BBC4  iplayer


Woman in White

Symphony  in white no 3 –   on a white sofa. A wedding? Just got married? Husband? Virgin? Two girls ancient Greek godesses? Two prostitutes in their nightwear? The subject is simply about different types of white mixed together on a canvas – a symphony in white. An elitist painting. It divides the Victorian public – those who understand the painting – the elite -and those who do not. White became his signature colour. His house was called the White house. He despised the public’s taste so much, confusing them was not enough. He wanted to banish them from the art world altogether.

1883 – a Trip to Venice – a collection of white paintings in a white gallery in white frames and hung far apart. The attendant also wore white. A discomforting experience. A Masterpiece of Mischief was its title.

James Abott Whistler had invented the forerunner to the white gallery space –  the cold, sterile and austere colour of the artistic elite. Modern artists of the 20th Century continued the trend,3-23-whistler-white-girl for example perplexing artists such as Marcel Duchamp and his “mocking” white urinal. Confusion reigned. Find out more – 3 more days to watch this fascinating programme on iplayer.

Woman in White