Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sir Isaac Brock

Apart from the figure that dominates the center of the one of the panels - whom I have referred to as The Blue Rider - there are other riders in this monumental painting.

One of them represents Sir Isaac Brock, for whom Brock University was named.

Born in 1769 in St Peter Port on the Channel Island of Guernsey, Brock had an illustrious military career and took part in battles in  Holland, the Caribbean and the Battle of Copenhague, among others, before he and his regiment, the 49th Foot were transferred to Upper Canada in 1802.

As the war broke out between the United States and Britain on June 18, 1812, Brock was in command of the forces that defended Upper Canada.

In the monumental painting created by Luca, Sir Isaac Brock is represented on horse, riding along John Norton.

In our conversations, Luca, who has painted quite a few portraits in his career, alluded to the conundrum he faced when he began the painting of Sir Isaac Brock. He knew of several  paintings representing Brock but he was not certain which one best represented him. 

Here is Sir Isaac Brock's portrait by Bogdan Luca in the monumental painting:

and an image  of Sir Isaac Brock from Wikipedia:

Credits: Wikipedia.


  1. Irina,

    I'm struck by what looks like Brock's crimson double as though riders were presented in a diptych, or even perhaps a single rider were being portrayed split (by colour)into opposing British and American forces.Irina, you did refer to the whole work as a "panel", and I'm perhaps getting my idea of the painting's 'doubling effect' from that. Perhaps Luca's problematizing the all too easy sweep of historical representations when they are put into neat visual groupings.

    After all, who could tell the loser from the winner in the painting only?

  2. Hello Conrad:

    I think I should clarify that the painting, when finished, will be 8'X 20'. When I visited Luca's studio, there were five "panels" (on which work was underway at various degrees of completion) that would eventually merge into one canvas.

    None of the "panels" had titles, so I referred to one of them, which was almost completed 'as the Blue Rider'- this 'panel' can be seen in the eponymous post. Inside each panel, there may exist further visual transitions between narrative nuclei - as is the case with the "Blue Rider".

    Sir Isaac Brock appears in a different 'panel'/grouping than the 'Blue Rider".

    Hopefully I was able to be a bit more clear in the terms of the painting's "topology" without probably addressing your first question.

    In terms of telling the loser from the winner in a painting...this is quite an interesting question!

    The closest I could get to a 'maybe' (it would be possible to tell the loser from the winner ): the painting that refers to an event that has taken place during Sir Isaac Brock's life...the battle of Austerlitz (December 2nd, 1805) including it's "beau soleil d'Austerlitz" painted by Gérard in 1810.

    Not entirely sure this 'maybe' can become a 'yes'.

  3. Irina,
    thanks for the clarification of 'panels': I can see the whole work better now (as well as appreciating the artistic process involved).

  4. Thank you Conrad...I am very glad that you are interested in this painting, taking the time to read through the posts. I have not seen the painting in the last few weeks and I don't know if I will see it before it will be assembled at Thistle Courtyard. I expect it to morph even more and, just when I thought I would get a handle on it, find out that in reality, I did not.

    In our discussions, Luca had talked at length as to why, in his own words, "a painting is still a seductive proposition" even in the digital age: it's a tangible body, a musing in color and oil that talks to us on more than just one sensory level.

    While awaiting its final shape, I will write about some of the other figures that appear in the painting, among whom another rider, whose surprising presence (at least to me)on horseback I enjoyed very much.

  5. Irina,

    I can see that for Luca the work can't be compromised by digital processes (a "seductive proposition", as he says), as a great deal of contemporary poetry—particularly the kind that goes by the name of "media poetics"—has been.

    Like you my interest in art is purely at the level of appreciation and abstract theorizing, inspired by mostly online discussions.And as far as I can see none of this has been touched in a negative way by the Internet.The few examples of "digitized art" I've seen don't pose any sort of threat to the "musing in color" of more ambitious large-scale productions.

    But that's not to say that the Internet hasn't fostered art appreciation and brought together people into the sort of community envisaged here. I can't say enough how wonderful it is to discover great art and great artists in this way. Without online fora I wouldn't have known Bogdan Luca nor other artists whom I've come to know (like Marion Lucka & Laura Tedeschi, for example). It's I suppose the closest we'll come to an earlier (more personal) age of atelier acquaintanceship & promotion.

    And, of course, there's the art and poetry link that's particularly important to me: nothing at times seems to inspire poetry more than artwork.

  6. Agreed...I am glad to have discovered the work of Marion Lucka and Laura Tedeschi through this message - and to look at their work for the first time....The images of their art bring us an interesting change of (visual) rhythm in this thread - and a needed one at that.