The ordinary as spectacle and vice versa

I met up with a friend at Tate Britain yesterday. The place was pretty busy (largely because of the Hockney exhibition. But other areas were also doing good business. Indeed I think there were as many people people watching as there were viewing the works. The visitors made quite a spectacle.

Tate Britain (2 of 3)

But the Tate does hold some wonderful images. I particularly enjoyed the Pre-Raphaelites’ paintings. Not so much the very well known works like Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, although you just can’t ignore William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience as it’s as relevant today as when painted. Yesterday I was drawn to Millais’ Christ in the House of His Parents (‘The Carpenter’s Shop’) represented below.

Tate Britain (3 of 3)

I remember reading about how this representation of Christ as very ordinary caused quite a stir when it was first shown because people expected Christ, Joseph and Mary et. al. to be shown according to the painterly conventions adopted up until then. No halo here hey.


About anomiepete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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