Don’t you understand, Will? […] we’re very much alike. Without our imaginations we’d be like all those poor dullards. Fear is the price of our instrument. But I can help you bear it.
I can’t wait for iron man 3!!!!!!!
Must see !!!!! Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.
Behind the beautiful paintings featured in Skyfall.
So I came out after watching Skyfall with my BFF. He seemed disgruntled at certain things in the movie. It first started with explaining the topic of retirement, the feeling of uselessness, abandonement and being reborn.
One of the most evident scenes I pointed to him was the museum scene. It is obvious to the viewers when Q points out ” The Fighting Téméraire” to 007. It is easy to grasp James’ feeling of loss of direction in his life, age and the sentiment of being discarded. Pretty depressing.
Behind Bond in the same scene, there are two paintings, one which features “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” by Joseph Wright of Derby. I remember studying this painting in Art History class.
You can see an amazing parallel with Skyfall in this, the subject of this piece depicts a scientific experiment of a white cuckatoo being deprived of air in a vacuumed sealed pump. You can see various emotions and things happening in the painting, some characters are worried about the bird, some ponder how long until it dies, scientist timing the experiment, and some not caring at all. Obviously, the scientist stares right into the viewer, as if to ask, should this continue? Would you like me to kill this bird, would you like to know how this ends?
The third painting of importance was ‘The Battle of Trafalgar’ by Thomas Buttersworth. Now this piece was actually seen inside the box of Mallory in the first part of the movie when M meets him in his office. It was sitting inside a box. The first time I watched this movie, I did not catch that, but I noticed it today and quickly knew it was some foreshadowing about the plot. That a certain victory is at hand, obviously with a price.
However, I’ve only noticed this painting clearly the second time around. It is when Mallory and Bond’s last scene in his office, that the painting was hung between both of them. To the untrained eye, the painting looked like a line of boats in line. The first thing I thought of was, even though this might seem like the end, some perished, but the row of ships made me think that life will go on, just like this is the end of this battle, there will be others ( Or this Tale of James Bond has concluded, but there will be others ).
But it is until further research, especially thanks to this blog: Painting in Mallory’s Office that things became even more interesting. The Battle of Trafalgar started on 21 October 1805 ( Skyfall Came out October 23, pretty close ). Judith does an amazing job explaining the story of this painting on her blog. The gist of it is, that it was during the naval battle between France/Spain and England. Against all the overwhelming odds, England prevailed. Not only are the stories between this painting and the movie are similar, you can also link James Bond to England and Raoul Silva or Tiago Rodriguez in the Spanish camp. Clever indeed.
Another painting of interest is ’ Woman with a Fan’ by Amedeo Modigliani. To those people who followed the news, this painting was stolen not too long ago and has yet to be recovered. This painting appears when Sévérine appears as an assistant to an assassination. According to the history of the painting, it was a portrait of a close friend of Modigliani. Although the portrait is a married friend, apparently there might have been an affair between the artist and the model. Sort of like James Bond seducing Sévérine even though she is bonded to Raoul Silva.
The last elusive painting that I finally found out about is ‘Mr and Mrs William Hallett’ by Thomas Gainsborough, shown behind Bond while he waits for Q in the Art Gallery.
The choice for this painting was rather plain at first. The more I think about it, it sort of made sense. It was a portrait of a young rich couple walking their dog. It might seem pretty tame with the only source of interest being the dog by the lady’s feet demanding attention. For some reason, it fits Bond and Q’s first meeting perfectly. They are both neatly dressed men trying to appear normal and being relaxed in the gallery. Normal, of course at first glance, nothing unusual or special except for a small fact that they work for MI6, it’s their first time meeting each other, and the thing that demands their attention is the Information, Documentation and the Gun that Q hands over naturally as if nothing special is going on. I guess this is pretty subtle. Maybe far-fetched, but everything has a reason, and there was a reason that painting was chosen to be there behind Bond & Q.
* Small Update: I slept at 2 AM and woke up at 6AM for work. I’ve noticed another painting, will research and do an update later. *
* Another Mind Blowing Fact from paintings in Skyfall*
If you take a closer look at the color palettes used in the paintings, you can actually put them in Two distinct categories.
The first one is “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” and ’ Woman with a Fan’ both have a distinguished use of the RED/WINE color. This tone can be associated to Raoul Silva. In “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” one can imagine that the bird is Raoul Silva imprisoned in the Glass Cage and that MI6 are the spectators that are waiting to see what their next step is. For ’ Woman with a Fan’ is simply representing the liaison between Sévérine and Raoul. Another thing that can be remarked is the beautiful Reddish hue is often associated with Wine, not to mention to Asia. This is accentuated with the fact that Raoul Silva worked in Hong Kong in the past, but also in the scene where Bond shows up in Macau with it’s bold Red/Wine decor, clearly he is in Raoul’s territory. Coincidentally related to Spain for Red Wine production; therefore representing Tiago perfectly, bold , full of life and also the embodiment of Fire.
The contrast to James Bond’s side is obvious, the other paintings are of English origin. The blue and greyish hues used reflect his personality. Cold but at times warm, but yet distant. They all have a sort of melancholic feel to them. Probably tied to his childhood, his home, Skyfall, his career and relationship to others. Not to mention that Blue/Grey has it’s own interpretation in the movie itself. The water that drowns him and gives him a rebirth, the psychiatrist mentioning various words with different results such as Sky, and Swimming, the shower scene & even Ice. The other thing worth mentioning is the rainfall in many scenes relating to London, England’s weather in general.
To tie things even further, these two Color Tones confront each other.
Even though they are/were both 00 Agents, it shows their two distinct personalities. A lot of critics mention the good use of colours in Skyfall, this really confirms it.
I was so engrossed with my rambling with my BFF, that I realized later, that I’ve dropped my beret somewhere in the streets of Montreal while explaining all these interesting facts and symbolism of Skyfall. (I’ve only cited the painting related things, not even the other things & events in the movie!)
Daniel, who’s your favourite Bond villain?
OMG…………Daniel is so cute!