Art in focus: November 2020
James Charles, oil on canvas
A young girl, dressed in black, waters red flowers on a grave in the churchyard. Behind her, a man turns towards the church. As we study the painting and think about this quiet moment, we are drawn into the story. Has mother very recently died? Are father and daughter now alone? Is the church, and the cross on the grave, offering support? Is the gold in the sky a sign of resurrection and hope?
Victorian genre painting, like this by James Charles, is often dismissed as over sentimental. Yet its directness and realism can often speak directly to our own emotions. November is a month for remembrance, in which we celebrate All Hallows, All Saints, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. Our memories at these times are marked by sadness, but they can also be powerful recognitions of human love.
Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney
This article was published in the November 2020 edition of Reform