Dave's Pics

From Caravaggio to Cubism: Bridgeman’s digital image technician, Dave Nicol, reveals his favourite images in the archive and how they've inspired his own artwork. 

 
 
What is your role at Bridgeman?
   
In my opinion, I have the best position within the Library. On a daily basis I am working on extraordinary images, recreating them into the highest-quality digital files. We take great care in getting as close as possible to the original. When possible, we are given guidance from particular artist’s estates or online references from museums holding the particular painting. We will also create customized files for our clients; this could involve large scans for murals or backdrops on film projects. We cater for many individual requests on a daily basis.
 
 
When did you join the Library? 
 
I started my professional life in a commercial art studio, working on diverse projects from cigarette campaigns to creating album covers. I later started my own company, and Bridgeman became one of our clients. Then, just over ten years ago, I started working full-time for Bridgeman. Harriet Bridgeman had the foresight to high-end scan and restore some of the Libraries collections.

 

 

Bridgeman’s digital image technician, Dave Nicol
Bridgeman’s digital image technician, Dave Nicol

 

 

Self-Portrait, 2010 (acrylic on canvas) by Dave Nicol
Self-Portrait, 2010 (acrylic on canvas) by Dave Nicol

 

 
 
What do you love most about the job?
 
The diversity of the subject matter. The Library has a wealth of images ranging from a worldwide collection of art, ceramics, furniture and historical photography. Working with these images is an education in itself.
 
 
When did you start recreating your favourite paintings?
 
Since working as a commercial artist in my early 20s, I frequently referenced artworks by other people, whether I was designing cigarette packages or car posters. I have an affection for images interpreted in different mediums.
 

 

Dave's favouite pictures and footage in the Bridgeman archive are...

1. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

'Les Demoiselles' is considered Picasso's first major step towards cubism [left], and I am entranced by its detached realistic spirit. I also admire Patrick Caulfield's work. His adaptation [centre], to me, is perfection: I love pop art and its ironic view of the world in bold design. For my own interpretation, I was lucky enough to work for many years with the photographer Jimmy Wormser.  We both shared a love for Picasso and this creation [right] was a joint venture in paying our own homage.

 
Left: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 (oil on canvas) by Pablo Picasso | Middle:  Les Demoiselles d'Avignon vues de Derriere, 1999 (screenprint) by Patrick Caulfield | Right: After Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 2003 (digital) by Dave Nichol & Jimmy Wormser
Left: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 (oil on canvas) by Pablo Picasso | Middle: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon vues de Derriere, 1999 (screenprint) by Patrick Caulfield | Right: After Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 2003 (digital) by Dave Nichol & Jimmy Wormser

 

 

2. Las Meninas

I consider this Velasquez painting [left] as one of the greatest ever made. I also love all aspects of Picasso's work, but in particular his modernist take on 'Las Meninas' [centre] hit a true chord with me. Finally, when Richard Hamilton was asked to produce a tribute to Picasso for his 90th birthday, it provided him the opportunity to run all periods of Picasso work in one etching. The result [right] is truly remarkable. Both Picasso and Hamilton made many versions of these etchings. It is working in different mediums I find most inspiring.

 

Left: Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV, c.1656 (oil on canvas) by Velazquez | Middle:  Las Meninas, No.1, 1957 (oil on canvas) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) | Right: Picasso's Meninas (etching, engraving & aquatint), by Richard Hamilton (1922-2011)
Left: Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV, c.1656 (oil on canvas) by Velazquez | Middle: Las Meninas, No.1, 1957 (oil on canvas) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) | Right: Picasso's Meninas (etching, engraving & aquatint), by Richard Hamilton (1922-2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Captivating Caravaggio

Caravaggio's paintings stand the test of time. To me, they combine the realism of the human spirit, full of emotion and drama. His life was as dramatic his paintings.

 

Narcissus, c.1597-99 (oil on canvas), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)  / Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy
Narcissus, c.1597-99 (oil on canvas), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) / Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy

 

 

Animals in a Landscape, 1914 (oil on canvas), Franz Marc (1880-1916) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA
Animals in a Landscape, 1914 (oil on canvas), Franz Marc (1880-1916) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA

 

 

 

 

 

4. Marc's Abstract Animals

During Franz Marc's short life, he produced work usually of animals in natural setting, but these were conceived to be almost cubist, using wonderful vibrant colour in an abstract fashion. 

 

 

 

 

5. Matisse's Stained Glass

Matisse's stained glass windows at the Rosaire Chapel was created towards the end of his life. I admire an artist who uses other mediums to expand their art. To me, this is Matisse's living masterpiece.

 

General View of the Interior of the Chapel of the Rosary, Vence, 1948-51 (mixed media), Henri  Matisse (1869-1954)
General View of the Interior of the Chapel of the Rosary, Vence, 1948-51 (mixed media), Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

 

 

Still from 'Figures In A Landscape; Barbara Hepworth', 1953, British Film Institute series (footage)
Still from 'Figures In A Landscape; Barbara Hepworth', 1953, British Film Institute series (footage)

 

 

 

6. Happy Hepworth Memories

During my early 20s, I spent most of my free time in Cornwall. A good friend in St Ives introduced me to Barbara Hepworth's work. Her artwork always brings back happy memories of my youth and my artistic awakening.

"I work with these wonderful images on a daily basis. I am truly blessed." 

 
Bridgeman's Research, Re-touching and Copyright Service
 
Need help with a project?  Contact our team of in-house experts who work with our collections to source the cultural and historical footage and stills that you need. Our archive is growing all the time so there is always something new to discover.
 

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