Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews
Printed large in glorious colour is a row of photographs of Russian women wearing bobble hats (main picture and pictured below). There’s a fuzzy red one, a woolly brown one, one with red stripes against black and another with raised white stripes. Seen from behind, these hand-knitted globes look like a newly discovered breed of sea anemone or a display of exotic cacti.An accompanying drawing shows a woman in a bobble hat standing in front of a church whose onion domes are the same shape as her...
There is nothing erotic or titillating about The Institute of Sexology, an exhibition the Wellcome Collection plans to keep open for a year. Those expecting a display of fertility symbols, fetish objects, kinky clothing or sex aids down the ages will be deeply disappointed. Just about enough objects and images are included to keep you interested, but the bulk of the show is not dedicated to sexual practices but to the 19th- and 20th-century doctors, anthropologists and psychologists who spent...
The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.
Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.
British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.
In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.
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