Monday, 15 December 2014

Constantin Meunier- Belgian Realist

Yesterday was a real highlight. My charming friend Inna and I visited the Constantin Meunier exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.
I looked forward to this visit for some time. Meunier was a realist sculptor and painter who lived just across the road from me. To be honest, he passed away in 1905, but I live in an old quarter of Brussels, and if you are ever passing by, then I can show you his house.

The expo was wonderful.

Meunier was a classicist, and his early works owed a lot to Rodin. There was also a strong Catholic influence in his early days, that was to underpin his work throughout his life. He moved on, but those early influences never left him. He spent some time, as a young artist, in Spain. ....and then he really emerged, as he became more cosmopolitan.

Meunier captured the lives of working folk at the end of the 19th century, more than any other European artist (in my opinion). In the steel mills and the coal mines, he saw everything, and he portrayed the trials and tribulations of the working classes.

Van Gogh wrote about Meunier "He is my superior in every way"

I love his realist style - I am grateful to him for capturing on canvas, and in bronze - the suffering, and the pride, of the working classes.

I could write forever about his art, and about his influences, and about his legacy - within walking distance of my home there is an academy and a museum, both named after him. But I leave it to you, dear reader, to make up your own mind....

Details of the expo are here....

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Farage: Legacy of Der Stormer

UKIP, increasingly, are full of shit.

This, however, is my favourite. Apparently Nigel Farage failed to turn up to speak at a meeting because "immigration" caused heavy traffic on the M4.

Who built much of our motorway infrastructure? Ahhh.... that would be Irish immigrant labour. Was it their fault that you were late, Nigel?

My grandfather was an Irish immigrant who served in the British Army in the Second World War. Was it his fault you were late, Nigel? Did you serve in the British Army, Nigel?

The mother of my children is an immigrant. Is it her fault that you were late, Nigel?

My children have Jewish blood from both parents. Is it the fault of the Jews, Nigel? It usually is. According to people like you.

Your own wife, Nigel, is an immigrant. Was it her fault that you were late? Or are you selective about which categories of immigrants that you blame?

One out, all out!

Yesterday we had a major strike in Brussels. All public transport was shut down, and the school dinner ladies had a well deserved long weekend.

The Eurocrats have bought into this, unofficially, as well.

The European Parliament was a quieter place than usual as a result.

One of my friends took the day off, as he could not get in on the train.

He usually drives to work, but coincidentally his car was "in for servicing" yesterday. He lives near me, and I walk to the parliament - it takes me about 20 minutes! Funnily enough, he made it to the pub at lunchtime - the pub in question being outside the parliament!

Incidentally, the cost of this trade union inspired strike equates to 2,000 public sector jobs.

I often wonder, "how stupid are trade union members, to listen to their highly paid union leaders who lose no pay at all on a strike day?" Very stupid, apparently.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Beauty of Ukraine

At an early age I realised that I was not blessed with artistic or musical talent, which is a cruel blow. I compensate by organising events - mostly classical music events, and art expos.

But this week was a highlight. After some uncertainty, lost sleep, but great fun, we opened 'The Beauty of Ukraine', in Brussels.

A Christmas exhibition, featuring the work of my good friend Alona Pylgun, originally from Kyiv, but now living in Belgium.

It was a lovely evening. I was very pleased by the numbers, and delighted that Alona was interviewed by both Belgian and Ukrainian television crews.

The works will be on display until January 15th.

The venue is the newly opened restaurant GOURMAND, at Rue de Treves 4, Brussels 1050. (It is opposite Gare du Luxembourg), and I strongly recommend it if you want a superb lunch.

Many thanks to Randall at euspectator for the video