Tuesday, February 27, 2018

National Portrait Gallery - CityLit course

NPG not the poor relation of The National

Yesterday was the first session at London's National Portrait Gallery with city Lit Course VB151 - and what a good time I had with it.

It was a cold day but worth making the journey!

A Gull made it into London too

As I found with the last Gallery tour course (around the corner at the National Gallery) Leslie Primo, the course leader is not only a talented communicator on Art he is also very well organised when it come to running classes - this time he was there with handouts and registers and explained the structure which is a chronological run through of some of the important works at the NPG.

 A good mixture of people in attendance and as well as those who have paid and enrolled there were a number f visitors who latched on to the explanations.

The first session was very much about portraits of  English Kings, Queens and some nobility.

A selection of paintings of English Royalty

Early paintings (on wood rather than canvas) were not attributed to an 'Artist' and were often copies of other likenesses doing the rounds.
A more 'natural' approach

As painting developed European influences meant that standards were improved and new techniques became accepted, some artists worked on canvas and became known for their particular approach.

There was (it was agreed) even then a tension between imported talent (artists sometimes  fleeing religious persecution)  and bringing on 'homegrown' artists.

Many of the artists from Germany and the low countries were able to show great skill in their work, they often had a more natural approach to their subjects  and by virtue of their talents  became 'court' painters (like Holbein) often taking English nationality (to lower their taxes).

It was really interesting to see a number of paintings of Elizabeth I which reflected the audience they were aimed at (some personified her as England).

Not all paintings made reflected how she aged or her waist size!

A Portrait of Elizabeth 

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