Virginia Woolf: Who’s Afraid of Art?

Virginia Woolf:   “One should be a painter.  As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”

Virginia Woolf, 1912
Roger Fry

Woolf is known for her modernist novels, most notably Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.   In all of her work, she employs painterly as well as literary techniques in her portraits and metaphors.  The character of Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse is a painter whose creative efforts are at the core of the novel.

Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister) c. 1918
Duncan Grant

Woolf had an avid appreciation of visual art and was steeped in it. Her milieu was the famous, or infamous, Bloomsbury Circle of early twentieth century London.  Among the key figures of Bloomsbury, along with other writers and a token economist (John Maynard Keynes) were three notable English post-impressionist painters:  Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell, her partner Duncan Grant, and their mentor Roger Fry.  The group had frequent philosophical and critical discussions about each others’ work and about the arts.

The Pond at Charleston, c. 1919
Vanessa Bell

 
Visit Virginia Woolf’s house!   Click here if you are unable to view the video.


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Alice Lowe writes about Virginia Woolf at:
www.bloggingwoolf.wordpress.com and www.aliceloweblogs.wordpress.com

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2013-10-01T13:01:51+00:00

10 Comments

  1. dkremenak October 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    I’m not the least bit “afraid of Art”, however I might very well be afraid of Virginia Woolf. Fifty nine is a pitiable number of years for such a gifted/tortured author. Thanks for pointing her out.

  2. Allison Wells October 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Always learn from your blog. Like its brevity, as well as links. As an avid literature lover, the current blog about Virginia Woolf, was particularly interesting. Thanks, Kirby (and thanks Lydia)!

  3. Lydia Pettis October 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Thank you Alice Lowe. I’m sorry to say I have not known very much about Virginia Woolf. I think I was put off by the film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Now I want to read her work. She looks so sad in the portrait by Roger Fry. Do you suppose he had a glimpse of her fate? Lydia

  4. […] Knowing about my Woolfomania and about Virginia Woolf’s connections to the arts, Kirby asked me to write a couple of guest posts about Woolf and her milieu. The first one, “Virginia Woolf: Who’s Afraid of Art?,” is linked here. […]

  5. Margo October 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Sooo interesting! Had no idea Virginia Woolf’s sister was an artist. Her sister looks pretty depressed too. Wonder if it ran in the family. So sad. . . such a waste.

  6. dan goldstein January 2, 2014 at 3:36 am - Reply

    Musicians and perhaps composers especially can feel this tug from the visual arts. There is often imagery in mind as we create. Cheers and thanks!

    • kkeditor January 2, 2014 at 6:59 am - Reply

      Thx Dan for your comment. I am writing a post on artists who derive their inspiration from music. Do you have any examples of this? Kirby

      • Dan Goldstein January 3, 2014 at 2:16 am - Reply

        Hi, Kirby
        there is a Korean artist named Jean Choi who was doing abstracts for a while based on her responses to certain classical pieces. I show several of them at the Audio Sparks for Art website. I’m not sure how much of this sort of thing she does these days. – Dan

  7. […] Knowing about my Woolfomania and about Virginia Woolf’s connections to the arts, Kirby asked me to write a couple of guest posts about Woolf and her milieu. The first one, “Virginia Woolf: Who’s Afraid of Art?,” is linked here. […]

    • Kirby Kendrick December 5, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hey everybody! Alice Lowe is an accomplished writer focusing on Virginia Wolf. Well worth reading!

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