Space

Thinking a lot about the production and depiction of space.  Having done some preliminary reading, I am struck by the idea of an artwork producing space (what sort of space?).  This 1660 painting of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, by Emanuel de Witte, depicts a “real imaginary” space and introduces ahistorical elements designed to stimulate thought and discussion of contemporary issues of recent history and religious politics – maybe even to make a subversive statement:

Emanuel de Witte, Old Church in Amsterdam, South Aisle to the East, 1660

It’s as though the anomalous Christ-image and the nursing mother in the foreground are ghostly remnants of the Protestant church’s previous appearance and usage as a Catholic place of worship, glaringly obvious to the contemporary viewer, but unnoticed by the characters in the painting.

There’s something similar in a Museum of London mobile app, which superimposes a historical London view on a modern photograph of the same spot, giving a reminder of the layers of history which we walk over every day.  I particularly liked this image printed in the British Journal of Photography:

Piccadilly Circus in 1953 and 2012, as seen on the Streetmuseum app
© Museum of London

The limited colour range in the modern photo blends with the earlier monochrome, almost producing a single image.  As with the de Witte painting, you have to look closely to see the contrast between then and now.

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3 Responses to Space

  1. Catherine says:

    Also in the de Witte painting, I believe I see Veronica holding her Veil.

  2. richarddouglas says:

    Hi, thanks for reblogging this. Yes I think I can see her too, unfortunately the print I uploaded is quite dark.

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