5 Dec 2012 – 17 Nov 2013
Interpretations of physical beauty in painting through the ages, from the luscious opulence of the Pre-Raphaelites to the present day.
An exhibition inspired by the recent acquisition of a painting by the internationally acclaimed South African artist Marlene Dumas. Back To, 2011, is a watercolour depicting the tragic musician Amy Winehouse who died two years ago. There is a sensual romanticism to the painting, caused by her loose brushwork and pale, watery colours that bleed into a thick black outline.
In recent years Dumas has become one of the most important figures in contemporary painting. Her portrait of Winehouse goes on show with pictures from the Laing Art Gallery collection including a portrait of a Turkish prostitute by the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Frederick Lewis.
The exhibition features intricately painted Chinese decorative portraits made in the nineteenth-century. John Frederick Lewis’ portrait Hhareem Life, Constantinople which is a sumptuously coloured painting of a woman swathed in damask and silk robes against a highly decorative background. While Marlene Dumas’ ethereal painting of the tragic soul singer has tremendous emotive power.