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Craft/Work

Power & Pain, Love & Madness: Brett Anderson Curates The Collections of Art UK
The Quietus , May 16th, 2020 09:06

The Suede frontman curates a selection of ten paintings from the UK's public collections, in a virtual exhibition prepared exclusively for the Quietus

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Pieter de Hooch – Courtyard of a House in Delft
This seemingly unspectacular painting is nevertheless an oddly moving and in many ways quietly revolutionary piece. It’s an anthem to understatement, a celebration of the everyday. When the convention was for painters to represent the wealthy and the powerful de Hooch has chosen to eulogise the unseen, depicting the servant classes hurrying about their work in a part of a house usually avoided by visitors. When at last your eye settles and sees beyond the jumble of mops and broken wood in the scruffy courtyard it’s rewarded with the depiction of a lovely, truly touching moment, the tender gesture between mother and daughter as powerful as any histrionic Caravaggio. I’ve always loved art and music that has the bravery to invert those conventions and depict things like poverty and failure and inertia. Without the motor of drama such art can be hard to get right but when it succeeds it can be wonderfully resonant and surprisingly beautiful.