Let the Sea Take Us Away

Daily Draw October 22nd, 2012

This is from my Art Postcards:

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (Scottish 1864-1933)
The Opera of the Sea, c. 1910
Oil and tempera on sized paper 56 11/16 x 63 in.
Hessisches-Landesmuseum, Darmstadt

(Click to enlarge)

Margaret Macdonald and her sister were highly involved in the Scottish art scene even before she married Rennie Mackintosh, and I like the quality of her work.

She created a series called The Voices in the Wood and this panel and another one called The Opera of the Winds were part of that. Both were originally gesso panels designed around 1903 for the home of Fritz Warndorfer in Vienna. I prefer the coloured version of this, but the gesso seems to have more texture to it as you might expect from the heavy use of a ground like that.

The larger, coloured version of The Opera of the Winds has been lost, and here is the original gesso painting of my card.

They are both nice. The bottom figure is rather sepulchral, and the top figure has a mother and baby, floating, perhaps a reminiscence of the womb. The figure on the right has classic Art Nouveau flowers and reminds me of Ophelia, drifting on the water amid her flowers. The four figures on the left are a bit sepulchral as well, as if they are entombed in caves where their dead heads flat to the top. In the gesso version they look more like they are on a ship and caught in the sail.

I like the idea of floating on the sea today. Bubbles and comfort and quietude.


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