PAINTINGS

                                                                                            OK, these are not photos, but I did take photos of them

 I went to Europe as a person who could either take paintings [ the old Masters] or leave them. I was not fussed and thought that the aura around them was much over
hyped. However, after having visited several art galleries and in particular viewing the older style paintings I now at least an appreciation for them.. We saw two specific
paintings very early in our tour. The first was "
The Hunt in the Forest" by Paolo Uccello and the other was "Convent Thoughts" by Charles Allston Collins. Both of these
paintings are in the
Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. We went back several times to the Ashmolean to specifically see these two paintings and I was lucky enough to purchase
a print of "The Hunt in the Forest"

                                                If you go anywhere near the Ashmolean, I recommend you see both of these

We did see the "Mona Lisa" and was totally dissapointed - it's small, you cant get anywhere near it and there's a crowd like no tomorrow
PHOTOS - PAINTINGS
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This is a BIG painting - and it needs concentration to see it - go up close to get the details and you loose the overall picture, with the reverse also applicable - go back to get
the big picture and loose the detail. Either way its stunning. Some commentary by Critics:-

 "It is perhaps the best-known painting in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England. The painting is an early example of the effective use of perspective in Renaissance art,
with the hunt participants, including people, horses, dogs and deer, disappearing into the dark forest in the distance.

 A hunting scene is the subject of one of Paolo Uccello's last works: the so-called Nocturnal Hunt. Probably originally painted as the decoration for a linen chest, the scene
is called nocturnal because of the strange kind of moonlight that falls on the elegant little figures of the hunters scattered through the dark forest. Except for the complex
perspective composition that broadens the horizon, one might take this for a late Gothic painting, for here too we find the same painstaking description of details,
sophisticated forms and movements that we found in the earlier panels. The overall richness of the scene is further stressed by the bright and elegant colours, particularly
the strong reds of the coats."
                                                                                                                      In Popular Culture

The painting is featured in the "Point of Vanishing" episode of the British TV series Lewis. A postcard of the painting is discovered as a clue to a murder. Lewis and his
colleague visit the painting at the Ashmolean Museum on more than one occasion and are instructed on its significant features by a museum expert. The painting provides
Lewis with an insight that allows him to solve the case.
THE HUNT IN THE FOREST

Paolo Uccello
c. 1470
Oil painting
65 cm × 165 cm (26 in × 65 in)
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
CONVENT THOUGHTS

Charles Allston Collins
1851
Oil on canvas
Arched top, 33 1/8 x 23 1/4 inches
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
This is a painting that is very
serene. There is a seat in front of it
and you can sit down, look at the
painting and feel the stress fall
away

"Convent Thoughts is a painting
by the Pre-Raphaelite painter
Charles Allston Collins which was
created between 1850 and 1851.
Collins sent it to the Royal
Academy of Arts in 1851 where it
was exhibited.

The painting shows a nun
contemplating a passion flower
symbolising the crucifixion of Christ.
She is standing in a walled garden
full of minutely-detailed flowers. In
her left hand she holds an
illuminated missal, held not as
though she had been reading it but
so as to show us the Annunciation
and the Crucifixion. Her costume
shows that she is a novice,
presumably meditating on her final
vows."

The flowers were painted in the
Oxford garden of Thomas Combe,
an early collector of Pre-Raphaelite
paintings. Combe bought the
painting; in 1894 he bequeathed
his art collection to the Ashmolean
Museum, Oxford and Convent
Thoughts remains in the Museum's
collection to the present day
.        Although Collins was never
formally a member of the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he was
in sympathy with their aims and
painted in their immensely-detailed
style. Convent Thoughts has a place
in the history of Pre-Raphaelitism,
because the tide of opinion, initially
hostile, was to some extent turned by
a letter to The Times on 13 May
1851 from the influential critic John
Ruskin praising the Pre-Raphaelite
paintings at the Academy exhibition,
in particular Convent Thoughts,
about which he wrote:





  "I happen to have a special
acquaintance with the water plant
Alisma Plantago ... and as I never
saw it so thoroughly or so well drawn,
I must take leave to remonstrate with
you, when you say sweepingly that
these men 'sacrifice truth as well as
feeling to eccentricity.' For as a mere
botanical study of the Water Lily and
Alisma, as well as of the common lily
and several other garden flowers,
this picture would be invaluable to
me, and I heartily wish it were mine."[