Research Point- Domestic Scenes

Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format, etc. Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.

I love this tapestry, The annunciation of the virgin deal by Grayson Perry (2012) in which there is distortion and a significant event occurring within the everyday normality of life. gp361_the-annunciation-of-the-virgin-deal_2012-full.jpg.  There is something comedic about this scene-  amidst the everyday clutter of life (mugs on the table, texting in the kitchen, dandling the baby…  I like the repeating geometric patterns and use of bold colours which clash and vibrate.  Grayson Perry describes the scene as follows:

Tim is relaxing with his family in the kitchen of his large, rural (second) home. His business partner has just told him he is now an extremely wealthy man as they have sold their software business to Richard Branson.  On the table is a still life demonstrating the cultural bounty of his affluent lifestyle. His parents-in-law read and his elder child plays on the rug. Tim dandles his baby while his wife tweets.

This image includes references to three different paintings of the Annunciation, by Carlo Crivelli (the vegetables), Matthias Grunewald (his colleague’s expression) and Robert Campin (the jug of lilies). The convex mirror and discarded shoes are reminders of that great pictorial display of wealth and status, The Arnolfini Portrait, by Jan Van Eyck.

In contrast there is something morality in this painting:  Mr and Mrs Stanley Joscelyne: The Second Marriage by Anthony Green (1972) where the domestic scene is presented as a veneration of the marriage containing symbols of marriage and fidelity.  ni_nmni_belum_u1842_large.jpg  I like the way the room is wrapped around the couple who take centre stage- almost as if their life and marriage are wrapped around them

Conversely, David Hockney’s My Parents (1977) presents the couple in a very conservative staid pose  It is almost emphatic in its lack of emotion and feeling, with the sideboard being more centre stage than the people.  Rather like an old victorian photograph.

In this picture by Vanessa Bell (1879 – 1961) was an English painter and interior designer, she explores the light on the objects in the room, which becomes more the focus of the picture than the actual objects. Vanessa Bell-Interior with a table.

I visited The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace in the summer and was excited to see The Music Lesson by Vermeer (1632-75) a-lady-at-the-virginal-with-a-gentleman-the-music-lesson which I had studied for this research point.  I am fascinated by the fact that the action is occurring at the back of the room and the lady is viewed only from the back also. In fact the action is partially obscured by the table at the front of the picture.  Perplexing!!   The accompanying description of this picture says that

The inscription on the lid of the virginal, MUSICA LETITIAE CO[ME]S / MEDICINA DOLOR[IS], means ‘Music is a companion in pleasure and a balm in sorrow.’ It suggests that it is the relationship between the man and the young woman that is being explored by the artist.


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