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Exhibition Review : Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art at the National Gallery – 17th February to 22nd May 2016

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The National Gallery presents Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art, the first major exhibition of Delacroix’s art in Britain for more than 50 years. The exhibition explores Delacroix’s remarkable career and his influence on the generations of artists that followed him.

Eugène Delacroix was one of the most famous and controversial French painters of the first half of the 19th century and this exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to better understand the work of this influential artist. It will include over 60 works borrowed from 30 major public and private collections around the world.

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Delacroix from the beginning of his career was an artist that divided opinion, his first submission to the Paris Salon in 1822, Barque of Dante was derided by the critics and the public, yet was later purchased by the French State. This pattern of opposition and support continued throughout Delacroix’s career.

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Delacroix travelled to England in 1825 where he visited the studios of Thomas Lawrence and Richard Parkes Bonington. English painting influenced his full-length portrait of Louis-Auguste Schwiter. Greatly influenced by the works of Peter Paul Rubens, his classical and religious themes are full of violence and sensuality illustrated here by his The Death of Sardanapalus and  The Lion Hunt.

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Delacroix always liked the exotic and his trip to Morocco in 1832 would provide subject matter for many of his future paintings which included The Convulsionists of Tangiers , A Moroccan mounting his Horse  and View of Tangier with figures .

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The exhibition illustrates that Delacroix, although best known for his large dramatic pieces was equally skilled with still life and landscapes. Within the rooms that illustrate this expertise is works from later artists who had often looked at Delacroix for inspiration. Delacroix’s Basket of Fruit in a Flower Garden shares a room with Van Gogh’s Still Life with Meadow Flowers with Rose, Gauguin’s A Vase of Flowers and Courbet’s The Trellis.

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In the Landscape room, Delacroix’s Landscape near Champrosay  shares the room with Van Gogh’s enigmatic Olive Trees and Cezanne’s River Landscape.

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If Delacroix’s work was universally not accepted when he was alive, after his death in 1863, generations of artists began to explore his work and especially his vivid and dramatic use of colour. Although it is difficult to consider how much influence an artist may have  on later generations, there is little doubt that Delacroix  was greatly admired by artists such as Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Matisse.

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This is a fascinating exhibition that provides plenty of evidence that the work of Delacroix has generally been overlooked in the United Kingdom in the past fifty years and that his influence on later generations as been underplayed. If this has been the case, visitors to the exhibition can make their own minds up by comparing Delacroix’s works with a large number from some of the great names of modern art.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or 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 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 – Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy from 30th January to 20th April 2016

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Centred around the work of Claude Monet , this exhibition examines the relationship between gardens and art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s. Monet is considered one of the most important painters of gardens in the history of art, however other artists fascinated with the horticultural world are featured in the exhibition including Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.

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Gardens in art before this period were generally used as a backdrop to figures or related to the huge gardens developed for royalty and the wealthy. The exhibition explores the emergence of the modern garden which begins to become a subject matter for artists during a period of great social change and new movements in the arts.

The first gallery entitled Impressionist Gardens illustrates that in a period of rapid industrialisation, the garden represented a way of connecting with nature even within the largest city. Monet , Pissarro and Renoir all had a different taste in gardens and that transmitted into their work with the gardens becoming outdoor studios.

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This interest was not just confined to France, in the International Gardens gallery, other artists in Europe and the United States were making the connection between art and gardens. Works by John Singer Sargent are shown with a number of Scandinavian artists including Laurits Tuxen. German Impressionist Max Liebermann, Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla and American painter Childe Hassam all illustrate that the ‘garden movement’ was widespread.

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For all the international interest in the ‘garden movement’, it was Monet who was to develop his own particular style especially when he moved to Giverny. In 1890, Monet developed the gardens at Giverny and inspired by a water-lily garden he had seen at the Paris Universal Exhibition and Japanese Woodcuts began to produce a series of paintings of water lilies and a Japanese Bridge.

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Whist Monet was occupied by his gardens, other artists began to explore other aspects of gardens including when they are places of silence or reverie. Works by Santiago Rusinol and Joaquin Trinxet suggest gardens as otherworldly, places full of mystery.

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The tragedy of the First World War affected Monet deeply and in the exhibition is a group of paintings of the weeping willow (Water Lilies with Weeping Willows, 1916–19) which was his response to the carnage. At the end of the First World War, Monet wrote to the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, proposing to give some of his works to the nation “to honour the victory and peace”. Many of the works were given to the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, Three of the panels from the original scheme, the so-called Agapanthus triptych, including Water Lilies (1916-26), did not, however, appear in the Orangerie display and were eventually sold separately to three American museums – the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. These institutions have allowed these great works to be reunited at the Academy as the grand finale of Painting the Modern Garden.

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This intriguing and comprehensive exhibition offers an opportunity to explore how art and gardens became intertwined at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. The remarkable work of Claude Monet is put into its historical and geographical context with many other contributions by other well-known and some less known artists.

This is likely to be one of the most popular exhibitions of the year and it may be well worth booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information, visit the Royal Academy website here

Exhibition runs 30th January to 20th April 2016

Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm

Friday 10am – 10pm

Main Galleries, Burlington House

£17.60 (without donation £16). Concessions available.

Friends of the RA, and under 16s when with a fee-paying adult, go free

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.

 

Review : Madame Tussauds London

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It might be a surprise to many people that Madame Tussauds has a long history in London, although the attractions origins were in France it has entertained people in London for over 200 years.

Madame Tussauds was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud who was taught in the 1770s the art of wax modelling by Dr Philippe Curtius in Switzerland. Tussaud created her first wax sculpture, of Voltaire, in 1777. During the French Revolution she modelled many of the victims, alledgedly searching for severed heads to make death masks. In 1802 she came to London and then traveled throughout Great Britain and Ireland exhibiting her collection. From 1831 she leased a part of a building in Baker Street which became Tussaud’s first permanent home in 1836.

Although there were a number of famous people in the exhibition, the most popular attraction was the Chamber of Horrors which included figures of victims of the French Revolution, murderers and other famous criminals.  The success of the attraction led to a move to the present larger premises in 1884, in the 20th century Madame Tussauds  survived a major fire in 1925 and bomb damage in 1940.

If the main attraction for a long part of Madame Tussauds history was the Chamber of Horrors, in more recent times it has concentrated more on celebrities. It is often a measure of your popularity as a celebrity if you have a figure in Madame Tussauds as the attraction continually add figures that reflect contemporary public opinion.

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However the attraction has made significant recent changes by getting rid of the roped off areas and letting visitors get close to the models for photographs, there is an updated Horror section, a London ride and  Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie experience!

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The Attraction begins with a large number of familiar faces including Brad Pitt, Angelia Jolie, Patrick Stewart, Nicole Kidman and many others on the red carpet and some of the  well known names in Indian cinema.

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The movie section includes  icons such as Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Audrey Hepburn  and Arnold ‘Terminator’ Schwarzenegger.

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Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Tiger Woods, Tom Daley and Lewis Hamilton are just some of sports stars and there is a special section paying homage to Bobby Moore and the England 1966 World Cup win .

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You can have a slightly surreal audience with The Queen with the rest of the Royal Family.

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The cultural icons is a diverse selection that includes Einstein, Van Gogh and Stephen Hawking.

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You can see Boris Johnson and David Cameron outside Downing Street and Barack Obama in his White House Office. Other leaders include Churchill, Nelson Mandela and rather strangely Adolf Hitler.

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The Chamber of Horrors  entitled Scream offers scary models and live actors,  The premise is a  maximum security prison has been taken over by its inmates. It is considered so scary it is only suitable persons of 12 years and older, its not considered suitable for pregnant women or visitors with heart conditions or high blood pressures.

To calm down there is then a short ride in a small black  cab through a variety of scenes that illustrate London’s history.

The final section is populated with Marvel Super Heroes including a huge Incredible Hulk, you then enter the small cinema  to experience a 10 minute 4D Marvel Super Heroes movie experience that provides a few thrills and spills that offers a few surprises for the audience.

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It may seem strange that in a time of computer graphic animation that an attraction of waxwork figures would still be popular, but over the last 200 years Madame Tussauds have had their finger on the pulse  of what’s popular and provide entertainment based on that, for example in May 2015 there will be a new feature that includes Star Wars scenes. Star Wars at Madame Tussauds will be featuring 16 of the most famous heroes and villains in scenes from some of the most iconic moments featured in Star Wars Episodes.

The nature of the entertainment means it is especially popular amongst young people, however it is not really aimed at very young children. It is essentially an attraction that provides a series of mini attractions  and concentrates on providing fun and enjoyment without taking itself too seriously. If anything  the age of the ‘selfie’ has added to its attraction where you can now get close to the models.

Madame Tussauds is not only popular in London, there are branches all over the world with new ones due to be opened in Beijing, Prague, Singapore, Orlando and San Francisco.

VLG Tips – Madame Tussauds is part of the Merlin Entertainment group which also owns the London Eye, London Dungeon and Sea Life Aquarium. If you intend to visit more than one of their attractions buying a combination ticket can offer large discounts. 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

If you would like further information or to buy tickets, visit the Madame Tussauds 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, 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 : Malevich at the Tate Modern, 16 July – 26 October 2014

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Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) was a radical and hugely influential figure in modern art, who lived and worked through one of the most turbulent periods in twentieth century history. Tate Modern presents the first major Malevich retrospective for almost twenty-five years. This ground breaking exhibition draws on the world’s greatest collections of his work to offer an expansive view of his career in its entirety.

The exhibition features over 150 major Malevich works, from iconic Suprematist paintings to architectural models and lesser known late works, drawn from public and private collections around the world. These include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg; State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; MoMA, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the artist’s heirs.

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Visiting London Guide Review

It is safe to say that Kazimir Malevich is generally unknown to the wider public. This makes the Tate Modern exhibition especially interesting and welcome.

This wide-ranging exhibition traces Malevich’s artistic career in Tsarist Russia and then the Soviet Union. His early influences  were French  modern art especially Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne,  Malevich’s Self Portrait of 1908 reflects these influences.

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Using these influences Malevich and other Russian modernist artists develop their own form which uses predominately Russian subjects such as the image of the peasants.

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Another influence at this time is Cubo – Futurism, however once again Malevich adapts rather than adopts the style to produce paintings that are both representive and abstract.

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In the years before the First World War , Malevich collaborates with other artists in different disciplines to  expound Russian Futurism. It was at this time that Malevich painted his famous Black Square which then led him to develop what he called suprematism. In 1915 Malevich and other artists put on an exhibition called The Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting  0.10. The Tate exhibition has nine of the paintings from the exhibition and recreates part of the layout of the paintings.

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According to Malevich ‘Suprematism is the beginning of a new culture… Our world of art has become new , non objective pure. Everything has disappeared, a mass of material is left from which a new form will be built’. However it would be the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 which made Malevich question painting itself, the outcome of this was designs for architectons , models of buildings that could transform everyday life.

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To survive in desperate times , Malevich took up a teaching post at the People’s Art School in Vitebsk  and then became a Director of the State Institute  for Artistic Culture.

However Malevich’s ideas for a Brave New World were dealt a blow with the rise of Stalinism who began to consider avant-garde art ‘elitist’  and considered social realism as the only acceptable authorised style. In response Malevich begins to paint again , returning to the Russian peasants for inspiration but instead of joy and celebration, the landscape is one of alienation and despair.

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What is fascinating about this exhibition is how Malevich uses influences from elsewhere to promote a particularly Russian Movement.  Like many artists at the start of the 20th century there was a sense that the old order was dying and a new order was beginning .Nowhere was this more deeply felt but in Russia who were on the brink of a Revolution which would transform all aspects of society. Malevich saw himself as a pioneer looking at ways that Art could transform people’s lives.

However any idealist dreams were soon shattered when Malevich’ s art itself was considered elitist and Malevich as an artist is airbrushed from Soviet history. It was only in the 1980s that Malevich’s work was rediscovered and this exhibition is part of the process of introducing him to a wider public.

This exhibition would appeal to anyone with an interest in modern art but has a wider appeal due to the various stages of Malevich’s career.  It would also interest anyone with an interest in Russian Art especially  in the tumultuous early years of the 20th Century.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Malevich Exhibition runs from 16 July 26 October 2014
Adult £14.50 (without donation £13.10)
Concession £12.50 (without donation £11.30)
Under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian)

For more information and to buy 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, 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