sun 29/11/2020

National Gallery

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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The Best Exhibitions in London

 Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy ★★★ A fascinating subject that proves too unwieldy for a single exhibition. Until 13 Apr Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery ★★★★ A novel collaboration between curators and cinematographer Peter...

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Gauguin Portraits, National Gallery review - me, myself and I

“Gauguin was undoubtedly self-obsessed” begins the National Gallery’s latest dead cert blockbuster, as it cheerfully hijacks a de facto series begun next door at the National Portrait Gallery. Unlike Picasso and Cézanne, Gauguin is not known for his...

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Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, National Gallery review - a national treasure comes to London

The National Gallery is on a roll to expand ever further our understanding of western art, alternating blockbusters dedicated to familiar and bankable stars, with selections of work by lesser known figures from across the centuries. Last year for...

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Sea Star: Sean Scully, National Gallery review - analysing past masters

Either side of a doorway, framing a view of Turner’s The Evening Star, c. 1830 (Main picture), Sean Scully’s Landline Star, 2017, and Landline Pool, 2018,  frankly acknowledge their roots. Abstract as they are, Scully’s horizontal bands of...

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Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

Familiarity breeds contempt, which makes it difficult to look at Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen (pictured below). The reproduction of this proud beastie on T-towels, aprons, jigsaws and biscuit tins blinds one to the subtle nuances of the...

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Mantegna and Bellini, National Gallery review - curated for curators

Pitched as “a tale of two artists”, the National Gallery’s big autumn show promises a history woven in shades of friendship and rivalry, marriage and family, privilege and hard graft. Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini were brothers-in-law,...

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Monet and Architecture, National Gallery review - a revelation in paint

Art historians can so easily get carried away looking for a thesis, a scaffolding on which to hang theories which can sometimes obscure as much as reveal. Not so here: as near perfect as might be imagined, this is a beautifully laid out, fresh look...

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Tacita Dean: Portrait, National Portrait Gallery / Still Life, National Gallery review - film as a fine art

Sometimes you come across an artwork that changes the way you see the world. Tacita Dean’s film portrait of the American choreographer Merce Cunningham (main picture) is one such encounter. Occupying a whole room at the National Portrait...

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Murillo: The Self-Portraits, National Gallery review - edged with darkness

Mortality inflects commemoration. So it is with portraiture: the likeness – particularly those which celebrate lives of status and accomplishment – will always be limned with death.The National Gallery’s tiny exhibition of Murillo’s two...

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