The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, November 28, 2014


National Portrait Gallery unveils its latest commissioned portrait...Dame Monica Mason
Dame Monica Mason by Saied Dai, 2013. ©National Portrait Gallery, London.
LONDON.- A newly commissioned portrait of former ballerina and Director of the Royal Ballet, Dame Monica Mason, by artist Saied Dai has been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, London, it was announced today.

In the larger than life-size portrait, Dame Monica takes on a commanding pose as she sits holding a mask, looking sideways at the viewer; a position reflective of a dancer’s poise combined with a director’s authority and scrutiny. The deep violet colours, the heavy curtain evoking a stage in the background and the opulent folds in the blouse and shawl she is wearing create a theatrical feel to the portrait. Dai first met Dame Monica at the Royal Opera House during her final weeks as Director of the Royal Ballet before her retirement in 2012. The sittings for the portrait took place at the artist’s studio in Bath over a period of eight months.

A key figure in British cultural life for over fifty-four years, Dame Monica Mason has led a remarkable career. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to Britain with her family in 1941 at the age of fourteen to attend the Royal Ballet School. She joined the Royal Ballet Company when she was just sixteen as their youngest ever member, and came to prominence when she was selected by choreographer Kenneth MacMillan for a highly demanding lead role in his production of The Rite of Spring (1962). Following this, she showed her impressive athleticism and technical abilities in her performances as Clytemnestra in Elektra (1963) and alongside Rudolf Nureyev in Hamlet (1964), before being appointed Principal dancer 1968. Following a number of subsequent acclaimed roles, she became Principal Répétiteur to the Royal Ballet in 1984. In 1991 she was appointed Assistant Director and succeeded Ross Stretton as Director in 2002.

Her tenure saw the careers of choreographers such as Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon take off and also saw the Royal Ballet reaching out to new audiences by taking advantage of new technology and by selecting alternative venues for performances. Dame Monica was appointed OBE in 2002 and then DBE in 2008.

Artist Saied Dai was born in Tehran in 1958 and moved to England at the age of six. He trained at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and then at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he later taught. He has been a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters since 2004 and the New English Art Club since 2009. In 2006 he was awarded the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and his work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘I am very pleased that we have been able to honour Dame Monica Mason - as a great figure in the world of ballet - with such a striking and original painting by Saied Dai.’

Saied Dai says: ‘The paradox of painting is that whilst the image is static and inert, on examination it must reveal movement and life. This was especially so in the case of a dancer. I was conscious of not resorting to any cliché about dance. Since Dame Monica Mason has spent her whole working life performing through 'masks', it appeared to be a fruitful metaphor to pursue.

‘The composition of the painting is tightly organised – in line, tone and colour. The drapery creates a vortex of movement at the centre of which is the still and hollow mask that draws the eye up to the living head above. I hope the painting works as a compassionate study of the person, before the attributes and appurtenances of her profession.’

Dame Monica Mason by Saied Dai is on display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from Thursday 27 March 2014. Admission free.





Today's News

March 28, 2014

"Alma-Tadema and the British painters of the 19th century" on view in Rome

One of George Stubbs' most celebrated works to lead Sotheby's London Old Master sale

Getty Museum acquires sixty-six photographs by Contemporary artist Arthur Tress

German recluse ready to return Nazi-looted art; Matisse's "Sitting Woman" will be the first

"Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism" on view at the Bruce Museum

Exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Julião Sarmento opens at Sean Kelly

The Studio Museum in Harlem announces spring 2014 exhibitions and projects

miart 2014 hosts over 148 international art and design galleries for its 19th edition

Straight from Berlin: Paintings and works on paper by Uwe Kowski and Jörg Herold opens at Ruiz-Healy Art

Galerie Springer Berlin presents Water Part II by Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky

The Museo Reina Sofía presents the first Hanne Darboven individual exhibition in Spain

Smithsonian Books releases First Ladies Book showcasing dresses, tableware, and invitations

Venice Biennale 2015: Florian Ebner appointed commissioner of the German pavilion

First auction devoted to vernacular photography at Swann Galleries April 17

Heather Gaudio Fine Art showcases works by Esteban Vicente

PAD has filled the Tuileries Gardens fair with the crème de la cèrme of French and international dealers

National Portrait Gallery unveils its latest commissioned portrait...Dame Monica Mason

Antiquorum to auction Paul Newman's racing suit & helmet

MoMA PS1 presents the first museum presentation of Halil Altindere's work in the United States

Five galleries from Amsterdam and five galleries from Berlin announced for Gallery Weekend Berlin

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Greece holds breath as skeleton found in Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis

2.- Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

3.- Meet the ancestors: Exhibition at Bordeaux gallery reveals faces of prehistoric humans

4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

9.- artnet Auctions offers a later example of Yayoi Kusama's important Infinity-Nets series

10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site