the symbolic meaning of an eye and the fish, according the dictionary: The eye is a symbol of God’s almighty power. For the second, the right eye of Horus is a symbol for the sun and the left eye for the moon. Horus was the ancient Egyptian national patron. He was usually depicted as a falcon-headed god. Both eyes together in picture, symbolises the Universe. The fish for example, can symbolise Ichthys. 

© Björn Blomqvist 2015-09-19