Monday, 10 May 2010

Monstrous Monday

When I visited Tate Britain for the first time earlier this year I became somewhat Turnered out by all the Turners on view, especially since half of them were unfinished pieces. It was great to see Sunrise with Sea Monsters, though. Alas, I discovered on reading the gallery notes that a) it too is an unfinished work and that b) it's just supposed to show a couple of flounders in the foreground - not monsters at all. The title is a rather tongue-in-cheek one it earned many years after it was painted in 1845.

Above the Turner is another rare portrayal of a sea monster in art - Moonlit Night by Wassily Kandinsky, painted in 1907. Of course, to be precise, it could be a lake monster; it certainly has a distinctly Nessie look about it. It would be interesting to know what Kandinsky's inspiration was for this aquatic beast. He was Russian, from Odessa - was he aware of a Russian lake monster? Lake monsters as a whole only got 'big' in the 1930s.

Cryptozoology in art. Now there's a subject. Or a range of stamps.

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