Posts written by Mark Stocker

The Great Ngā Toi Christmas Quiz!

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  As promised, here is the great Ngā Toi Quiz! Prizes include: goodies from Ngā Toi store, Belgian chocolates and possibly something liquid! Answer EACH of the following: 1. Where can you find a frightening notice about a murder? 2. Which art work daringly depicts two women lovers? 3. There’s a Picasso in one art work. … Read more »

Curator’s Picks from the new Ngā Toi/ Arts Te Papa

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Even before you arrive here, you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet: a massively enlarged version of Alfred Burton’s Milford Sound: Cascade from Mitre wittily tumbles down the steps to Level 4. You must bravely navigate the cascade, as a real treat awaits you! Best painting? This must be Strutt! His View of Mt Egmont,… Read more »

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One hundred and twenty five years ago, in a cornfield of raucous crows, Vincent van Gogh shot himself. On 15 October I am exploring the Van Gogh phenomenon in a public lecture, ‘Starry, starry night: looking at Vincent van Gogh’, Soundings Theatre, 6 pm. This is being presented on behalf of the Embassy of the… Read more »

Healing Te Papa’s Achilles Heel: George Dawe Redefined!

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Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in the field are never afraid to… Read more »

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

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With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

Holy mums-to-be! Rossetti at Te Papa

2 & 6 Visitation Rossetti

Mad for Rossetti ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Even the name is extravagant, evoking Italy’s greatest poet and the angel of the Annunciation. It well suited Rossetti, for he was an extravagant man – in his art, in his poetry and in his emotions. Brilliant, witty, generous and loyal, he was irresistible to friends and to lovers’…. Read more »

How bazaar! J.F. Lewis and the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo

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The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing, and promptly sitting down again…. Read more »

The other Princess Charlotte

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Nau mai ki te ao mārama, Pirinihi Hārata! Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and may you prove a worthy spare for the heir, and a mini-feminist in your own right! The arrival of a baby daughter to the most famous woman in the world with an art history degree, the Duchess of… Read more »

Prints fit for a prince: a missive to Prince Charles

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                    Sir, I realise that your punishing royal itinerary regrettably prevents any visit to these far-flung shores during Nga Toi Season 4. Nor does our digital technology as yet permit a truly intimate interaction with the delightful art works discussed below. However, I trust that this blog goes some way towards wafting you into a… Read more »

Art for Valentine’s Day

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Feb. 14 is nigh!  A valid reason To commemorate the season Of love and matters of the heart As expressed in works of art, Chosen from our fine collection And brought to you, with much affection! The Valentine card in the form that we send (and hopefully receive) today only really became big business in… Read more »