Picture of the Month

The RWA Picture of the Month scheme has been a long running initiative at the RWA. It invites Academicians to select their favourite work from the RWA Permanent Collection, asking them to write a few words about their responses, and then puts the artwork on display for the public to view.

This month's artwork is: Carel Weight 1908 – 1997 CBE: CH, RA, RWA,  ‘The Dark Day’ – oil on board, purchased 1979. Written by Karen Edwards RWA

Carel Weight 1908 – 1997 CBE: CH, RA, RWA   ‘The Dark Day’ – oil on board, purchased 1979

 The Dark Day by Carel Weight captures the unique sense of composition and drama typical of many of his works. An overcast day and an everyday setting, may seem perfectly normal; yet examined closer, it is imbued with an uneasy atmosphere which engulfs you.

 The mood of the painting is created partly by the strategic positioning of the figures. Carel Weight uses his figures to generate a particular sense of drama which is very individual to him. A rural setting shows a group of people out for a walk. The three figures in the foreground are almost walking out of the painting, as if escaping, slowly but with a sense of purpose. This is characteristic of his painting as he often depicts figures running or walking towards the edge of the painting – as if leaving the scene. There is also a loneliness to the figures, although they are grouped together; one looks out to say hello to the observer, the others hold their heads down almost in shame. Behind them a lady attends to her dogs; although there is nothing obviously happening Carel Weight manages to create a sense of impending doom, giving the painting a mysterious quality.

In his work Weight sought to portray the extraordinary taking place in the most ordinary settings.

Carel Weight was born in London in 1908 and studied at Hammersmith School of Art. He taught at Beckenham School of Art until the war and after at the Royal College of Art where he eventually became professor until he returned in 1972. Carol Weight was an official War artist 1945 – 46 and was awarded the CBE in 1962. He died in London in 1997.