Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 2 at The National Gallery and Red 170

A group meeting place
A pretty good turnout last week for Part Two of the Leslie Primo 'curated' intro to our National Gallery - as you'd expect on a lovely sunny day the venue was pretty busy and we had a bit of a delay waiting to see one of the Galleries' most popular works.
Mosaic - Art your feet
50 artists of note.

While I waited for the  commencement I took a look in one of several shops at the venue and was pleased to find that I was aware of many of the artists in the book '50 Artists you should know'.

I'm pleased to report another treasure that I'd not picked up on before was drawn to our attention - a mosaic floor at the entrance that it's very easy to overlook - the work is by the Russian born maker of Mosaics Boris Anrep and it's rather marvelous.

This week we started in Room 54 and were around the mid 15th century and much of the work we were looking at was related to the important collections of the Medici family.

Many of the works are listed in the Medici family inventory two that weren't are pieces that would have (it is thought) have been above door frames - they're credited to Fra Filippo Lippi and are The Annunciation and just across in the same room Seven Saints .
A busy gallery

In the Annunciation (at conception) the hand of God is clearly shown and a Dove (both symbolic) also the angel and Mary clearly inhabit different spaces - lilies are used to denote purity .

Intriguingly the Seven Saints displayed are chosen because they share the names of  men in the Medici family (even though some are fairly  minor saints) , the saints are recognisable for various traits like the dishevelment of St John The Baptist (back from the wilderness) and St Peter with a cleaver in his head.

A picture that I liked, and felt looked quite' modern' was The Battle of San Romano - Leslie told us that this was painted to look something like a tapestry and the artist was Paolo Uccelo.

The picture that was the one drawing crowds and causing some delay was the work commonly known as Portrait of Arnolfini and his wife (by Jan Van Eyck)- so much to report here - it's oil and to me it's slightly 'eerie' the perspective is almost right and there's a very impressive use of reflection- of himself and a witty signature.

A delight within the Sainsbury wing - perspective

A few things to say, the wife is not pregnant and it's not bedroom, the main protagonist looks uncannily like Vladimir Putin (and attracts Russian visitors), the painting was featured in the opening credits of US TV smash Desperate Housewives.

We've got some symbolism in the dog (fidelity) and a nice view out of the window ( a bit of a preoccupation for Flemish artists) .

We also looked at a work by Robert Campin (or a follower) called The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen - here we spoke about the titillation (priests were forbidden to have some pictures in their chambers) - the work also was an object lesson in how works are and have been repaired.

Red 170

Every few days I see something which fits with the Red theme as if it's been put there just for me - this one's a blast

Hopefully I'm not reflected here  and it's triggered another (2 I think) more 'Reds'
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