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Exhibition Review : Canaletto and the Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery – 19th May to 12th November 2017

The Royal Collection presents an exhibition that features one of the world’s finest group of paintings, drawings and prints by Venice’s famous painter, Canaletto (1697-1768). The exhibition explores the work of Canaletto and his relationship with Joseph Smith who was British Consul in Venice and became the artist’s agent and dealer.

The exhibition also presents a wide selection of eighteenth-century Venetian art, with Canaletto’s greatest works shown alongside paintings and drawings by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Rosalba Carriera, Pietro Longhi and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta.

The first room in the exhibition sets the scene with Ludovico Ughi’s map called Iconographic Representation of the Illustrious City of Venice, first printed in 1729. Venice was unlike any other city in the world being built on a series of islands and sandbanks in a shallow lagoon. The wealth of the city had led to a series of palaces being built along the canals with attractive churches and squares.

Venice’s political power had been tied closely to their maritime power and  two paintings by Canaletto pays testament to this relationship. A Regatta on the Grand Canal c.1733-4 illustrates spectators cheering the elaborately decorated eight-oared barges belonging to prominent Venetian families. The Bacino di San Marco on Ascension Day c.1733-4 provides a view of the great Venetian festival of the Wedding of the Sea where The Doge drops a ring into the sea to symbolise Venice’s maritime power.

Canaletto was born in Venice in 1697, the son of Bernardo Canal (1674–1744) who was a painter of stage sets. The artist initially followed in his father’s footsteps, but soon began producing paintings which included the city of Venice as his principal subject. However these views were not just reproduced, Canaletto often moved buildings and changed perspectives to create a better dramatic effect. Many of the artists drawings are included in the exhibition including some of the most famous monuments of Venice—the Grand Canal, the square around the basilica of San Marco and its distinctive Campanile (bell tower).

Venice was considered an important place on the Grand Tour undertaken by wealthy Europeans, to cater for this clientele, the city provided places of entertainment. One of the most popular forms of entertainment in this period was Opera and Theatre, Venice had nineteen opera houses, and the opera season coincided with Carnival.

The exhibition illustrates how Canaletto transformed the cityscape of Venice into a profitable subject to sell to British Grand Tourists, but another popular subject in Venetian art was rural landscapes which were often used as a setting for episodes from biblical stories or classical mythology. Marco Ricci and Francesco Zuccarelli made many landscape paintings, drawings and etchings to cater for this demand.

The city of Venice had been an important centre for printing for many centuries. However in the eighteenth century, printing became a mini industry to produce prints for visitors and collectors. Many artists in the city were attracted by this lucrative sideline, Canaletto, Marco Ricci and Giambattista Tiepolo began to experiment with etching.

‘Capriccio’ paintings and drawings refers to landscape or architectural compositions that combine real elements with elements of fantasy or imagination. The genre became associated with eighteenth century Venice and was popular among Grand Tourists. Several Venetian artists, especially Canaletto, Marco Ricci and the painter Antonio Visentini made many paintings and drawings of capriccio subjects.

Although many artists catered for the visitor market, other Venetian artists worked in a variety of media and subjects in a more traditional type of Italian painting, the exhibition features works by Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini who painted on a large scale, using subject matter taken from history, literature or mythology.

The final room features Canaletto’s paintings of Venetian views with which he made his reputation. Joseph Smith commissioned many paintings from Canaletto for his own collection including a series of 12 paintings of the Grand Canal. Smith also commissioned a series of monumental views of Rome and arranged for Canaletto to travel and work in Britain where he stayed for almost ten years. Eventually in 1762, Smith decided to sell his extensive collection to George III and the remarkable collection has been in the Royal Collection ever since.

This fascinating exhibition offers an opportunity to discover Canaletto’s work in the context of a Venice that was in decline politically but was a popular destination for visitors to Italy. In many ways, Canaletto’s reputation has been tarnished by the work he did for the Grand Tourists. It has often been seen as low quality in a genre that was not highly valued. This exhibition provides plenty of evidence that this view obscures Canaletto considerable talents of a draughtsman and the sense of drama in his paintings. Since the artist’s death, the paintings have also provided a remarkable historical and visual account of the Venetian maritime empire in decline relying on tourism to maintain its past glories.

See Video Review here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Canaletto & the Art of Venice is at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 19 May – 12 November 2017.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection 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.
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London Tree Week – 27th May to 4th June 2017

Perhaps it living in an urban environment, but most Londoners love the trees that are dotted around the capital.

The Woodland Trust and other partners will be celebrating trees and the environment with London Tree Week which takes place between the 27th May and 4th June 2017.

People can visit open events at Potters Fields Park, Waterloo Station and City Hall or book a place in one of the many walkshops and lectures taking place across London during half term week!

Audio trail – Listen to the Trees

Place: Potters Field Park, Southwark

Dates: Saturday 27 May – Sunday 4 June

Time: 10am – 4pm

Ancient Woodland Restoration yurt

Place: Potters Field Park, Southwark

Dates: Friday 2 June – Saturday 3 June

Time: 9am – 5pm

Exhibition for schools

Place: Cafe area at City Hall, Southwark

Dates: Saturday 27 May – Sunday 4 June

Time: 10am – 4pm

Meet the Woodland Trust

Place: St. John’s Church, nr Waterloo Station

Dates: Saturday 27 May – Sunday 4 June

Time: 10am – 4pm

This event, The Waterloo Festival, is being organised alongside The Conservation Foundation.

The Woodland Trust also highlights some of London’s most ancient and special trees with their London Tree Trail.

For more information , visit the Woodland Trust 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

 

Exhibition Review – Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 27th May 2017 to 18th February 2018

The V&A presents the first ever UK exhibition exploring the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his influence on modern fashion. The exhibition explores Balenciaga’s unique approach to his work and will showcase pieces by his protégés and contemporary designers.

The exhibition draws mostly on the V&A’s fashion holdings – the largest collection of Balenciaga in the UK and marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris.

The exhibition concentrates on the latter part of Balenciaga’s career in the 1950s and 1960s, in this period, he dressed some of the most famous women of the time, but also introduced a number of revolutionary shapes including the tunic, the sack, ‘baby doll’ and shift dress.

Throughout the exhibition are 100 garments and 20 hats, many of which have never been on public display before. These are accompanied by archive sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalk footage.

To understand, why Balenciaga is so revered by other designers, it is worth watching the short films on couture-making processes. The extraordinary level of craftsmanship and innovation regarding cutting provide some insight into how Balenciaga used a series of methods that added body to the dress but were hidden from view. To uncover some of these methods, the V&A has used x-ray technology to take a forensic look at the hidden details inside Cristóbal Balenciaga’s garments. These images show structures invisible to the naked eye, including dress weights strategically placed to determine the exact hang of the skirt and boning in dress bodices.

Cristóbal Balenciaga’s garments were highly sought after by film stars and wealthy woman of the period, highlights of the exhibtion include ensembles made by Balenciaga for Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, dresses and hats belonging to socialite and 1960s fashion icon Gloria Guinness, and pieces worn by one of the world’s wealthiest women, Mona von Bismarck.

The exhibition is themed around three main sections: ‘Front of House’, including Balenciaga’s salons, behind the scenes in Balenciaga’s ‘Workrooms’ and ‘Balenciaga’s Legacy’.

The ‘Legacy’ section features the work of over 30 designers of the last 50 years including the work of his former apprentices André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro, and designers such as Phoebe Philo for Celine and J.W. Anderson.

Balenciaga’s attention to detail are reflected in the work of Hubert de Givenchy and Erdem. His pattern cutting and explorations of volume can be seen in the work of Molly Goddard and Demna Gvasalia, while his use of new materials is referenced in the work of former Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière.

This fascinating exhibition will introduce Cristóbal Balenciaga to a wider audience, whilst Balenciaga is revered by fellow designers, he is little known to the wider public due to his aversion to publicity and celebrity. He preferred his work to speak for him and this exhibition provides plenty of evidence of his remarkable talent to combine high levels of craftsmanship and innovative design.

See Video Review here

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion runs at the V&A

from 27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018.

Admission £12 (concessions available).

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information , visit the V & A 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

Exhibition Review – Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave at the British Museum from 25th May to 13th August 2017

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) has long been considered to be one of Japan’s greatest artists and from the 25th May, the British Museum presents the first exhibition in the UK to focus on the later years of the life and art of Hokusai, featuring his iconic print ‘The Great Wave’ of c. 1831 and the painted works produced right up to his death at the age of 90.

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave will explore the last thirty years of Hokusai’s life and art from around 1820 to 1849 and consider some of the themes that inspired much of his work. The exhibition will illustrate the importance of Hokusai’s personal beliefs and his spiritual and artistic quest through major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books. Many have never been seen before in the UK and can only be displayed for a limited length of time.

Although Hokusai is best known for the Great Wave, the exhibition will show a range of the artist’s work which features landscapes, wave pictures, deities, mythological beasts, plants and beautiful women. The works and objects are drawn from the British Museum’s collection and many loans from Japan, Europe and the United States.

The exhibition begins with evidence that Hokusai in the 1820s was beginning to be influenced by European artistic styles. The rare group of paintings from the 1820s for the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, were commissioned from Hokusai by employees of the Dutch East India Company.

It was in this period that Hokusai suffered a number of personal setbacks including the death of his wife, illness, and financial woes caused by his grandson. His daughter Eijo (art name Ōi, herself an accomplished artist, quit an unsuccessful marriage to return and care for her aged father, and to work with and alongside him. It was against this background that Hokusai began to start work on the print series Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji (published around 1831-33) which made his reputation and revived Hokusai’s career.

Hokusai’s most iconic print, ‘The Great Wave’ is featured with an early impression acquired in 2008 by the British Museum. Hokusai created this world famous masterpiece when he was about seventy.

The set of prints of Mt Fuji and surrounding area possessed considerable spiritual significance for Hokusai. It was the search for a spiritual essence that informed Hokusai’s style, his painting of birds, animals and plants and other natural subjects saw them as part of a mysterious natural world.

Part of this world was ghosts and vengeful spirits who inhabited a parallel dimension, the exhibition displays a magnificent hanging loan from the Metropolitan Museum in New York of Red Shōki, the demon-queller.

Particularly in his later years, Hokusai’s was fascinated by the mythical world of dragons, Chinese lions, phoenixes and eagles, and mythological figures and holy men.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is two magnificent painted ceiling panels of wave subjects loaned by Hokusaikan, Obuse, done in 1845 for a festival cart.

This fascinating exhibition offers the opportunity to discover Hokusai’s extraordinary career beyond the Great Wave. Remarkably the latter part of his life was often his most productive using his unique style to paint traditional Japanese subjects. Looking closely at the works provide evidence of the artist’s skill to make his subjects ‘ come alive ‘ with dynamic intention.

There will be a rotation of about half the artworks midway through the exhibition run for conservation reasons. Due to their light sensitivity some works can only be displayed for a limited amount of time, to preserve the vivid colours. Each rotation will tell the same story, but there will be the opportunity to see a selection of different works in each half. The exhibition will feature around 110 works in each rotation. The exhibition will be temporary closed from 3-6 July 2017 for this rotation.

See Video Review here

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave at the British Museum

25 May – 13 August 2017

Tickets £12.00, children under 16 free

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the British Museum 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.
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here

Rodin: The Birth of Modern Sculpture at Bowman Sculpture – 7th June to 27th July 2017

Bowman Sculpture celebrates Auguste Rodin’s contribution to the history of art with The Birth of Modern Sculpture, an exhibition of over thirty works including a rare lifetime cast of the artist’s famed Eternal Spring (conceived in 1884) as well as a selection of his most renowned pieces such as The Thinker, The Kiss, Balzac and Man with a Broken Nose. The exhibition will also include original copies of letters written by Rodin and a number of drawings unseen in public.

Coinciding with the centenary of the death of Rodin (b. 1840 – d. 1917), The Birth of Modern Sculpture aims to underline Rodin’s enduring sculptural legacy with significant works ranging from the early years to his late abstracted figures.

Amongst Rodin’s earlier work, visitors will be able to see Maquette for The Burghers of Calais, which the sculptor first conceived in 1884 as the inspiration for his emblematic monument. Created as a homage to the brave citizens of Calais who sacrificed themselves to the invading English forces during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), this rare model (cast in 1975) offers us a fascinating insight into the artist’s early concept for this commemorative public sculpture.

Among the extremely rare works on show is Rodin’s Fugit Amor, originally conceived in marble in 1887, and later cast in bronze for the Musée Rodin by the Alexis Rudier foundry in 1944. First realised as part of The Gates of Hell and inspired by the story of Paolo and Francesca from Dante’s Inferno, the two figures known as Fugit Amor can be seen twice on the right hand door. Another example of a notable work on display is The Abduction of Hippodamie (c1871), an early work part modelled by Rodin under the mentorship of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824–1887). Depicting a centaur carrying a young woman, The Abduction of Hippodamie is a remarkable example of two sculptors collaborating with surprising effect.

The Birth of Modern Sculpture will also showcase three works from the later part of Rodin’s career such as his Mouvement de danse figures. The artist’s late dance figures have enjoyed a marked revival in interest, particularly in the UK, and the exhibition at Bowman Sculpture will be an opportunity to see a number of rarely-seen bronzes. Works such as Pas de Deux – Mouvement de Danse Type G, conceived in 1911, showing dancers with exaggerated poses is an excellent example of Rodin’s later move towards abstraction.

The Birth of Modern Sculpture will be staged in September at 1 Canada Square in London’s Canary Wharf, offering visitors another unique opportunity to see these beautiful works.

Bowman Sculpture is based at 6 Duke Street, St James’s, London, and is one of the foremost gallery’s in the world for sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

If you would like further information , visit the Bowman Sculpture website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the 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

 

NADFAS becomes The Arts Society

The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), a 90,000 member-strong arts education charity founded nearly fifty years ago, has changed its name to The Arts Society.

The Arts Society will build on the strength of the current organisation which has a network of 400 volunteer-driven local societies and contributes to around 500 separate projects each year, donates around £200,000 annually to arts initiatives and contributes around £3M worth of volunteer work to the heritage sector.

The Arts Society works to promote and advance arts education and works to preserve our artistic heritage. It supports the arts, locally, nationally and globally by organising regular events, including study days, cultural visits, tours and lectures.

The Society often supports artists and students in the arts to undertake specialist skills, provides volunteers in museums, churches, historic houses and galleries to help to keep them running.

Each year, the Society works with the Royal Society of British Artists to give talented young artists the chance to be displayed in the RBA Annual Exhibition in London’s Mall

Volunteers contribute to the preservation of collections, deepening the understanding of the nation’s treasures through lengthy digitisation work, photography, archiving and cataloguing.

In Birmingham, the Society has created arts and history trails between diverse places of worship, helping to bring communities together and to spread appreciation of the similarities and differences between religions in local areas.

The Arts Society offers more than 5400 hours of lectures each year, covering architecture, archaeology, painting, prints, sculpture, textiles, furniture, furnishings, costume, glass and ceramics, enamel, metalwork, garden design, installation art, music, dance, theatre, literature and film.

If you would like further information , visit the NADFAS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the 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

Musicity London – 8th to 10th September 2017

Do you associate a place with a piece of music ? A new project is taking this concept a stage further by creating new songs and music inspired by the buildings of London.

Musicity London will run from the 8th to 10th September and combines music, architecture and technology to build a living archive of the sounds of cities.

Artists involved in the project include Sean O’Hagan, William Doyle (formerly East India Youth), Throwing Shade, Stick in the Wheel, Hejira, patten, Moses Boyd (of acclaimed jazz duo Binker and Moses).

A new project which brings the buildings of cities across the world to musical life, will stage a weekend celebration of the architecture of London this June. Musicity invites musicians to choose a building and then create new songs and compositions inspired by the design, history or their personal connections to that place. The new track is then available for free streaming or download via the new, free Musicity app on any smartphone, but only at that particular location..

Created by BBC broadcaster, DJ and music curator, Nick Luscombe, Musicity is a new kind of travel guide to a city, exploring the ways in which cities influence the culture that emerges from within them and the melodies and stories inspired by our personal experiences of architecture. The plan is to build soundtracks of cities – with compilations of the tracks eventually being released as a physical box set.

The Musicity London event will focus on Southwark, one of the oldest parts of the capital, Contemporary architecture and old buildings coexist in a borough that takes in Borough, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth, Peckham, Camberwell, Peckham Rye, Nunhead and Dulwich. During the event, the buildings themselves will become venues for live performances and discussions.

Among the 17 London compositions already completed are pieces inspired by Battersea Power Station, the BT Tower, Blackfriars Bridge and the Old Royal Naval College and covering all sorts of styles: pop, folk, electronic, ambient, modern classical and spoken word, to name a few. The project is not limited to London; so far, 43 tracks have been created across 7 cities, including, Oslo, Tokyo and Singapore.

A unique aspect of the commissioning process is that Musicity encourages all musicians to gain an understanding of the fabric of each space, by working with architect and sound artist Paul Bavister from architectural firm Flanagan Lawrence. Paul has visited the sites with the musicians, taking acoustic data (e.g. sound reverberation and clarity) from each building. This information helps to set the written music within the sonic constraints of the site itself, resulting in truly site-specific works.

 

Full details of venues and event times at musicityglobal.com

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the 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