Thursday, July 28, 2011

National Gallery and Tate Britain London

Arrived at Trafalgar Square late morning, just as they were taking down all the "stuff" from the ceremony yesterday, which was all about a year to go for the Olympic games in London. My interest as usual was for the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar square, and was very surprised to see this enormous Nelson's ship in a bottle... I thought it was fantastic. Have a look here for more info.

At first I did not notice the large living picture, it is a copy of one of the works of Van Gogh. It is better looked after than the similar one in Swindon which has turned very brown and forlorn looking. (If you click on the pictures, they enlarge)

It was a very busy day in Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery had many foreign visitors, but I did enjoy revisiting the Turner paintings and also had a look at the exhibition in the Sainsburys wing, Devotion by Design.

I was particularly impressed by the recreation of a medieval church with lighting in one of the exhibition rooms... gave a real sens of the time. I also enjoyed being able to look at the back of the alter pieces to see how the carpenters had framed and supported the huge art works. Most of the visitors to this exhibition were quite elderly.. made me feel quite a youngster.

We left Trafalgar Square early afternoon and headed for Millbank... the traffic was horrendous, as there seemed to be a lot of roadworks and so normal routes were closed to traffic. We eventually arrived at Tate Britain.

Here I wanted to see Turners colour and line exhibition, it is changed every 6months and so I knew I was in for some new treats.

As I am very fond of Turners watercolours I also wanted to see the Watercolour Exhibition
A really good video of the exhibition can be viewed here

I was not sure what to expect as I had heard some rather poor reviews from some friends. I am pleased I ventured in to see it... yes I agree some of the 20th Century work pales into insignificance in comparison to other works. The Manuscripts, and miniature paintings as well as the 18th Century maps were exquisite, and I am not normally swayed by these particular sort of works. The ones for this exhibition had been so carefully chosen for their quality. There were good examples of early botanical paintings too.

I think my favourites had to be in the techniques and equipments used through the ages. I found this fascinating... and here Turners colour beginnings, watercolour washes... sung out to me and spoke

..... I was enthralled all over again, just as when I first saw them in 2000 at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. ( Exhibition details here )

I was not impressed by the majority of the current work in watercolour, when I think of some of the wonderful work I have seen in recent exhibitions.... Tracy Emin and the artist who had put watercolour onto a plastic spoon could have been omitted in favour of better work IMHO. After a very welcome cup of tea mid afternoon.. we then ventured to look at the Turners in the Romantics exhibition. Time was getting quite short and I have to confess we did not do it justice.... but I did see some of my favourite Turner large oil paintings.

A great day, hot weather and very tiring... but so worthwhile and inspirational.


Rachel said...

It sounds like a wonderful day!

underatopazsky said...

Sounds like you packed loads in! The living painting is wonderful and I'd love to see a recreated medieval church just to take in the atmosphere.