Looking at pictures

With time on my hands and being limited by severe cognitive shortcomings I’ve had the urge to look at pictures rather than to read. I’ve ransacked my son’s comic collection and watched television into the wee small hours. This is me in idle mode.

But idle isn’t always empty. The brain still ticks over and while in picture mood I was keen to follow my fancy back to some key caricaturist. Way back when I used to marvel at the Brueghal’s work like the Blind Leading the Blind below.

Then I got into William Hogarth and the more focused and less scenic work of the caricaturists of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Hogarth’s work seemed always too busy – as though he was trying to squeeze his narrative dry. Southwark Fair (below) like his parables where choker block full, like Breughal’s with throwaway meanings and suggestions.

Then as I got caught up in a sense of the grotesque I went back to those artists whose work illustrated Dicken’s novels. The rich vein running through British publishing kept feeding off itself such that by the time David Lean got to filming some of Dickens novels it was hard to tell these illustrations from the movie –so embedded were they with the story.

Through dabbling in puppetry I was further inspired to go back in time. Back to Cruikshank (a pdf file) whose illustrations are inseparable from any notion of Punch and Judy.

And from there I got caught up in some expressionist notions and the core tradition that seemed even more rigorous that emanates from France. With Daumier , especially his sculptures (of which he did very few –example below) wonderful form and movement seemed to merge with the dramatic, grotesque and sentimental.

So now I’ve come back on myself again and am studying the rude and savage caricatures of James Gillray.

…and the meaning of this pictorial journey? I’m trying to ses how the image can married to the jovial word.