Mitch Griffiths

On a recent visit to Althorp two modern portraits by Mitch Griffiths stood out amongst the classical portraits that adorn the walls in many of the rooms.

Mitch Griffiths uses a traditional, almost forgotten style of painting, inspired by the light and composition of Old Master paintings, but he uses this style to depict the issues concerning 21st-century British society. His main subject is the transient and throwaway nature of contemporary culture, which is held in stark contrast to the permanence and indelibility of oil paint on canvas.

In the October 31, 2012 edition of Country Life, Earl Spencer discusses a few of his favorite things in Althorp and has this to say about the paintings shown above:

I think it is important to keep a collection fresh and alive.  All the portraits at the top of the stairs are 20th-century, with ones by Orphen, Nicholsen and Sargent.  Two works I have bought for the house adhere to the methods of the Old Masters, yet both tackle modern themes.  Britannia (left) explores consumerism, the media and fame and Rehab (far left) is a portrayal of a man in torment, surrounded by symbols of anguish – alchohol, tobacco, drugs and even the curled page of a tabloid newspaper.

The full article can be read here and the paintings can be viewed in more detail on the artist’s website:

12 Comments CherryPie on Aug 21st 2013

12 Responses to “Modern Portraits”

  1. ZielonaMila says:

    Great post, interesting description, fantastic images :) Regards

  2. I hope the exhibition was sponsored by National Art Fund. :)
    Then, I get to visit this stately home free. He he… :)

  3. Lisl says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this artist, Cherie

  4. Sean Jeating says:

    Echoing Lisl. Fascinating pieces of art.

    • CherryPie says:

      Those artworks captured my attention I found them quite thought provoking. They seem to have captured modern society and linked it back to the past in a subtle way…

      • Sean Jeating says:

        Hogarth did it his way. Some of his contemporaries found it awful.
        Griffith does it his way. Some of his contemporaries find it awful.
        You have them at all ages . . . : )

        • CherryPie says:

          Perhaps it is because they find the subject matter uncomfortable when presented in this way.

          In this case I found the paintings excellent and the subject matter quite disturbing, which lead to my comment above ‘the paintings were interesting and disturbing in equal measure’.

  5. james higham says:

    There’s a Russian word “uzhas”, which means “nightmare or awful. That word escaped the lips when looking at the non-classic. Is that really the culture we want?

    • CherryPie says:

      I think the point of his purchasing the paintings and contrasting them with the old masters was to show how awful things have become.