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Exhibition Review: Mantegna and Bellini at the National Gallery – 1st October 2018 to 27th January 2019

The National Gallery present a new exhibition that tells the story of two artists, Mantegna and Bellini and explores some of their relationship and artistic development. The exhibition entitled Mantegna and Bellini is the first ever devoted to the relationship between two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance: Giovanni Bellini (active about 1459–1516) and Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506).

The exhibition includes exceptionally rare loans of paintings, drawings, and sculpture from around the world which provides  a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare the work of these two important artists who were also connected by family.

Andrea Mantegna was a talented young painter from Padua, when in 1453  he married into one of the greatest artistic families of nearby Venice – the Bellini. Mantegna’s new brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini, was a gifted artist who was bringing new innovations to the Venetian art.

Room One of the exhibition is called ‘Beginnings’ and provides some of the cultural context of the two cities that shaped Mantegna and Bellini – Padua and Venice.  One of the highlights in this section is ‘The Jacopo Bellini album’ on loan from the British Museum. Working in Bellini family workshop allowed the two artists to experiment and develop their own particular styles, a number of drawings illustrate the artists development.

‘Explorations’ in the following room examines the years of their closest creative exchange which was around the time of the marriage Mantegna’s marriage. In this room it is possible to compare and contrast their approaches with near identical compositions: Mantegna’s ‘The Descent into Limbo’  and Bellini’s ‘The Descent into Limbo’ (1475–80), Mantegna’s ‘The Crucifixion’ (1456–9) and Bellini’s ‘The Crucifixion’ (about 1465).

Room Three is entitled ‘Pietà’ and focuses on the origins and development of a distinctive new type of image – the Dead Christ supported by Angels. The works here will include sculptural relief, Donatello’s The Dead Christ Tended by Angels, Bellini’s The Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints Mark and Nicolas of Bari (1457-59) and Pieta (1457).

‘Landscape’ (Room Four) explores Bellini’s remarkable  landscapes, using natural light, and atmosphere to create emotion especially in religious works (such as in Bellini’s ‘St Jerome reading in a Landscape’, about 1480-5). A number of pairings in this section reveals the different approaches to landscape between the two artists and Bellini’s influence on Mantegna with his accurate view of Mantua in his ‘Death of the Virgin’, (1460-4) .

‘Devotional Paintings and Portraits’ (Room Five) provides an important  insight into a particular contribution to Italian Renaissance art, – the development of the ‘sacra conversazione’ in which the seated Virgin and Child appear in the company of saints (‘in conversation’). Here Mantegna’s ‘Madonna and Child’ (about 1465) will be seen side by side with Bellini’s ‘The Virgin and Child’ (about 1475).

The final room of ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ (called ‘Antiquity’) features some of the largest and most spectacular loans, with Mantegna’s ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ (The Bearers of Standards and ‘Siege Equipment’, ‘The Vase-Bearers’, and ‘The Elephants’, c.1484–92) , lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.

Contrasted with these are works by Bellini, including ‘The Continence of Publius Cornelius Scipio’ (about 1506) and one of his final paintings, ‘The Drunkenness of Noah’ (about 1515).

This fascinating exhibition provides plenty of insight into the artistic development of Mantegna and Bellini in the 15th century and how their creative dialogue would have a profound effect on later artists in the Italian Renaissance. Although Mantegna pursued his own artistic path and moved to Mantua and Bellini spent his entire career in Republican Venice. Both artists provided important ingredients like landscape and passion for the ancient world which would be themes that would be taken up and used by the ‘greats’ of Renaissance art like Titian, Correggio and Veronese.

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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Mantegna and Bellini at the National Gallery – 1st October 2018 to 27th January 2019

In autumn 2018, the National Gallery will present a tale of two artists, their families and their cities; an interlinked story of art, family, rivalry, marriage, pragmatism, and personality – Mantegna and Bellini.

This exhibition is the first ever devoted to the relationship between two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance: Giovanni Bellini (active about 1459–1516) and Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506). Through exceptionally rare loans of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, travelling to London from across the world, Mantegna and Bellini offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare the work of these two important artists who also happened to be brothers-in-law.

Neither’s career or artistic development would have existed without the other, and without these works imbued with their creativity and innovation, Renaissance art, by the likes of Titian, Correggio, and Veronese, would not exist as it does today.

The son of a carpenter, Andrea Mantegna was a self-made man. In 1453 the prodigiously talented young painter from Padua, married into the greatest artistic family of nearby Venice – the Bellini. Mantegna’s new brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini, was also a gifted artist who was bringing new innovations to the Venetian use of colour, observed light, atmosphere, and landscape to create an entirely new form of art. Their admiration and respect were mutual.

For seven years Mantegna and Bellini worked in close creative dialogue – something visitors to the exhibition will be able to observe at first hand through key groupings of subjects both artists portrayed. Inspired by each other’s example, they both experimented and worked in ways they were not entirely comfortable with in order to hone their artistic skills and identities. While Mantegna exemplified the intellectual artist, Bellini was the archetypal landscape painter, the first to use the natural world to convey emotion.

In 1460, Mantegna decided to pursue his own artistic path and moved to Mantua, where he occupied the post of court painter to the ruling Gonzaga family until his death in 1506. Bellini, who died 10 years after Mantegna, spent his entire career in Republican Venice.  Despite the distance between them, their creative exchange continued throughout their long lives. Each artist continued to scale new heights in skill and ingenuity but remained forever shaped by their time together and by the knowledge of the other’s work and achievements.

At the core of the exhibition are two historic juxtapositions of Mantegna and Bellini’s work: depictions of The Agony in the Garden, (Mantegna’s about 1458-60, Bellini’s’ about 1465) which have hung side by side in the National Gallery since the late 19th century, as well as two paintings of The Presentation of Christ to the Temple (Mantegna’s version of which is in the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) and Bellini’s in the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice).

For more information, 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 – Painters’ Paintings : From Freud to Van Dyck at the National Gallery from 23rd June to 4th September 2016

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The National Gallery presents an exhibition that explores great paintings from the perspective of the artists who owned them. The eighty works on display span over five hundred years of art history and allows visitors a rare opportunity to enter the private world of these painters and to try to understand the motivations of artists as collectors of paintings.

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The National Gallery since its creation has acquired a number of important paintings which once belonged to celebrated painters: Van Dyck’s Titian; Reynolds’s Rembrandt, and Matisse’s Degas among many others. For the exhibition it was decided to bring together a series of case studies each devoted to a particular painter-collector. The artists included in the exhibition are Freud, Matisse, Degas, Leighton, Watts, Lawrence, Reynolds, and Van Dyck. Works from these artists’ collections are juxtaposed with a number of their own paintings, highlighting some of the connections between the artist and the art they possessed.

Half the works in the exhibition are loans from public and private collections, from New York and Philadelphia to Copenhagen and Paris. A number of them have not been seen in public for several decades.

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In the first room is the painting that provided the inspiration for this exhibition, Corot’s Italian Woman, was left to the nation by Lucian Freud following his death in 2011. It was the interest that surrounded this painting when its was acquired by the National Gallery that provided the focus on the many connections between artists.

Other Lucian Freud’s work in the room illustrate how the artist used some of his collection to explore his own work, most obviously if you compare Cézanne’s (Afternoon in Naples, 1876–77) with Freud’s After Breakfast (2001). Perhaps a surprise is this particular room is the Constable portrait (Laura Moubray, 1808).

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Henri Matisse started acquiring pictures long before he had encountered success and his collection includes many gifts and exchanges with fellow artists. He exchanged pictures with Picasso and the exhibition features Picasso’s Portrait of Dora Maar (1942). One of the works by Cézanne, Three Bathers (1879–82 ) which had a huge significance for Matisse who kept it for 37 years and regarded it has one of the great pieces of art. Dominating the Matisse room is the remarkable Degas’s Combing the Hair (about 1896) whose rich and vivid colours provided inspiration for Matisse’s own work.

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Edgar Degas was considered one of the greatest collectors of his time, buying paintings from artists he admired from the past including Ingres and Delacroix. He also bought from his contemporaries especially Manet collecting the dispersed sections of The Execution of Maximilian (about 1867–8,) after the death of his friend.

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Whilst the French painters in the exhibition were happy to buy work from their own time, the British painters tended to look to the past especially the Italian Renaissance. Frederic, Lord Leighton and George Frederic Watts were well-known figures in the British art establishment, Leighton in his Holland Park house assembled of pictures and objects he had purchased. Among them were Italian Renaissance painting , Jupiter and Semele ( possibly by Tintoretto about 1545). Watts, Leighton’s friend  had his own striking Renaissance painting, Knight of S. Stefano (probably Girolamo Macchietti, after 1563). Sir Thomas Lawrence was one of the leading British portraitist of the early 19th century and built a vast collection, once again he tended to look to the past with Carracci’s A Woman borne off by a Sea God (?) (about 1599 ), Raphael’s Allegory (about 1504) and Reni’s Coronation of the Virgin, (about 1607).

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Sir Joshua Reynolds was the inaugural President of the Royal Academy and was one of the most significant figures of the British art world in the 18th century. His collection was formed as a resource for his teaching and supported his ideas about what constituted great art. Works by Van Dyck, Giovanni Bellini, Michelangelo, Poussin and Rembrandt all reflect the high status of Reynolds, however a painting from his rival Gainsborough’s Girl with Pigs (1781–2) suggests a competitive streak to his nature.

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Sir Anthony van Dyck was England’s leading court painter in the first half of the 17th century and had worked in the studio of Rubens. Van Dyck built up an impressive collection of Italian pictures, his real passion was the work of Titian whose Vendramin Family (1540–5) and Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo (about 1510) dominate the final room.

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This is a fascinating exhibition that features a number of remarkable works from artists that span five hundred years of art history. However it is often the intriguing stories behind the painting that illustrates the many ways that art can inspire other artists. Artists are susceptible to many influences from the past and the present and it is often possible to trace moves in their own artistic development from the works of art they possessed. This exhibition offers a unique perspective into the multi-layered connections between artists and the how collecting pieces of art can often provide a wide variety of financial and artistic reward.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Opening hours

Daily 10am–6pm (last admission 5pm)

Fridays 10am–9pm (last admission 8.15pm)

Admission

Full price                                                                                          £12.00

Senior/Concession/Disabled visitors (carers FREE)             £10.00

Job seeker/Student/Art Fund/12–18s                                       £6.00

Under 12s (ticket required)                                                           FREE

Members go free           

For more information or to book 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 : In the Age of Giorgione at the Royal Academy – 12th March to 5th June 2016

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The Royal Academy of Arts present a new exhibition entitled In the Age of Giorgione which explores artists associated with the Venetian Renaissance during the first decade of the sixteenth century. The exhibition will focus on the important period, just before what is considered the Golden Age of Venetian painting and features around 50 works from public institutions and private collections across Europe and the United States. There are works by celebrated artists of the period such as Giorgione, Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Sebastiano del Piombo, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Cariani and considers the influence of Albrecht Dürer who visited Venice in 1505 –6.

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The first room illustrates the changing face of Venetian portraiture, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, Giovanni Bellini was considered the city’s most prominent painter and the Bellini workshop attracted some of the best young artistic talent in Venice. However, it was Giorgione who was influenced by Leonardo da Vinci that transformed portraiture with a new naturalism that explored some of the psychological aspects of the sitter. The Terris Portrait in the room is one of only two known paintings bearing a contemporary inscription on the back of the panel identifying Giorgione as the artist. Its style has moved towards a technique favoured by Leonardo da Vinci’s which gives the portrait an ‘enigmatic’ effect.

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Enigmatic could be applied to Giorgione’s life, little is known about his life and career and even today there are only a few works that can be attributed to Giorgione with certainty. Most of the information about Giorgione is derived from Giorgio Vasari’s Lives written in the middle of the 16th century. According to Vasari, Giorgione was born at Castelfranco in the territory of Treviso in the year 1478 and was born from very humble stock but enjoyed music and was known for his lute playing. Vasari noted his influence from Leonardo, “Giorgione had seen some things by the hand of Leonardo with a beautiful gradation of colours, and with extraordinary relief, effected, as has been related, by means of dark shadows; and this manner pleased him so much that he was for ever studying it as long as he lived, and in oil-painting he imitated it greatly.”

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It was not just portraits that were transformed in Venice this period, the visit of Albrecht Dürer led to experiments with landscape by Venetian artists. One of Giorgione’s landscapes, Il Tramonto is included in the exhibition which illustrates that his ideas in this genre were often as enigmatic as his portraits.

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Giorgione’s ‘modern style’ attracted artists, most notably Titian who was ten years younger than Giorgione and was inspired to develop the older artist’s use of soft and sensuous use of colour on a larger scale. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the room of Devotional works . Generally Giorgione’s devotional works were small and intended for a domestic setting, in contrast the works of Bellini and Titian are for a grander scale. Dominating the room is Titian’s Jacopo Pesaro Being Presented by Pope Alexander VI to St Peter.

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The final room is given over to Allegorical Portraits which have a personal and symbolic message, Giovanni Cariani’s Judith and Giorgione’s La Vecchia explore beyond the idealised visions of women to great effect.

Vasari suggests that Giorgione was in love with a lady infected by plague and he became ill and died in 1511 aged only thirty-four. With Giorgione dead, it was to be Titian who became the leading artist in Venice and would introduce a new era of Venetian painting. However, even though Giorgione had died, both himself and Titian would be intrinsically linked. Vasari illustrated the problem in the 16th century, “Titian attached himself to that of Giorgione; coming in a short time to imitate his works so well, that his pictures at times were mistaken for works by Giorgione.” Unfortunately for the legacy of Giorgione, this was to present a major problem. Over a century ago, a  large number of paintings were generally accepted by scholars as being by Giorgione. However, today only about 40 have been attributed to him, many of those considered from the last years of the artist are now regarded as being by the young Titian.

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This exhibition may only cover a relatively short period of Venetian art in the early 16th century, but it does give a tantalising glimpse of a Venetian art world populated by some of the greatest Renaissance artists. The influence of Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer transformed Venetian artists such as Giorgione and Titian. Whilst Titian is now considered one of the great artists, Giorgione has been widely overlooked and ignored. This exhibition tries to address the balance by exploring the work of the mysterious and enigmatic artist within the artistic context of Venice on the cusp of its Golden Age.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

Dates and Times

Saturday 12 March – Sunday 5 June 2016

10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm)

Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)

Admission £11.50 full price (£10 excluding Gift Aid donation); concessions available;

Children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free.

If you would like more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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