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Exhibition Review – Titian: Love Desire Death at the National Gallery from 16 March to 14 June 2020

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Titian’s epic series of large-scale mythological paintings, known as the poesie, are brought together in its entirety for the first time since the late 16th century at the National Gallery. The series was painted between about 1551 and 1562 and are considered some of the most original visual interpretations of Classical myth for their rich, expressive and colourful rendition.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

From the original cycle of six paintings, the exhibition reunites Danaë (1551–3, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House); Venus and Adonis (1554, Prado, Madrid); Diana and Actaeon (1556–9) and Diana and Callisto (1556–9), jointly owned by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland; and the recently conserved Rape of Europa (1562) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

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Following its landmark decision to lend works on a temporary basis for the first time in its 119-year history, the Wallace Collection has loaned its painting from the cycle, Perseus and Andromeda, (1554–6), to the exhibition in Trafalgar Square.

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The National Gallery’s Death of Actaeon (1559–75), originally conceived as part of the series, but only executed much later and never delivered, is also displayed.

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All the paintings illustrate Titian’s remarkable talent to create a narrative in which mythological scenes contain a whole range of very human emotions like love, desire, guilt, surprise, shame, desperation, anguish, and terror. The paintings depict stories primarily drawn from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Because Titian considered the paintings similar to poetry, he called them his ‘poesie’. The series was commissioned by Philip II of Spain and consolidated Titian’s reputation as one of the most famous painters of his period.

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Titian’s six poesie for Philip II of Spain have had an incredible history, two remained in Madrid, Spain: Danaë and Venus and Adonis. Danaë remained longer, but was taken by Joseph Bonaparte in 1813 and seized by Wellington in the Battle of Vitoria, after which it came to England. Venus and Adonis was also in England, as Titian sent it to Philip when he was in London, having just married Mary Tudor (1516–58). The other four, Perseus and Andromeda, Rape of Europa, Diana and Callisto, and Diana and Actaeon, plus the unfinished The Death of Actaeon, passed by different routes into the collection of Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans (1674–1723). When this collection was auctioned in London in 1798, the five poesie were divided but remained in British collections throughout the 19th century. Perseus and Andromeda was unsold at the first sale, and then changed hands before being sold at the second Duc d’Orléans sale in 1805.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1896 Rape of Europa was sold to Isabella Stewart Gardner for her collection in Boston, USA. Perseus and Andromeda was secured for Britain the following year as part of the Wallace Collection bequest. In 1972, when The Death of Actaeon was offered for sale, the National Gallery successfully purchased the painting with the help of government funds and following a nationwide public appeal. In 2009, the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland jointly acquired Diana and Actaeon; and in 2012, Diana and Callisto, securing the last two of these masterpieces for the public.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This remarkable exhibition is a once in a lifetime opportunity to view in one room, Titian’s six poesie for Philip II of Spain painted in the mid 16th century. That all six paintings have survived the vagaries of war, destruction and political turmoil over four centuries is a miracle in itself and the small intimate exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity to study the paintings in some detail. Titian is one of those rare artists who was not only famous in his own time but has retained his reputation over the centuries, this exhibition illustrates why he is considered one of the most important artists in the history of European painting.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the National Gallery website here

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Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Exhibition Review: Andy Warhol at Tate Modern from 12 March to 6 September 2020

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Tate Modern presents an exhibition which features the work of Andy Warhol (1928–87), the exhibition is the first at the gallery for almost 20 years and explores the man behind the image.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition features over 100 works from across his career and provides some insights into how Warhol’s personal experiences led to his unique take on American 20th century culture.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Born Andrew Warhola, he grew up in Pittsburgh to parents who emigrated from a small village in the north-east of the former Czechoslovak Republic. The Warhola family were devout followers of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church, and the impact of the strong religious conviction of his mother Julia Warhola especially on the artist is considered an important influence in his life. The exhibition also examines how Warhol’s sexuality influenced his work starting with a selection of his evocative early line drawings of male portraits and nudes from the 1950s.

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Both in personality and sexuality, Warhol considered himself an outsider and was attracted to those on the margins of American society.

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One of his early works is the film Sleep 1963 which documents Warhol’s lover at the time.

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Warhol is best known for his iconic paintings of Campbell Soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe prints which provided an unique take on American consumerism and culture. Key works from the pop period are included the exhibition, such as Marilyn Diptych 1962, Elvis I and II 1963/1964 and Race Riot 1964.

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There is also a recreation of the psychedelic multimedia environment of Exploding Plastic Inevitable 1966, originally produced for the Velvet Underground rock shows.

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Visitors will also be able to experience Warhol’s floating Silver Clouds 1966 installation, initially meant to signal his ‘retirement’ from painting in favour of moviemaking.

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It was around this time that Warhol set up the Factory and became interested in underground filmmaking, between 1963 to 1967, Warhol and his collaborators made around 500 films that generally featured the various personalities that spent their time in the Factory.

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Following his shooting by Valerie Solanas in 1968, Warhol returned to large-scale painting projects and the exhibition includes the largest grouping of his 1975 Ladies and Gentlemen series ever shown in the UK. These striking portraits depict figures from New York’s transgender community.

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The exhibition ends with one of Warhol’s final works from the 80s,the poignant Sixty Last Suppers 1986 on view at Tate Modern for the first time in this country which is said to reflect how the HIV/AIDS epidemic impacted on the lives of many in his close circle.

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Perhaps one of the more bizarre exhibits is three of Warhol’s wigs on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition explores the multilayered world of Andy Warhol who charted the immense social, political and technological change of America by creating works of art that mirrored some of the methods of American consumerism. However, the exhibition does illustrate that Warhol had a particular affection for those ‘outsiders’ who were finding their own desires, identity and belief. Warhol was not only recording his own period, he was providing a glimpse of the future where art becomes part of the mainstream consumer society and many people would seek to have their ’15 minutes of fame.’

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern 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.
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Golden ‘bulla’ dazzles the British Museum

Photograph © British Museum

It has been called ‘one of the most significant discoveries from this period, the Bronze age or first age of metal, to be made in Britain for more than a century. The remakable brilliantly decorated sun pendant illustrates the importance of sun worship, 3,000 years years ago.

Photograph © British Museum

The sun pendant, 3.6cm high and 4.7cm wide, dating from is only the second ever found in Britain. The other was lost in the 19th century, although six similar but not identical gold pendants have been found in Ireland.

Photograph © British Museum

This type of pendant is known as a ‘bulla’, after the Latin word for bubble. A bulla is a large hollow pendant made of sheet gold which would have been suspended and probably worn as adornment. The contents of the hollow pendant from Shropshire remain a mystery and are the subject of on-going analysis by scientists at the British Museum.

Photograph © British Museum

The pendant is one of a small number of contemporary, precious objects made to celebrate the religious and sacred aspect of the sun during the Bronze Age. They have been found across Europe, including the famous Trundholm Sun Chariot from Denmark and the ‘sun discs’ of North-West Europe.

Photograph © British Museum

A metal detectorist in Shropshire in 2018, found the astonishingly well-preserved gold pendant decorated on all its shimmering surfaces with semi-circles and geometric motifs. One side shows a stylized sun, solar symbolism is a key element of Bronze Age cosmology and mythology across Europe, but before the discovery of this pendant was very rarely seen on objects found in Britain. The pendant was reported to the local Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire & Herefordshire, who notified the Coroner and brought it to the British Museum under the Treasure process. The Coroner found the bulla to be ‘Treasure and the independent Treasure Valuation Committee recommended a value of a quarter of a million pounds to the Secretary of State. In light of the significance of the object, the British Museum was keen to acquire it and with support from Art Fund and the American Friends of the British Museum the pendant has now entered the collection.

Photograph © British Museum

When it is shown at the British Museum the pendant will be displayed near to other famous Bronze Age objects such as the Mold Gold Cape, which was found relatively close to where the pendant was discovered. Both are witness to the artistic skill and ingenuity of the period, challenging preconceptions that deep history was an ‘uncivilised’ or ‘unskilled’ time.

Before it is displayed at the British Museum, the Shropshire Marches Bulla will go to the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery for its’ first public display later this year.

For more information, 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.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Exhibition Review: Among the Trees at the Hayward Gallery from 4 March to 17 May 2020

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The Hayward Gallery presents Among the Trees that celebrates works of art that are inspired by trees and forests. The exhibition spans the past 50 years and brings together works by 38 leading international artists from five different continents. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the exhibition explores how trees have shaped human civilisation and how they play an indispensable role in our lives and imaginations.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition includes a wide variety of media from immersive video installations, life-sized sculptures, large-scale paintings, drawings and black-and-white photographs. Participating artists are: Robert Adams, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Yto Barrada, Johanna Calle, Gillian Carnegie, Tacita Dean, Peter Doig, Jimmie Durham, Kirsten Everberg, Anya Gallaccio, Simryn Gill, Rodney Graham, Shi Guowei, Hugh Hayden, Eva Jospin, Kazuo Kadonaga, William Kentridge, Toba Khedoori, Luisa Lambri, Myoung Ho Lee, Zoe Leonard, Robert Longo, Sally Mann, Steve McQueen, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Mariele Neudecker, Virginia Overton, Roxy Paine, Giuseppe Penone, Abel Rodríguez, Ugo Rondinone, George Shaw, Robert Smithson, Jennifer Steinkamp, Thomas Struth, Rachel Sussman, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Jeff Wall.

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The exhibition takes place in five galleries, each one having a variety of works. Gallery 1 features a series of photographs by Robert Adams which examines the impact of present-day human activity on nature. A tree sculpture by Anya Gallacio draws the attention as does a six-metre-high wooden sculpture by Giuseppe Penone.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Crowhurst II by Tacita Dean evokes a mysterious old tree.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gallery 2 is dominated by Eva Jospin’s Foret Palatine and the ghostly drawings of Toba Khedoori.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gallery 3 features a 16-metre-long video portrait of a Finnish spruce by Eija-Liisa Ahtila.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gallery 4 introduces us to the wood itself with works by Giuseppe Penone and Ugo Rondinone’s sculpture of an ancient olive tree.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gallery 5 has Jennifer Steinkamp’s 15-metre-long animated video projection which places us in the midst of a birch forest as it cycles through the four seasons.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This unusual exhibition provides viewers with a unique chance to go for a walk in the woods and forests of contemporary art, the enormous diversity of nature has long been a subject for artists and many of the works reflect the beauty and the complexity of the natural world around us. Some artists bring attention to the effects that human activity are having on nature and the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of the natural world.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

For more information and book tickets , visit the Southbank Centre 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
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Exhibition Review- Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 29 February to 21 June 2020

 

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The V&A presents Europe’s first major exhibition on kimono. Considered one of the symbols of Japan, the kimono is seen as traditional and unchanging. This exhibition challenges this conception, by presenting the garment as a dynamic and evolving icon of fashion.

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The exhibition explores the social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and in the rest of the world. Rare 17th and 18th century kimono are displayed for the first time in the UK, together with fashions by major designers and iconic film and performance costumes. The kimono’s recent reinvention on the streets of Japan by an exciting new wave of contemporary designers and stylists is also considered.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Almost 300 works are featured in the show, including kimono especially made for the show, some from the V&A’s collections and the rest loaned by museums and private collections in Britain, Europe, America and Japan.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition begins by looking at the origins of the kimono in mid-17th century Japan. Wealthy merchant classes looked at the kimono as a status symbol to express their affluence and taste, leading actors and famous courtesans wore the latest Kimono styles and became the trend-setters of the day.

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The simple structure of the kimono allowed for the creation of complex patterns using sophisticated techniques. The first section of the exhibition explores some of these designs and how fashion in the period was fed by a cult of celebrity and encouraged by makers, sellers and publishers.

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Kimono were first exported to Europe in the mid-17th century and foreign fabrics were also brought to Japan and incorporated into kimono. The exhibition features rare survivors from this early period of cultural exchange, including garments made in Japan for the Dutch and kimono tailored from French brocade and Indian chintz.

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The late 19th century saw a worldwide craze for Japanese art and design and Kimono could be bought from department stores such as Liberty & Co. in London. Japanese designers began to make bold embroidered ‘kimono for foreigners’, while the Japanese market experimented with European textile technology and chemical dyes.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The kimono’s biggest impact on western fashion came in the early 20th century, when the fascination with East Asia led to designers used the regions symbols and designs in clothes, jewellery and dress-accessories.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The final section of the exhibition provides evidence how the kimono has continued to inspire fashion designers around the world. The potential of the garment to be transformed is seen in designs by Thom Browne, Duro Olowu and Yohji Yamamoto.

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The kimono’s universal quality has made it a popular costume for film and performance. The display includes the outfit worn by Toshirō Mifune in Sanjūrō, Oscar-winning costumes from Memoirs of a Geisha, and the Jean Paul Gaultier ensemble worn by Madonna in her video Nothing Really Matters, the dress designed for Björk by Alexander McQueen and worn on the album cover Homogenic, and original Star Wars costumes modelled on kimono by John Mollo and Trisha Biggar.

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Japan is currently witnessing a resurgence of interest in kimono. Jōtarō Saitō designs kimono couture for the catwalk, Hiroko Takahashi bridges the divide between art and fashion, and more casual street styles are created by small, independent studios such as Rumi Rock and Modern Antenna.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This visually stunning exhibition tells the history of the Kimono, although the garment has its origins in the Japanese merchant classes, it has developed in many ways for the Japanese and global market over the centuries. The exhibition provides evidence of that development and how a relatively simple costume has been recreated in a myriad of ways. It is interesting that a garment that has featured as a part of cultural exchange since the 17th century provides endless fascination with designers and the general public.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, 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 – Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age at the National Gallery from 22 Feb 2020 to 31 May 2020

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The National Gallery presents the first-ever monographic exhibition devoted to Nicolaes Maes (1634 – 1693) in the UK. The exhibition entitled Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age explores the career of one of the most successful artists of the period, and shows how a favourite pupil of Rembrandt made his name in the Dutch ‘Golden Age’.

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The exhibition brings together 48 works, comprising paintings and drawings, from a range of private and public collections. The three rooms reflect three distinct periods in the artist’s career and illustrates how Maes started out as a painter of historical and biblical scenes but soon moved on to paintings of everyday life for which he is now best known, during the last decades of his career he became one of the most sought-after portrait painters in 17th-century Holland.

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Maes was considered one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils and the master’s influence can be seen in Maes early paintings of historical and biblical scenes, which are displayed in the first room. Highlights include Christ Blessing the Children, Adoration of the Shepherds and the Sacrifice of Isaac.

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If the first room shows Rembrandt’s influence, the second room features some of Maes’s most well known compositions. Having left Amsterdam to return to his native city of Dordrecht, Maes began to focus on scenes of everyday life or ‘genre’ paintings as they were known. One of his most famous themes was the eavesdropper. In these paintings the central character in the scene ‘breaks the fourth wall’ and looks directly at the viewer. The eavesdropper stands at the foot of a staircase, finger raised to her lips, imploring secrecy. Maes began to construct inventive compositions in which the viewer is able to spy on the scene that the eavesdropper is intruding on.

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Although the eavesdroppers are among his most famous works during this period, the exhibition also shows Maes interest in portraying daily tasks. Many of these pictures focused on women carrying out duties like seamstresses and lacemakers carrying out their domestic duties.

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In 1673 Maes returned to Amsterdam and began a very prolific period in which he became one of the most sought-after portrait painters of his time, he was said to have produced some 900 portraits becoming a very wealthy man.

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The third and final room is dedicated to these portraits, showing how his style developed to reflect the fashion of the late 17th century. He used extravagant backgrounds to complement the poses of his sitters.

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Some of the portraits in the final room are displayed in their original frames which is unusual, it is rare for the original frames of 17th-century paintings to have survived. This room reunites four portraits from the same family – Portrait of Simon van Alphen, Portrait of Beatrix van Alphen, Portrait of Dirk van Alphen and Portrait of Maria Magdalena van Alphen, all in their original frames. Painted around 1677 they show how the wealthier classes in 17th-century Holland like to be portrayed and why Maes was so popular as a portraitist.

This interesting free exhibition introduces the viewer to the work of Nicolaes Maes who despite being one of the most successful artists of the period is little known today. In many ways he was the victim of his own success, the popularity of his genre pictures and portraits in the 17th, 18th and 19th century meant that he is considered as a rather superficial painter compared to the likes of Rembrandt. This is rather unfair because his paintings of interiors was a theme picked up the next generation of Dutch artists, especially Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, 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 attract 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 – David Hockney: Drawing from Life at the National Portrait Gallery from 27 February to 28 June 2020

The National Portrait Gallery presents the first major exhibition devoted to David Hockney’s drawings in over twenty years. David Hockney: Drawing from Life explores Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to now, by focussing on his depictions of himself and a small group of sitters close to him: his muse, Celia Birtwell; his mother, Laura Hockney; and friends, the curator, Gregory Evans, and master printer, Maurice Payne.

The exhibition features around 150 works from public and private collections across the world, as well as from the David Hockney Foundation and the artist, the exhibition shows evidence of the artist’s different styles and how he has portrayed these five subjects over a period of five decades. The intimate portraits are rendered in pencil, pastel, ink and watercolour, using both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment including coloured pencil, pen, the Polaroid camera and apps found on the iPhone and iPad.

The exhibition features new portraits of some of the sitters and previously unseen early works, including working drawings for his A Rake’s Progress etching suite (1961-63), inspired by a series of prints by William Hogarth, and sketchbooks from Hockney’s art school days in Bradford in the 1950s.

David Hockney made his name in the the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and is considered one of the most acclaimed British artists of the late twentieth and early twenty first century.

Throughout the exhibition is evidence of the way that Hockney uses drawing to make sense of the world around him, but also as a way to experiment with ideas and visual expressions which are often used in his paintings or in other mediums.

Hockney from the early days of his artistic career has experimented with a variety of styles and has been influenced by many artists like Holbein, Matisse, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso and Ingres.

However, despite the different styles and influences, Hockney has developed his own artistic path that often explores intimacy and closeness between individuals.

It is rare that you are faced with drawings and paintings that explore fifty years of the artist himself and a small group of his closest sitters. This intimacy and closeness gives a wide range of psychological insight as the sitter moves from young person to old age. It gives the viewer a visual reminder of how things change but in some ways stay the same.

This fascinating exhibition offers the opportunity to enter the world of David Hockney, many of the works in the exhibition illustrate his curious and playful nature and his relentless experimentation to illustrate the human condition. The portraits of himself and his friends never flinch from the realities of getting old but show a warmness and acceptance that reflect their relationships. Hockney may be ‘drawing from life’ but also finds enjoyment recording his life and the life of those closest to him for posterity.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the National Portrait 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