On Fire

Hilma af Klint’s Dove, No. 02 (1915)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I’ve been majorly impressed by the fine 2019 French film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, written and directed by Céline Sciamma. Her excellent script (nominated for an Oscar) set the film’s action in the year 1775 and detailed the creation of a work of fine art by a talented woman artist. In preparing to write, Sciamma searched for works, dating from before modern times, by women artists. She discovered that many women had produced fine art, been known and recognized by their peers and contemporary art critics. She came to realized that women artists working in past centuries have been overlooked or ignored. In contrast, male artists working in past centuries have been celebrated.

Sciamma’s film teaches much by illustrating many factors that support good writing and informed directing. Its scenes boast superb close-ups and wide-screen cinematography, illustrate creative lighting techniques, intrigue viewers using unique sound technology, and focus on carefully-timed actors’ physical activities and expression changes.

Its brave and independent woman artist is a model for unrecognized women who produced in years (roughly) between the 1600s and early Twentieth Century. Sciamma’s work influences more by alerting interested viewers to news popping-up here and there about early women artists. For example, a recent article in “The Guardian” about Hilma af Klint (b. 1862) suggests that she might have invented abstract art.

Like Sciamma’s film artist, af Klint came from a wealthy family and thus could choose to learn art and find ways to self-support as she wished. Af Klint is interesting to learn about, and moreover, her long-ignored art works are exquisite. She’s gradually being recognized as a fine artist. Included in this article is a film trailer previewing an upcoming lovely documentary about her work.

True art is a multi-layered canvas, it’s visual, idealistic, passionate and speaks to a broad audience. Wonderful art keeps speaking, and both Sciamma and af Klint offer fascinating insights that increase awareness.

Here’s a link to “The Guardian” article: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/oct/06/hilma-af-klint-abstract-art-beyond-the-visible-film-documentary

Dear Readers: It’s expensive but there is a hardcover book with the art of af Klint. Diana

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