sun 19/05/2024

National Gallery

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art, National Gallery review - an impressive tour de force

What a feast! Congratulations are due to the National Gallery for its latest blockbuster After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art. Such a superb collection of modern masters is unlikely to be assembled again under one roof, so this is a once-in-a-...

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The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance, National Gallery review - put in context, a much-loved picture reveals its complexity

Despite the fact that it’s a cruel depiction of an aging woman, I have always loved Quinten Massys’ The Ugly Duchess (pictured below, left). The Flemish artist invites us to laugh at an old dear who, in the hope of attracting a suitor, has tucked...

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Lucian Freud: New Perspectives, National Gallery review - a powerful punch in the gut

There stands Lucian Freud in Reflection with Two Children (Self-portrait), 1965 (main picture) towering over you, peering mercilessly down. Is that a look of scorn on his face or merely one of detachment? His two kids seem to be squirming and...

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Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, National Gallery review - dump the symbolism and enjoy the drama

Across the pond Winslow Homer is a household name; in his day, he was regarded as the greatest living American painter. He was renowned especially for his seascapes and his most famous painting, The Gulf Stream, 1899/1906 (main picture) features in...

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Ali Cherri: If you prick us, do we not bleed?, National Gallery review - cabinets of curiosity

I’m a sucker for traditional vitrines and the procession of old style display cases installed by Ali Cherri in the Renaissance galleries of the Sainsbury Wing look very handsome.During his residency at the National Gallery, the Lebanese artist has...

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Kehinde Wiley, National Gallery review - more than meets the eye

American artist Kehinde Wiley may be best known for his photo-realist portrait of Barack Obama, but painting powerful black men is not the norm. More often he elevates people met on the street in Brooklyn, Dalston or Dakar to positions of pseudo...

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The Lost Leonardo review - an incredible tale as gripping as any thriller

It’s been described as “the most improbable story that has ever happened in the art market”, and The Lost Leonardo reveals every twist and turn of this extraordinary tale. In New Orleans in 2005, a badly-damaged painting (pictured below left)...

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‘The Healing Power of Music’: composer Nigel Hess on great-aunt Myra’s wartime concerts

It has been well-documented over the last few months that there has been an upsurge in listener numbers for many radio stations offering classical music – notably BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Scala Radio – and, during these unprecedented times it...

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Best of 2020: Visual Arts

Unhappy as it is to be ending the year with museums and galleries closed, 2020 has had its triumphs, and there is plenty to look forward to in 2021. Two much anticipated exhibitions at the National Gallery were delayed and subject to closures and...

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Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

Sin, what a wonderful theme for a show – so wonderful, in fact, that it merits a major exhibition. The National Gallery’s modest gathering of 14 pictures, mainly from the collection, can’t possibly do it justice; yet it’s worth a visit if only to...

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Artemisia, National Gallery review - worth the wait

It takes nerve to throw a shadow across the face of your heroine, still more to banish to the margins the severed head that might so easily dominate the painting’s centre ground. Instead, in imagining the aftermath of Judith’s beheading of...

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Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age, National Gallery review – beautifully observed vignettes

A young woman sits sewing (pictured below right: Young Woman Sewing,1655). She is totally immersed in her task, and our attention is similarly focused on her and every detail of her environment. The cool light pouring though the window illuminates...

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