Saturday, April 06, 2013

National Portrait Gallery and # 93 Germ Theory

Many Politicians are hung here
'Arold by Ruskin Spear
Yesterday I took the underground into the centre of town and got off just round the corner from the National Portrait Gallery at the  Leicester Square station, as it was just round the corner I went and had a look. First of all it is far less impressive than its big brother/sister in Trafalgar Square and (to me) far more of a thrown together gallery. Don't get me wrong (as The pretenders would say) there are some great examples of portraiture and real gems on show but the lighting is not ideal and the works are too close together much to much is on display considering the space available. Having said that I have a list of works that did tickle my fancy -
1) Warhol's Joan Collins (which I didn't even know of) was a great example of classic period Warhol.
2)  The Two royal portraits of Charles (The present Prince of Wales)  and Di (his first wife) by Bryan Organ.
Leicester born
3) A fantastic political portrait of the iconic Labour PM  (James) Harold Wilson by Ruskin Spear.
Quinn by his 'Self'
4) Richard Rogers a fine bust by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi -intriguingly I gather that  they are both  Brits of Italian descent.

I also enjoyed Self by Marc Quinn  which uses the artists own blood, Dyson as a comic book hero (to my eyes) created by Julian Opie and for sheer draughtsmanship the drawing of Skyes is an example beyond compare (artist Andrew Tift).
Amongst the politicians painted was a fine picture of the Labour activist John Burns who I was unaware of.



Idea 93 is Germ Theory

 The Crofton book tells me that before Germ Theory there was a concept of 'bad air' (miasma) which was linked to diseases that caused death.
 The laboratory researches of Louis Pasteur  in the 1860s and Robert Koch provided scientific proof for germ theory. Their work opened the door to research into the identification of disease-causing germs and potential life-saving treatments.
The work of the Hungarian Ignaz Semmelweis (1818- 65) and the Brits    Joseph Lister (1827-1912) and John Snow (1813-58) around hygiene and infection is now acknowledged as working towards germ theory.