Archive for January, 2010

Frank Brangwyn featured at ILLUSTRATION ART blog

January 19, 2010

David Apatoff has one of the best and most visited blogs going now a day

recently featured my limited portfolio of Frank Brangwyn’s interpretation of The Way of the Cross. On his blog, David shares a few golden nuggets on Frank Brangwyn, the artist. It is well worth reading.

FRANK BRANGWYN (1867-1956)

Frank Brangwyn had a special talent for depicting grand structures such as cathedrals, bridges and ships.

He drew individual human beings the same way, as if they were monumental structures. He posed and rendered them with the kind of weight, grandeur and dignity he would have applied to a cathedral:

Brangwyn had an excellent eye for the glories of the secular world; he was able to show the magnificence– and even the divinity– of laborers working in a shipyard. That’s part of what made his work so appealing to the public. However, he did not lead a particularly religious life.

Then, while he was still at he peak of his powers, Brangwyn became more interested in formal religion, and from the 1930’s on, “devoted himself to religious art.”

Biographer Libby Horner offered one explanation for Brangwyn’s transformation:

As the artist grew older and faced mortality he produced more religious works in which he frequently included his own image as if he feared retribition for having been a “bad lot” and, in his own superstitous manner, was hoping to redeem himself.

I was reminded of Brangwyn when I received the new portfolio of his illustrations of the Stations of the Cross from Auad Publishing (the publisher responsible for the forthcoming book on the illustrator Robert Fawcett).

As you can see from the drawings in the Auad portfolio, Brangwyn never lost his gift for classical staging of figures:

The newly religious Brangwyn drew himself into a number of these drawings. Clearly he was wrestling with a lot of issues.

Brangwyn was internationally famous during his lifetime, but as he aged, the modern art world passed him by. Scholars will tell you that modern artists and writers became embittered by the horrors of World War I and the hard lesson that modern science would not necessarily be a tool for progress. Brangwyn’s triumphal style gave way to abstraction and art that questioned fundamental principles of western civilization.

The once gregarious artist, who had found such glory in the secular world, led an increasingly reclusive and superstitious life and died in 1956.


January 1, 2010

So, there goes another year. Is it just me or are the years whizzing by faster with each year? It seems like only yesterday when I could hardly wait to be old enough so I could do all the things I wasn’t allowed to do. Now it feels like being on board a runaway train…going downhill, at that!

The arrival of a New Year is the occasion of assessments and for New Year’s resolutions.

With a list in hand we promise ourselves to try and keep the promises we made last year, and the year before that, and…So many of them have gone to the wayside; To quit smoking, exercise more, lose weight, take up yoga, read the classics, learn another language, resolve the conflict in the middle east and so on.

Many years ago I came across this simple maxim. Reading it every New Year’s Eve, I ask myself, “Could there be a better New Year’s resolution?” Think about it.

In closing, I would like to thank all those who have already bought the limited portfolio on” The Way of the Cross” by Sir Frank Brangwyn and for their kind words they expressed upon receiving their copy.