By Beatriz Fernandez
Masters of modern art from the Hermitage
The Masters of modern art from the Hermitage is an exhibition at the Gallery of NSW which showcases artwork from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. The prestigious museum, is connected to the Winter Palace, which housed the likes of Catherine the Great (who started the collection of art for the Hermitage) and the Romanov Family. The Hermitage was initially the Russian Royal Family’s private art collection, until the middle of the 19th century, when it was open to the public.
The Gallery of NSW exhibition shows the works of many European artists such as, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, and Pablo Picasso. Although the exhibited artworks at the NSW Gallery only shows a small percentage of immense collection at the Hermitage Museum, one may get a sense of its extensive and magnificent collection.
I had the pleasure of seeing the exhibition twice during the holidays. An artwork which caught my attention was Woman’s head (Portrait of Genevieve) 1902/03 by Pablo Picasso. This painting was painted during Picasso’s Blue Period (1901-1904), in which he predominantly painted monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and green- blue. The subject of artwork is Genevieve, the lover of French artist and writer, Max Jacob. This artwork was one of, if not the most, realistic paintings from Picasso’s work in the exhibition. This artwork felt very candid, as if it were a photo Picasso took of Genevieve looking into blank space until she noticed him. Although it seems melancholy, the portrait just seems to capture the mundanity of life.
The Masters of modern art from the Hermitage was an amazing exhibition to visit. If you weren’t able to catch it Sydney, you must try and visit the State Hermitage Museum in Russia to experience the lustre of the collection.
David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948 – 2018
The David Goldblatt exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art revealed the reality of the Apartheid in South Africa and Australian asbestos mining. The South African photographer was a great observer and his photos allowed people to create their own judgement on the photo’s subject. The photos exhibited were predominantly black and white and documented subjects such as the ‘dying gold mines of Witwatersrand’ and, the ‘unspoken privilege and mundane, everyday life’ of the small, white middle class community near Johannesburg.
I was able to see this exhibition for myself during the summer holidays. One of my favourite photographs was Before the fight (1980). The photo shows a child in boxing gear with, what looks like his coach, preparing for a match. I don’t exactly know what draws me to this photograph but it exudes messages of the removal of innocence and how adults force certain images and ideals which are unwanted by children.