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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Book Review : Beyond Caravaggio by Letizia Treves (National Gallery)

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Bringing together exceptional works by Caravaggio and the Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish artists he inspired, ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ examines the international artistic phenomenon known as Caravaggism.

Both the exhibition currently at the National Gallery and this book sets out the argument that whilst most art historians have focused on Caravaggio’s life, little attention has been given to artist’s influence on contemporary artists within his own time and some of the generations of artists that followed.

The first part of the book attempts to place in context how Caravaggio like many artists was drawn to Rome in search of fame and fortune and how his particular style of painting attracted a considerable following soon after his first public commission from fellow artists, patrons and collectors.

The main author of the book, Letizia Treves provides evidence that Caravaggio’s early years in Rome were confined to working in other workshops until he began to develop his own particular style. Treves explains what attracted artists to the city ‘ In addition to the much coveted papal commissions, artists sought patronage from illustrious families and powerful cardinals, many of whom promoted their work and gave them lodgings in their palaces.’

Caravaggio’s early style developed into producing works depicting characters from the streets including musicians, cardsharps and fortune tellers. These pictures generated a small amount of interest, however it was the unveiling of Caravaggio’s first public commission in 1600 that caused a sensation and began a certain Caravaggio ‘mania’ that led to numerous commissions from distinguished patrons and great interest from other artists. Treves features a quote from Giovan Pietro Bellori who suggested that ‘the painters then in Rome were so taken by the novelty, and the younger ones especially flocked to him and praised him alone as the only true imitator of nature, looking upon his works as miracles.’ It was not only in Rome, over the next few years, Caravaggio gathered a number of Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish admirers  

Some painters began to imitate Caravaggio’s style almost immediately both in subject matter and in his dramatic use of light. Over the next twenty years, a number of artists including Gramatica, Cesso, Manfredi, Valentin, Tournier, Reni, Gentileschi and Baglione became known for being followers of Caravaggio or ‘Caravaggesques’, although as Treves comments these terms are unsatisfactory and misleading.

The chapter about Caravaggio and Britain provides an interesting insight into how Caravaggio and his followers work was considered over the centuries. Remarkably, one of Caravaggio’s earliest supporters in Britain was George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, favourite of James I and Charles I. Buckingham was unable to purchase an original Caravaggio but built up a collection that featured many of his followers. Others works from Caravaggio and his followers gradually made their way into Britain but usually by being included in collections bought by members of the aristocracy and wealthy landowners. One painting in particular illustrates this particular trail. In the chapter, A Scottish Connection, we follow how one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, The Taking of Christ was sold from the once prestigious Roman Mattei family to a Scottish Country gentlemen by the name of William Hamilton Nisbet in 1802.

The book makes the very important point that Caravaggio’s sensational rise to success was matched by his rapid decline which led to his mysterious death in 1610. Without new work from the master, it was left to his followers to carry the torch. However by the mid 17th century, the style was considered unfashionable. Between the end of the 17th century and the early 20th century, there was little interest in Caravaggio and his followers. In Britain during the 19th and early part of the 20th century, well-known and influential critics John Ruskin and Roger Fry found it difficult to separate the artist from his violent lifestyle considering him vulgar and brutal.

One of the consequences of this lack of interest in Caravaggio and his followers was that paintings were often considered to have been painted by Caravaggio when in fact they were by artists who were using his particular style. Because of these difficulties, many major galleries even up to the late 20th century seemed unwilling to risk buying works at auctions, many of which ended up in the United States.

However the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition and the book offers a unique opportunity to discover a number of hidden art treasures from around the British Isles with the majority of the 49 paintings in the exhibition coming from museums, stately homes, castles, churches and private collections across Great Britain and Ireland.

The rest of the book explores many of these treasures in detail including Caraveggio’s The Supper at Emmaus, The Taking of Christ, and The National Gallery’s own Boy Bitten by a Lizard and other highlights including Cecco del Caravaggio’s A Musician, Bartolomeo Manfredi’s Fortune Teller and The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges de la Tour.

This fascinating and important book, full of stunning illustrations provides plenty of evidence that the obsession with the dramatic and violent life of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has obscured other elements especially his influence and legacy. There is no doubt that Caravaggio was a fascinating figure, who in his short artistic career developed an  original, natural and dramatic style of painting which was considered revolutionary and widely admired. However this book convincingly suggests that his legacy was broad and influenced many other great artists in generations to come including  Rubens, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Velázquez.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to buy a copy, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

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Premier League Football in London – November 2016

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One of the highlights in November is Arsenal taking on their North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur on the 6th November. Both sides will be delighted with their start to the season with Spurs the only unbeaten side in the Premiere League.

West Ham’s move the Olympic stadium has been quite traumatic with crowd problems and a dramatic lack of form. They will be looking to win against Stoke and Tottenham to get back on track.

Chelsea play Everton before a London derby against Tottenham on the 26th November, Conte seems to have turned a corner with his side showing some form but can still be rather inconsistent.

Crystal Palace and Watford are both getting some decent results and will hope to keep up their recent form and move into the top half of the table.

Fixtures

Saturday 5th November 2016

West Ham V Stoke

Chelsea V Everton

 

Sunday 6th November 2016

Arsenal V Tottenham

 

Saturday 19th November 2016

Crystal Palace V Man City

Watford V Leicester

Tottenham V West Ham

 

Saturday 26th November 2016

Chelsea V Tottenham

 

Sunday 27th November 2016

Watford V Stoke

Arsenal V Bournemouth

Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Royal Opera House – 7th November to 3rd December 2016

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Vittorio Grigòlo and Leonardo Capalbo share the title role and lead an excellent cast including Thomas Hampson, Sonya Yoncheva, Christine Rice and Sofia Fomina in Offenbach’s operatic drama The Tales of Hoffmann.

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) is the most popular opera from a composer otherwise better known for his operettas. Offenbach adapted Jules Barbier and Michel Carré’s play, in which Hoffmann is cast as the deeply flawed teller of his own tales. The composer’s death shortly before the opera’s completion has resulted in a number of alternative versions.

The Royal Opera’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann was created in 1980 by the award-winning director John Schlesinger, best known for his work in film (Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday) and television (Cold Comfort Farm, An Englishman Abroad). Schlesinger’s production sets Hoffman’s tales in the late 19th century, the time in which Offenbach wrote his opera. William Dudley’s magnificent set designs and Maria Björnson’s sumptuous costumes realize Hoffmann’s imaginative world.

The story centres around storyteller Hoffmann and his rival in love, Councillor Lindorf. Lindorf  goads Hoffmann into telling the tales of his three great loves – each destroyed by a villain who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lindorf.

Running time

The performance lasts around 3 hours 30 minutes, including two intervals.

Language

Sung in French with English surtitles.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Royal Opera House  website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House – 22nd November to 12th December 2016

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Antonio Pappano conducts Sondra Radvanovsky and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the first revival of Jonathan Kent’s thought-provoking production of Puccini’s first operatic triumph.

Puccini’s publisher tried to prevent him from adapting Abbé Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut – Massenet had already created a highly successful opera based on the novel. But Puccini was not to be dissuaded, claiming ‘a woman like Manon can have more than one lover’. The premiere of Manon Lescaut in 1893 was Puccini’s first major triumph – a hit with both public and critics. Puccini’s sumptuous, richly-coloured score is characterized by youthful vitality and filled with glorious melodies, from Des Grieux and Manon’s passionate duet ‘Vedete? io son fedele’ to the overwhelming desolation of Manon’s final aria ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’.

Jonathan Kent created this production of Manon Lescaut in 2014, The Royal Opera’s first production of the opera in 30 years. Kent finds contemporary resonance in the story of a woman tempted and misguided into acting against her best interests. Designs by Paul Brown create a harsh environment in which Manon is trapped.

The story centres around Manon who meets the young student Des Grieux they fall in love. They elope – but when the elderly Geronte offers Manon a life of wealth and luxury, her head is turned.

Running time

The performance lasts about 2 hours 30 minutes, including one interval.

Language

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Royal Opera House  website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

London To Brighton Veteran Car Run – 6th November 2016

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The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the longest-running motoring event in the world. The first run was in 1896, and it has taken place most years since it was revived in 1927. To qualify, the cars must have been built before 1905. It is also the world’s largest gathering of veteran cars. It takes place, currently, on the first Sunday in November and starts at sunrise from Hyde Park, London and mostly follows the old A23 road to finish at Brighton – a distance of 54 miles (87 km).It is not a race, any vehicle that finishes before 4:30 pm is awarded a medal.

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The Run commemorates the Emancipation Run of 14 November 1896 which celebrated the passing into law of the Locomotives on the Highway Act, which raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 mph to 14 mph and abolished the requirement for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot. The early law required the man on foot to carry a red flag but that requirement was abolished in 1878. The Locomotive Act was still widely known as the ‘Red Flag Act’ and a red flag was symbolically destroyed at the start of the Emancipation Run, as it is today just before the start in Hyde Park.

This year will be the 120th anniversary of the very first and over 400 pre-1905 manufactured vehicles will take part.

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The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run offers a unique spectacle of 400 pre-1905 vehicles travelling along public roads. There are many places and ways to view the cars along the 60-mile route from Hyde Park, London to Madeira Drive, Brighton. If you are not attracted to the early morning start, you can view some of the veteran cars at the Regent Street Motor Show that takes place the day prior to the Run. One of the main highlights of the show is the EFG Concours d’Elegance which showcases 100 veteran cars that will participate in the Run the following day.

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The Veteran Car Run is free to view all the way along the route. Public are unable to gain access to the paddocks in Hyde Park, Crawley and Madeira Drive due to safety reasons, but the cars can still be admired from the sidelines. The Run takes place from around 7am (sunrise) last car leaving around 8.30am  with the event finishing in Brighton at  4.30pm.

Popular Viewing Locations

London – Hyde Park Corner

London – Westminster Bridge

Croydon, South London

Redhill, Surrey – A23 Brighton Road

Crawley, West Sussex

Staplefield, West Sussex – B2114 Cuckfield Road

Cuckfield, West Sussex – B2036 High Street/South Street

Burgess Hill, West Sussex – B2036 London Road

Brighton, East Sussex – Madeira Drive

Madeira Drive is the final stop and ceremonial finish line for the veteran cars. The cars begin to arrive at 9.54 with the slower cars arriving as late as 4.30pm.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Event website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Yang Liping : Under Siege at Sadler’s Wells – 2nd to 5th November 2016

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Renowned Chinese choreographer and dancer Yang Liping presents Under Siege, her stunning vision of the climactic battle between Chu and Han armies; an encounter that changed the course of Chinese history.

This story, celebrated most famously through music, literature and film as Farewell My Concubine, is reimagined and staged by Yang with searing poignancy.

Academy and BAFTA award-winning set and costume designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Akram Khan’s DESH) and artist-designer Beili Liu conjure up visual magic on stage. With a cast of performers who come from styles and traditions as diverse as Peking Opera, hip hop, ballet and contemporary dance, classical and folk music.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Sadler’s Wells website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Rambert : Contemporaries at Sadler’s Wells – 7th and 8th November 2016

rambert

To mark Rambert’s 90th anniversary a programme of specially commissioned work from a new generation of dance-makers, explores themes of capitalism, migration, identity, society, and art.

Featuring new pieces by Alexander Whitley, Malgorzata Dzierzon and Patricia Okenwa, these emerging choreographers each showcase their unique perspective on today’s world.

In Whitley’s Frames, 12 performers skilfully manipulate 70 interlocking metal bars, forming shapes, structures and spaces to cast their dancing in a new light. Dzierzon’s new piece navigates the subject of migration through moving screens and projections, while Hydrargyrum deconstructs ideas related to connection and disconnection, through Okenwa’s distinctive, grounded and powerful style.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Sadler’s Wells website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here