Susan and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Turin to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. As we were wandering about I noticed a poster for an exhibition of paintings by Monet and Picasso at Palazzo Barolo. I decided to pay a visit and was not disappointed. Although there was only one Monet on display there was a stunning oil painting of the Santa Maria della Salute by my hero John Singer Sargent. I’ve painted this wonderful church on many occasions but I’ve never painted any of the detail. I found myself captivated by this breathtaking study of the iconic Venetian building. It didn’t take long for me to be lost in the details of the architecture, particularly the sculptures.
Santa Maria della Salute
John Singer Sargent
Sargent was a master draughtsman. He knew when to stop when it came to details. As you can see in the detail above, much of the figure is represented by the background colour of the recess where the figure is placed. A few subtle darker tones and highlights define the figure.
The architecture and figures in this photo are equally understated. Rich creamy tones provide the perfect contrast for the mysterious figures that are positioned in the recesses. I made a biro drawing in my sketchbook of this particular figure. I love the way that the top of the thigh is a carefully positioned dollop of white paint.
Monet and Picasso
Expertly applied zig zag brush strokes with body colour allow this figure to leap out of the shadows. Perfectly rounded curves define the arched architecture. This whole painting is a masterclass on how to paint architecture in oils.
Although the Monet and Picasso exhibition finishes 7th March 2023, I believe that this painting is part of the permanent collection that was collated by Mrs Florence Phillips. There were also works by Vincent Van Gogh, Roy Lichtenstein and Any Warhol.
If you are fortunate to visit Turin which is a magnificent city, then Palazzo Barolo is worth putting on your list.