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Exhibition Review: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at the Queen’s Gallery from 24 May to 13 October 2019


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace presents a major new exhibition entitled Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing which features over 200 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in over 65 years. The exhibition marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death and follows a series of 12 simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo’s drawings from the Royal Collection at museums and galleries across the UK, which have attracted more than one million visitors.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Royal Collection has one of the largest collections of Leonardo’s drawings which cover a wide range of the artist’s interests. The exhibition features works on painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Although Leonardo da Vinci is famous for his paintings, in his lifetime he completed only around 20 paintings. The exhibition explores Leonardo as the ‘Renaissance man’, full of varied interests and skills. Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is organised both chronologically and thematically and include artistic projects that stretched on for years or even decades.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst many artists use drawings for a quick outline or for practice, Leonardo’s drawings are often very different with remarkable detail. His approach would be considered today ‘scientific’ with the drawings accompanying ideas about anatomy, mechanics, light, water, botany and much more.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The first room includes the well known portrait of Leonardo by his pupil Francesco Melzi (A portrait of Leonardo c.1515–18) and the leather bound album created by sculptor Pompeo Leoni around 1590.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The album contained around 600 drawings and entered into the Royal Collection during the reign of Charles II.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include anatomical studies include The fetus in the womb (c.1511), The heart and coronary vessels (c.1511–13) and The cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman (c.1509–10). Leonardo was allowed to dissect 30 human corpses with the intention of compiling an illustrated treatise on anatomy.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Remarkably there are the only six surviving preparatory studies for the Last Supper (1495–8), the painting still exists but it has been drastically changed over the centuries and these drawings give impressions of how it would looked originally.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Leonardo was fascinated by the natural world and drew landscapes, studies of water, flowers and animals. There are many drawings of horses throughout Leonardo’s work, which including studies for three equestrian monuments that were never completed.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Among the drawings are a series of sketches that he used in preparation for the now lost painting Leda and the Swan.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Leonardo is not known for his cartography skills, but a series of drawings including A map of Imola (1502) were created using highly accurate techniques of measurement.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Preparatory studies for paintings include studies for Salvator Mundi (c.1504–8) and The Madonna and Child with St Anne and a lamb (c.1508–19).

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

All the drawings are not with serious intentions, Leonardo did drawings of costumes for court events, head studies, satires on growing old, grotesque people and animals.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the last sections is much darker, his drawings of the Deluge can be interpreted as the artist looking towards his own mortality.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This remarkable exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to understand why Leonardo is seen as the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’. Not only was his range of interests broad but he indulged them all with a scientific outlook that was often years or centuries ahead of his time. His artist skills are shown even in smallest drawings with incredible levels of detail and beautiful execution. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see a large number of extraordinary works and gain some understanding of why we still are fascinated by the many talents of Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years since he died.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review: The Renaissance Nude at the Royal Academy from 3 March to 2 June 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts present a new exhibition entitled The Renaissance Nude which explores how nudes have been used in some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces. The Renaissance Nude exhibition features around 90 works in a variety of media including paintings, sculptures as well as drawings, prints and illuminated manuscripts from different regions of Europe.

The exhibition examines the emergence of the nude visual tradition and how it changed the character and values of European art. The exhibition feature works by artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossaert, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.

Although nude sculptures have been common since ancient times, nude paintings have a less obvious history. Religious organisations in particular were keen that nudes should inspire belief and not titillate the congregation. The Renaissance Nude exhibition examines art made in North and Southern Europe and considers some of the contrasts between the two approaches.

The exhibition is organised around five main themes, The Nude and Christian Art focuses on episodes from the Old and New Testament. Humanism and the Expansion of Secular Themes is devoted to mythological stories and classical art. Artistic Theory and Practice explores life drawing and the study of anatomy and proportion. Beyond the Ideal Nude looks at the vulnerability of the human condition. The final section, Personalising the Nude highlights the role of Renaissance patrons.

Even though, the exhibition covers a relatively short period between 1400 and 1530, it quickly becomes apparent that the idea of the ‘Renaissance Nude’ is a little misleading. Many people would consider Titian’s Venus Rising from the Sea (‘Venus Anadyomene’), c. 1520 as representative of this view, however the exhibition provides evidence that nudes were much more diverse and often reflected ideas of beauty within a particular cultural group.

Albrecht Dürer’s engraving Adam and Eve, 1504, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion, c. 1526 and Jan Gossaert’s Hercules and Deianira, 1517 offers a more medieval view of the nude. The remarkable Jean Bourdichon’s Bathsheba Bathing take from the Hours of Louis XII, 1498/99 illustrates that even in sacred texts, visions of womanly beauty could be included.

It was probably in the depiction of mythological stories and classical art, that the nude was used most extensively and experimentally. Agnolo Bronzino’s Saint Sebastian, c. 1533, Jan Gossaert, Christ on the Cold Stone, c. 1530 and Pietro Perugino, Apollo and Daphnis, c. 1495 offer unusual depictions.

There were a number of artists who wished to go beyond the surfaces both literary and emotionally, the exhibition includes some of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings and drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo.

This intriguing exhibition gives viewers the opportunity to see the Renaissance Nude in a different light. As the nude became an increasingly dominant role in the visual arts, it was used in a variety of sacred and secular contexts. Whether used in small, intimate objects to large decorative projects that filled church interiors and palaces, the Renaissance Nude led to a series of developments that led to new ideas of humanity and the human form.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and 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
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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.
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Exhibition Review – Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius at the Science Museum on 10th February to 4th September 2016

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The Science Museum explores the many sides of Leonardo da Vinci in their new exhibition entitled Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius which opens on the 10th of February 2016. The UK premiere of this exhibition includes 39 historical models including flying machines, diving apparatus and weapons which were made in Milan in 1952 for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s birth. They are displayed across the five sections of the exhibition, each of which focuses on a different area of Leonardo’s knowledge and expertise.

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The exhibition explores Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering and scientific approaches and the way he used close observation and inspiration from the natural phenomena around him to provide potential solutions to the engineering problems in the world around him. Unlike many Leonardo exhibitions, this exhibition places his work firmly within the historical context of his time. This challenges the idea that Leonardo was an isolated genius but rather places him within the remarkable creative centres of Italy of the period. Working in Florence as a young man, he was greatly influenced by the engineers and mathematicians of the time.

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Walking around the exhibition, the models illustrate how Leonardo’s remarkable skills in creating incredibly detailed mechanical drawings were part of his world view that solutions could be found to many of the existing problems by applying one’s mind and imagination. Many of the mechanical drawings and models in the exhibition indicate the Leonardo was offering practical solutions for his time rather than offering visions of the future.

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This challenges the often accepted belief of Leonardo as an inventor of flying machines, diving apparatus and certain weapons. The section on flight looks how Leonardo’s ability to look at the natural world for solutions is still used by a wide range of scientists in many areas especially modern robotics and aeronautics.

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The models in the exhibition bring Leonardo’s drawings to life in three-dimensional form and offer some idea of the practicality of the various ideas. Whilst some of the ideas like the massive crossbow seem outlandish, many of the models seem sensible applications especially the diving apparatus and the semi automated machines. In each section, games and multimedia installations compliment the models to tell the story of the remarkable mind of one of history’s greatest thinkers.

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This intriguing and thought-provoking Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius exhibition attempts to move beyond our general view of Leonardo as a man out of step with his time. The legendary painter of The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa seemed to have a number of  extraordinary skills that were recognised by many of his contemporaries who were willing to employ him. If there was few practical applications of his ideas at the time, this was probably due more to the lack of suitable technology and materials rather than his faulty deductions.

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As well as the 39 historical models in the exhibition from Milan in 1952 in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s birth. The Science Museum’s collection contains a number of small objects relating to a celebration of Leonardo’s 500th birthday which took place at the Royal Academy in 1952. A selection of these objects will go on display at the entrance to the exhibition.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius opens on 10 February 2016 and will run until 4 September 2016 at the Science Museum in London. Admission: £10, concessions available.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Science 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 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.
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Exhibition Review : Drawing in silver and gold, Leonardo to Jasper Johns at the British Museum – 10th September to 6th December 2015

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This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see around 100 remarkable drawings created using the metalpoint technique. It features works by some of the greatest artists working from the late 14th century to the present including Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Elder, Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, Otto Dix, Jasper Johns and Bruce Nauman. Many of the works are drawn from the British Museum’s extensive collection of metalpoint drawings  alongside major loans from European and American museums as well as private collections, including four sheets by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection.

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At the beginning at the exhibition is a video which shows the metalpoint process in detail, metalpoint is a drawing technique which developed from medieval manuscripts where the artist uses a metal stylus, usually made of silver, on a specially prepared sheet  which leaves traces of the metal on the surface, resulting in a visible drawing. The fine point allows for precise lines so that detailed drawings can be achieved. However, the process is time-consuming and leaves little room for error.

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The technique was at its most popular during the early Renaissance, In Italy it was used to train artists in preparation of making pictures. Drawings by Filippo Lippi, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci show their mastery of the technique producing work of exquisite refinement.

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In northern Europe, early artists used metalpoint mainly for portraits , works by Petrus Christus, Rogier van der Weyden and especially Hans Holbein illustrate a high level of sophistication. Another master of the technique was Albrecht Durer whose drawings are some of the highlights of the exhibition.

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By the 16th and 17th century, the technique was in decline but was still used by Dutch artists in preparation for small portrait engravings. Works by Goltzuis and de Gheyn are on display together with drawings by Rembrandt.

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The 19th century saw a revival of  interest in Renaissance art techniques in Britain led by William Holman Hunt and Alphonse Legros, metalpoint drawings were produced that encouraged later painters to use the technique. In the 20th century, Otto Dix began to experiment with the process and more recently Jasper Johns and Bruce Nauman have used metalpoint for more abstract drawings.

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This fascinating exhibition is one where the close examination of the drawings is necessary to really appreciate the incredible skill of artists to master a difficult, unforgiving technique. The rare bringing together  of  a large number of metalpoint drawings is a unique opportunity to  consider the importance of this particular technique in the history of art.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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

Exhibition runs from 10 September to 6 December 2015

Tickets

Adults £8, under 16s free

Opening times

Monday–Thursday 10.00–17.30
Friday 10.00–20.30
Saturday–Sunday 10.00–17.30

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

Exhibition Review – Painting Paradise : The Art of the Garden at The Queen’s Gallery from 20 March to 11 October 2015

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This  new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace  explores the many ways in which the garden has been celebrated in art through over 150 paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts from the Royal Collection, including some of the earliest and rarest surviving records of gardens and plants.

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden reveals the development of the garden and its timeless appeal for artists from the 16th to the early 20th century, including Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Carl Fabergé.

The idea of  an enclosed garden has a long history and was highly developed  in the Arabic world, China and Japan.  The painted miniature Seven Couples in a Garden, c.1510, from the earliest illustrated Islamic manuscript in the Royal Collection, shows a beautiful Persian garden with tiled pavilions laid with floral carpets.

Before the 15th century, most European images of gardens appeared in illuminated religious manuscripts.  It was to the Bible that people looked for visions of paradise especially in the Garden of Eden.

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Jan Brueghel the Elder’s painting in the exhibition, In Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615, creates an abundant woodland landscape full of animals and plants. Rembrandt’s Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb 1638 offers a biblical scene but in a distinctively European setting.

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Until the 16th century, gardens in paintings tended to based on classical or  religious images and not based on real gardens. One of the most remarkable paintings in the exhibition,  The Family of Henry VIII, c.1545, is considered the first real garden recorded in British art.  Henry VIII’s Great Garden at Whitehall Palace is seen in the background of the painting  behind the unusual Tudor family dynasty portrait. Next to this portrait is two items of considerable interest, the Ruralia Commoda, written between 1304 and 1309 by Petrus de Crescentiis, which is considered one of the world’s first gardening manual, it was acquired by Henry VIII and may have been used when the King  created the Great Garden at Whitehall Palace. Next to the Ruralia Commada  is a 16th-century portrait of Jacopo Cennini, estate manager to the powerful House of Medici, this is considered one of the earliest portraits of a gardener.

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This connection between  gardens and wealth  become further developed in Renaissance Italy  with the production of elaborate horticultural features such as obelisks, pergolas, knot designs and topiary. This is illustrated by the  painting Pleasure Garden with a Maze by Lodewijk Toeput (Pozzoserrato), c.1579–84 which show that Renaissance gardens often became a source of beauty and amusement.

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The competition between wealthy individuals reached almost ridiculous levels in the 17th century,  rivalry between the French and English kings, Louis XIV and William III, produced two of the most elaborate royal gardens ever made. The exhibition includes a panoramic view by Jean-Baptiste Martin of the French king’s gardens at Versailles, c.1700, and A View of Hampton Court, by Leonard Knyff, c.1702–14, the greatest surviving Baroque painting of an English garden.

Aristocratic gardens  often represented theatrical sets with amphitheatres, cascades and fountains, statuary, exotic birds and aviaries, . The only surviving pair of sundials by the great 17th-century horologist, Thomas Tompion, are shown in the exhibition.  Trends and fashion played a major role in the popularity of parterres (ornamental flower gardens) and water gardens

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By the 18th century, gardens took on a more natural, informal style,   An oil painting of Kew by the Swiss artist Johan Jacob Schalch, 1759, is from a series of views of the gardens designed for Frederick, Prince of Wales by William Kent and William Chambers.  Although heavily manufactured the gardens were more concerned  to portray a rural idyll that saw humans more at one with nature rather than trying to control it.

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In the 19th century, it was considered the harmony of the  garden  symbolised  domestic harmony. In the  portrait of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by Edwin Landseer, commissioned  soon after their marriage in 1840, the royal couple create a Victorian fantasy of Prince Albert returning from hunting  surrounded by his dogs with dead birds all around the drawing-room and their young daughter handling a dead kingfisher. In the background is a view of Victoria’s mother being  pushed in her bath chair on the East Terrace garden at Windsor Castle . All through the Victorian age, gardens became the symbol  of harmony and order which became the template for many people especially the burgeoning middle class who began to cultivate their own gardens.

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The exhibition also explores how the 16th and early 17th centuries saw the birth of botanical illustration, florilegia (flower books) and still-life painting.  Leonardo da Vinci was considered one of the first artists to produce true botanical studies, and the exhibition includes a couple of examples by the artist. More botanical treasures include the only surviving painted flower book from 17th-century England by the English gardener and botanical artist Alexander Marshal. Produced over a period of 30 years, it includes many rare specimens, grown only in the finest gardens of the time.

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Flower designs on different materials have been produced for centuries,  however from the 17th century, designs on porcelain, silver, furniture and textiles were produced in large numbers to bring elements of the garden inside the home. The exhibition has a priceless collection of porcelain from Britain and abroad which feature flower or plant motifs.  However Carl Fabergé, the great Russian jeweller and goldsmith began to  replicate beauty of flowers in three-dimensional objects, his piece  Bleeding Heart, c.1900, carved in nephrite, rhodonite and quartzite, has its flowers suspended from gold stems which allows them to have movement.

The Queen’s Gallery exhibitions are usually of a very high standard, but in many ways this exhibition surpasses many that have gone before. There are some remarkable pieces which offer considerable insight into how gardens and royalty have been intimately connected over centuries. Often this connection is about power and prestige but there is evidence that many Kings and Queen’s had a genuine love of horticulture.  Whatever the connection, there is something for most people in this fascinating and intriguing exhibition.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden

The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Friday, 20 March 2015 to Sunday, 11 October 2015

Opening times

Open daily, 10:00-17:30
Last admission 16:15

Admission prices

Adult £10.00
Concessions £9.20
Under 17/Disabled £5.20
Under 5 Free

Tickets purchased directly from Royal Collection Trust can be converted into a 1-Year Pass, giving 12 months’ complimentary admission to the site(s) you have visited.

If you would like 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 , 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 : Kenneth Clark – Looking for Civilisation at the Tate Britain, 20 May – 10 August 2014

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This Exhibition looks at the career and impact of Kenneth Clark (1903–1983), who is considered one of the most influential figures in British Art, It also considers Clark’s role as patron, collector, art historian, impresario, and broadcaster – a man who attempted to  bring art to a mass audience.

The exhibition features over 270 objects from works by the artists that Clark championed to those from his own eclectic collection, many of which are rarely on public display. Highlights include drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection, Samuel Palmer’s A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star, c.1830, Paul Cézanne’s Le Chateau Noir c.1904, Edgar Degas’ Dancer looking at the sole of her foot 1900, cast 1928; and Lucian Freud’s Balcony Still Life 1951.

Visiting London Guide Review

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Kenneth Clark for the early part of his life followed the life prescribed by his status and position in British Society, he was born in London into a wealthy Scottish family who had made their fortune in textiles. After school he went to Trinity College Oxford to study the History of Art.

After a spell as fine art curator at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, he became the youngest ever Director of the National Gallery aged just 30.

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The Exhibition begins  in Room 1 and looks at the portraits of Clark and his family and of the artistic influences on him in his formative years. It is an eclectic mixture of traditional (Constable and Palmer) the classical ( Leonardo, Belllini) and the exotic (Hokusai, Utumaro).

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From these wide range influences when we move into Room 2 we consider Clark the Collector, whilst there is still a few traditional paintings Ruskin, Reynolds and Gainsborough. However the vast majority of the paintings are from the Impressionist school, artists such as Cezanne are heavily featured with Renoir, Degas and Seurat.

Room 3 looks at Clark the patron who begins to actively support artists financially and by championing the works of particular schools including the Bloomsbury Group and the Euston Road School. His patronage helped to develop the talents of British artists such as Henry Moore, Victor Passmore, John Piper and Graham Sutherland whose work is well represented in next Room 4  entitled the New Romantics  and considers the movements  in British Art  before the Second World War .

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Artists exploring abstract interpretations of Landscapes can be contrasted with Room 5 War Time when the reality of war takes over .

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It was at the outbreak of war that  Clark’s private patronage became the model for a state project through his instigation of several initiatives including the War Artists Advisory Committee. Employing artists to record the war, he commissioned such iconic works as Moore’s Shelter Drawings and Sutherland’s and Piper’s images of the Blitz..

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After the war , Clark  began to consider how Art could inform the “Brave New World”  and  in 1969, he achieved international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series, Civilisation, which pioneered television documentary series combining expert  narration with spectacular  photography on location.

In Room 6 we have some screens showing excerpts from the series and the rather stiff approach looks a little dated but was truly radical at the time and provided the blueprint for Art Documentaries for the next four decades.

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The range of pictures, sculptures and decorative arts in this exhibition is incredible where Japanese Prints are virtually side by side with Leonardo drawings, then we have a wonderful collection of Impressionists paintings and sculptures by Rodin and Degas and finally almost a retrospective of British Art in the 20th century.

There is no doubt that Kenneth Clark had a great impact on British Art as a director, collector, patron and historian, however it was the ability to bring Art to wider audience that is perhaps his greatest legacy, the millions who visit the London Art Galleries and Museums are testament that the Arts  are for everyone, and this exhibition reflects how Kenneth Clark was important part of the movement that got that message across using the most influential media of the time.

 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended