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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.
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A Short Guide to St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral occupies a special place in the English identity especially in the Second World War when it managed to survive the Blitz and became a symbol of resistance.

There has been a Cathedral on this site since AD 604, The present Cathedral built in a English baroque style by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren is at least the fourth to have stood on the site. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. The cathedral has been at the centre of many famous events including the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; and the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.

At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London for many centuries and its dome is among the highest in the world.

St Paul’s has a large number of memorials and artworks including William Holman Hunt’s copy of his painting The Light of the World, in the north choir aisle is a sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Henry Moore, carved in 1943. The largest monument in the cathedral is the memorial to the Duke of Wellington. The tomb of Horatio, Lord Nelson is located in the crypt, next to that of Wellington. At the eastern end of the crypt is the Chapel of the Order of the British Empire, instigated in 1917, and designed by Lord Mottistone.There are many other memorials commemorating the British military, including several lists of servicemen who died in action, the most recent being the Gulf War.

Also remembered are Florence Nightingale, J. M. W. Turner, Hubert Parry, Samuel Johnson, Lawrence of Arabia and Sir Alexander Fleming as well as clergy and residents of the local parish. There are lists of the Bishops and cathedral Deans for the last thousand years. One of the most remarkable sculptures is that of the Dean and poet, John Donne.

St Paul’s Cathedral is a busy church with three or four services every day, including Matins, Eucharist and Evening Prayer or Evensong. In addition, the Cathedral has many special services associated with the City of London, its corporation, guilds and institutions. The cathedral, as the largest church in London, also has a role in many state functions such as the service celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The cathedral is generally open daily to tourists, and has a regular program of organ recitals and other performances.

The price of admission includes entry to the Cathedral floor, crypt and the three galleries in the dome. Admission also includes multimedia guides and guided tours (for individuals and family visitors, subject to guide availability on the day).

Sightseeing opening hours – Monday to Saturday

8.30am  Doors open for sightseeing
9.30am  Galleries open to visitors
4pm  Last tickets
4.15pm  Last entry to galleries
4.30pm  Doors close for sightseeing
Most visitors spend in the region of 1.5 – 2 hours inside St Paul’s.
On Sunday the Cathedral is open for worship only.

Filming and photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral, but is permitted on the external galleries, without tripods, on a non-commercial basis.

Special services or events may occasionally close all, or part, of the Cathedral.

For more information or book tickets, visit the St Paul’s Cathedral 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