Self portrait in the studio at Peckham after Steenwyck the Younger

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Image courtesy of Art Daily

Today, we’re looking at a 2015 painting by the amazing Raqib Shaw. It’s part of a series of four paintings based on works from the National Gallery. I picked this one because it fits the exhibition particularly well, being a self portrait set inside the artist’s studio. A lot of imagery is reminiscent of himself and his work, such as the bronze sculpture which was first exhibited at the same time as this painting. Other elements that refer to the artist in this painting are his dogs and his champagne case.

I also like that there is an actual mirror at the center of the painting where the representation of the artist is reflected. This might be linked to the fact that it is adapted from an older painting by Steenwyck, dating back to 1610. As you can see if you compare it with the original below, Shaw kept the basic structure and format of the painting, as well as some striking elements: the architectural features, the tablecloth, and the floor design. His painting is more charged than the original, in his usual opulent style and with his particular technique of painting with enamel using a porcupine quill, which renders this precision and realistic feel. Another difference you will have noticed is the background, which features views on a garden in Shaw’s version. This is the view he has from his studio; so effectively, he hasn’t represented his workplace in terms of structural features but in terms of its exterior.

I’m a big fan of this painting because of its very personal nature but also because there is plenty to look at. It’s full of technique, color work, but also choices, which gives it a striking personality that I fell can sometimes get lost in a lot of contemporary art.

about 1610

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Green Apple

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Image courtesy of Bord’Eau

This mind blowing dessert is the flagship dessert of Restaurant Bord’Eau, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant located in Amsterdam. It consists of an apple made from blown sugar, which is one of the hardest things to do; and apple core made from apple sorbet with chocolate for the seeds. This comes on top of puff pastry with cream of walnut and caramel. Needless to say I would kill to go there and try this (and the rest of their menu which also looks amazing).

This is one of the few times that a food post actually fits perfectly within the current exhibition. This dessert is a reconstructed apple; a reflection on the fruit both in terms of visual identity and in terms of taste (I’ve read some reviews). So yeah, I’m really impressed by the conceptual work that was done on this dessert, and here is the link to the restaurant’s website. Hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to eat there. In the meantime, I saved their menu on my computer for bad days.

Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Today’s post is a throwback to my trip to Boston last year. Apologies for the lack of pictures, my phone was in a pitiful state at the time.

Many museums have monthly events like a mini party, and I went to one at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I hadn’t had the chance to visit the museum before, and this was not the best time to do so as it was pretty crowded; but I still got a relatively good feel of it. So Third Thursdays happen every third thursday of each month there, and they’re an evening event featuring some live music, spotlight talks, and alcohol. There was a mini treasure hunt the day I went which was really cool and fit the spirit of the museum.

This post is not going to be a fully fleshed museum review because it wasn’t  fully fleshed visit, but I will share my observations. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a house museum, which is usually not my thing, but this one is really beautiful. Plus, Isabella Stewart Gardner was an art patron and collector herself, which makes it so much more interesting because you get to see her collection as well as her house. I think this museum gets a little overshadowed by the MFA which is very nearby, but it tells a completely different story and is much more intimate without being small. I highly encourage everyone to visit it, on a Third Thursday or not, and I will definitely go back there on my next trip to Boston.

Here is some info on the upcoming Third Thursdays

And some info on Isabella Stewart Gardner who’s a very cool woman to look up to since it was International Women’s Day last week

And finally a link to the museum’s websiteIMG-20150619-WA0010