Friday, March 29, 2013

London's National Gallery and #87 Quantum Theory

Yesterday I visited England's National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, this must surely be one of the premier galleries in the world with staggering paintings room after room. It strikes me that one of the great things about free galleries is that you can leave when you have taken enough (or slightly too much) in without thinking you've not got you're Monet's worth (tee hee) - the downside is that the gallery's do get incredibly busy.

It is amazing how much work there is in the gallery of a devotional kind particularly that from Italy.
Artists and works who stood out for me included George Seurat 'Bathers at Asnières' as Jonathan Jones points out here the painting should be enjoyed and not just admired.
Having Mentioned Italian works I should give a nod to Canaletto The Stonemason's Yard (Campo S Vidal..) -Canaletto's works reflect great expertise and craftsmanship I like this one as it doesn't have his rather irritating  stylistic trick around representing water.
It was amazing to see great works by Turner, Gainsborough and Constable as well as Van Gogh, Rubens and Dirk Bouts(American Landscape Painter). The treat for me though was to find artists I've not heard of like Dosso Dossi and his Adoration of the Kings  as well as Cesare da Sesto's Salome.
It was good to know that Reubens was keen to give the audience and benefactors what they wanted with works like Judgement of Paris (a subject he returned to repeatedly).
Foe me though the standout work is An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (below) by Joseph Wright of Derby who reflected the enlightenment period he lived in through the subjects of many of his paintings - to consider the work is of the 18th century means it is (for me) truly out of time and the use of light to create focus and interest is characteristic of Wright's paintings. Wright was a great one for painting titles too.
On subject of artists I thought that 'What do Artists do all day?' programme (BBC TV show) on an up to date taxidermist Polly Morgan was rather good.

so a bit of enlightenment .. Idea 87 is Quantum Theory

Idea 87 represents what is a Paradigm Shift marking the theory that energy and matter (at sub atomic level) was not continuous like water from a tap but arrived as quanta and behaved like both particles and waves and its behaviour was best predicted using statistics.
The three big names associated with Quantum theory are Max Planck Einstein and Niels Bohr. Planck had arrive at quanta mathematically and was not wholly satisfied with the behaviour that they pointed towards. Einstein built upon Planck's' work using the constant that had been named after Plank in his photoelectric effect  work. Niels Bohr was Nobel prize winner by virtue of his work around atomic structure. Nice podcast on Quantum mechanics here.