Sunday, January 07, 2018

A fascinating read in black and white

Grisaille glass panel with unintended colour: 'stained' glass (image from here)

Today I finished reading Monochrome: Painting in Black and White, the catalogue of the exhibition currently on at the National Gallery in London.  I completed the book in two long sittings - it was a real page-turner for me, full of interesting history, and giving me a thought-provoking perspective on monochrome work right up to the present day.
I knew as soon as I saw news of the exhibition that the subject is a great one, but I never felt any urge to see the show.  I was simply keen to read the book.  And indeed the catalogue is full of essential images which are not in the exhibition. I certainly did not feel the absence of examples of great monochrome art - I can now look those up, and keep my eyes open to look with greater scrutiny, if needed, at works I encounter in future.
The reviews - here, and here, and here - are various, but did not persuade me that I need to go to the exhibition for real.  It was the information, the history, the examples, the comparisons, and the ideas which have excited me.


  1. The flowing look of the glass in the above image is fascinating. Like a light breeze catching a fine scarf.
    The different sized pieces must have been very difficult to put together.

    1. It does undulate beautifully. I don't know if that is because of the old glass which would not have been flat, or an optical illusion. The size of the panel is 60 x 40 cm, so the individual pieces of glass are not too small - a glass quilt!