I’ve visited the Fitzwilliam Museum many, many times. I consider it one of the best art galleries in the world and feel very fortunate to live close enough to it to be able to get to it regularly. It’s a wonderful, huge space to wonder through with varied exhibitions including ceramics, paintings, sculpture and regular special exhibitions. I find something new to explore almost every time I visit.
I didn’t have a particular plan to look at this exhibition yesterday, but happily came across it during a wonder through the European pottery gallery.
While Kettles Yard gallery is undergoing extensive refurbishment, various selected works are being exhibited at the Fitzwilliam. This collection is quite small but varied, bringing together works from Kettles Yard and the Fitwilliam including a Barbara Hepworth Marble sculpture and lithograph print, Lucie Rie ceramics and William Scott’s abstracted household objects. All of the pieces were made around the first half of the 20th century. What the artists had in common was their response to the modern world, attempting to create new art for the age.
The piece which held my attention most was a pen and Indian ink self-portrait by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. I studied his use of hatched lines and thick and thin lines to make up the drawing. There are obvious notes of Cubism, and I was engaged by the way he used only black ink to express different angles and shapes to make up the portrait. I attempted a quick sketch copy in order to practise the range of tones achieved by Gaudier-Brzeska here. I look for honing this skill with further practise in my own self-portraits.